Devil's Tongue Pepper

Devil’s Tongue Pepper – All about Heat, Flavor, Uses, Substitutes

What is Devil’s Tongue pepper?

The Devil’s Tongue pepper is a rare and fiery chili that has carved out its niche among the world’s hottest peppers. Its heat level, ranging from 125,000 to 325,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU), is on par with some of the most intense varieties, such as the habanero.

Originating from Pennsylvania, it was discovered by an Amish farmer, adding an exciting tale to its already unique profile.

What sets the Devil’s Tongue apart is not just its blistering heat but its distinctive flavor profile. It offers a sweet, fruity taste with a hint of citrus, making it a sought-after ingredient for those looking to add both spice and depth to their dishes. This combination of intense heat and complex flavor allows it to stand out in culinary applications, from enhancing hot sauces and salsas to providing a spicy kick to marinades and dishes.

Are Devil’s Tongue peppers spicy? How hot are they?

Devil’s Tongue scoville: 125,000 to 325,000 SHU

The Devil’s Tongue pepper is renowned for its formidable heat, with Scoville Heat Units (SHU) ranging from 125,000 to 325,000. This places it on the higher end of the heat scale, even rivaling the habanero, which has a Scoville rating between 100,000 and 350,000 SHU. For a clearer perspective, consider the jalapeño pepper, which scores between 2,500 to 8,000 SHU, underscoring the Devil’s Tongue’s significant leap in heat intensity.

With a median heat of 225,000 SHU, the Devil’s Tongue not only challenges the palate with its spiciness but also intrigues with its sweet, fruity, and slightly tangy flavor profile. This blend of extreme heat and distinctive taste makes it a sought-after variety for those who appreciate depth in their spicy culinary creations.


Where does the Devil’s Tongue pepper come from?

The Devil’s Tongue pepper traces its fiery lineage to Pennsylvania, where an Amish farmer purportedly discovered it. The Devil’s Tongue’s origin story resembles the accidental discovery of the Red Savina habanero, suggesting a serendipitous birth among habanero plants. Its name — Devil’s Tongue — aptly reflects its shape and intense spiciness, making it a notable addition to the Capsicum chinense species.

While its developmental lineage remains a bit of a mystery, the Devil’s Tongue is a testament to the diversity and richness of Pennsylvania’s agricultural heritage, contributing a unique pepper to the global chili community.

From its mysterious origins in an Amish farmer’s field to its current status as a cherished and sought-after variety among hot pepper aficionados, the Devil’s Tongue Pepper continues to intrigue and challenge the palates of those brave enough to experience its fiery touch.


What are Devil’s Tongue peppers good for? How to use them?

Devil’s Tongue peppers are celebrated for their intense heat and distinctive fruity flavor, making them a versatile ingredients for various culinary uses. Their combination of fiery spiciness and sweet undertones can transform any dish.

These peppers are commonly used in hot sauces and salsas, where their heat enhances flavors without overwhelming them. They contribute a bold and complex flavor to sauces, ideal for those seeking a severe kick in their condiments​​​​​​.

Pickling Devil’s Tongue peppers is another excellent method to preserve their spice while adding a tangy dimension. This process allows them to elevate sandwiches, salads, and pizzas with their spicy and tangy flavor​​​​.

Stuffing these peppers with cheese, meats, or vegetarian mixtures and baking or grilling them creates spicy appetizers or side dishes. The pepper’s heat contrasts beautifully with the filling’s mildness, offering a balanced and flavorful bite​​​​.

Incorporating Devil’s Tongue peppers into sauces, dips, and spreads adds depth and spiciness to meals. Blending these peppers with tomatoes, onions, and spices can create a fiery salsa or relish, while puréed Devil’s Tongue mixed with cream cheese or sour cream makes a spicy yet smooth dip for chips, crackers, or vegetables​​​​.

Sautéing Devil’s Tongue peppers with other vegetables offer a perfect fajita filling or stir-fry addition. Adding them to casseroles, pasta dishes, and stews introduces a hint of spiciness that complements other ingredients, enhancing the overall flavor profile​​​​.

Devil’s Tongue pepper is an invaluable asset in the kitchen for those looking to elevate their dishes with heat and flavor. Whether used fresh, pickled or as part of a sauce, these peppers offer a fiery challenge and delicious reward for spice lovers everywhere.


What does a Devil’s Tongue pepper look like?

The Devil’s Tongue pepper is notable for its striking appearance, resembling other members of the Capsicum chinense species like the Fatalii pepper. It typically grows to about 2 to 3 inches long, featuring a slightly curved and wrinkly surface. As it matures, it transitions from green to a vibrant golden-yellow-orange hue.

However, some varieties mature into red or chocolate/brown shades, each with subtle flavor differences. The red Devil’s Tongue peppers are known to be slightly hotter and sweeter, while the chocolate variety presents a more nuanced, earthy flavor. This colorful transition and textured appearance make the Devil’s Tongue Pepper both a visual and culinary delight.

What does Devil’s Tongue pepper taste like?

Regarding taste, Devil’s Tongue peppers offer a complex flavor profile as intriguing as their appearance. They are characterized by a fruity and citrusy sweetness that aligns with their vibrant color and a slightly tangy undertone. Comparable in flavor to the habanero and Fatalii peppers, they deliver an explosive heat balanced by their delicious taste.

This sweetness and fiery heat make them a favored choice for those looking to add depth and intensity to their dishes, blending spiciness with a distinctive flavor that can enhance a wide range of culinary creations. The red and chocolate varieties, in particular, add a unique twist, offering slight variations in heat and sweetness to suit different palates and recipes.


What are the different types of Devil’s Tongue peppers?

The most common variety of the Devil’s Tongue pepper is the yellow variant, which is renowned for its vibrant golden-yellow hue and a blend of sweet, fruity flavors with a citrusy tang. This type is what most people think of when they refer to the Devil’s Tongue, featuring a heat level that ranges from 125,000 to 325,000 SHU.

Another type is the red Devil’s Tongue, which tends to be slightly hotter and might offer a deeper fruity flavor than its yellow counterpart. The red variant’s heat can approach the upper end of the pepper’s Scoville range, providing an intense spicy kick suitable for those who seek a greater challenge in their dishes.

Though less common, there is also a chocolate variety of the Devil’s Tongue pepper, distinguished by its rich brown color. This type is prized for its unique flavor profile, offering a more earthy undertone than the bright, citrusy notes of the yellow and red types. The chocolate Devil’s Tongue is a favorite among chili enthusiasts looking for complexity and depth in their culinary creations alongside a robust heat.

Each type of Devil’s Tongue pepper adds a distinctive touch to dishes, allowing chefs and home cooks to experiment with flavors and heat levels. Whether used in hot sauces or salsas or as a fiery addition to meals, these peppers offer a delicious challenge to those brave enough to explore their intense spiciness and rich tastes.


How to grow Devil’s Tongue peppers?

These peppers thrive in warm weather and need plenty of sunlight, making them suitable for growth in containers or gardens. To achieve optimal results, they demand well-draining soil, consistent watering, and regular fertilization during the growing season.

To encourage healthy growth and fruit production, providing the plants with adequate sunlight, consistent watering, and using a balanced fertilizer is essential. It’s crucial to start seeds indoors and transplant them outdoors after the risk of frost has passed and nighttime temperatures remain above 50°F.

When to pick Devil’s Tongue peppers?

Devil’s Tongue peppers are typically ready for harvest 75 to 100 days after planting​. As they mature, Devil’s Tongue peppers start off green and undergo a transition, developing into vibrant golden-yellow, red, or chocolate-brown hues. The exact time to pick depends on your flavor preference, heat level, and the pepper’s color. Regular harvesting encourages the plants to produce more peppers throughout the season.


Cooking / Recipe ideas for Devil’s Tongue

With its intense heat and fruity, sweet flavor, the Devil’s Tongue pepper makes it an excellent candidate for various culinary uses. Its fiery spiciness can add depth and complexity to dishes, transforming them into mouthwatering creations.

A classic application for Devil’s Tongue peppers is in making hot sauce. Combine these peppers with garlic, ginger, turmeric, and honey for a touch of sweetness, along with apple cider vinegar and water to balance the heat and flavors. This combination can create a vibrant, spicy, and flavorful hot sauce perfect for drizzling your favorite dishes​.

For salsas, Devil’s Tongue’s fruity flavor profile can elevate the traditional recipe, adding a spicy kick that complements the freshness of tomatoes, onions, and cilantro. It’s important to finely chop the peppers and combine them with the rest of the ingredients, adjusting the quantity to suit your heat preference. This salsa can be a vibrant accompaniment to chips, grilled meats, or tacos, introducing a flavorful heat to your meals​​.

When it comes to marinades, these peppers infuse meats, poultry, or fish with a bold and spicy flavor. Mixing the peppers with citrus juices, herbs, and spices not only tenderizes the protein but also imbues it with Devil’s Tongue’s signature heat, perfect for grilling or roasting​​.

Creating a spice rub with dried and ground Devil’s Tongue peppers can add a fiery crust to meats and vegetables. Combining the pepper powder with other spices like cumin, garlic powder, and salt enhances the rub’s flavor profile, making it an ideal seasoning for barbecued or roasted dishes​​.

Pickling these peppers is another way to enjoy their heat year-round. Simmering the peppers in a vinegar, water, sugar, and spices mixture not only preserves them but also softens their fiery edge with a tangy flavor. These pickled peppers can add a zesty kick to sandwiches, salads, and pizzas​​.

Whether you’re making hot sauce, salsa, marinades, spice rubs, or pickles, this pepper will surely add an exciting dimension to your cooking. Remember to handle these hot peppers carefully to avoid irritation from the capsaicin.


Where can I buy Devil’s Tongue peppers?

Finding Devil’s Tongue peppers can be an adventure due to their unique heat and flavor. Still, there are several avenues to explore for those eager to try cooking, growing, or simply tasting this fiery chili. For fresh Devil’s Tongue peppers, specialty stores focusing on chili enthusiasts and exotic produce are often your best bet. These establishments take pride in offering various hot peppers, including rare finds like the Devil’s Tongue. Additionally, the convenience and reach of online retailers provide an excellent alternative, with numerous websites dedicated to selling a diverse selection of hot peppers, catering to all levels of chili aficionados.

Where can I buy Devil’s Tongue pepper plants?

Purchasing plants is a fantastic starting point if you’re inclined towards gardening and want to grow your Devil’s Tongue peppers. Nurseries and garden centers specializing in vegetable plants often stock pepper plants, including the more exotic varieties like Devil’s Tongue, during the appropriate seasons. These physical locations offer the advantage of seeing the plant’s condition before purchase.

Alternatively, online gardening stores are a resourceful option, often providing detailed care instructions alongside your purchase to ensure your plants thrive.

Where can I buy Devil’s Tongue pepper seeds?

For those who prefer the satisfaction of growing peppers from the beginning, seeds are available through local garden centers and online seed retailers. The key to success with seeds is following sowing instructions carefully, ensuring they’re planted in conditions conducive to their growth—generally, a sunny location with well-draining soil. Online retailers offer seeds, valuable growing tips, and forums for sharing experiences and advice with fellow gardeners.


How do I store Devil’s Tongue pepper?

Proper storage of Devil’s Tongue peppers is crucial to preserving their potency and flavor. Placing these peppers in a plastic bag or an airtight container in the refrigerator, ideally in the crisper drawer, is recommended for short-term storage. This method helps maintain their freshness and extends their shelf life. It’s important to regularly check the peppers for signs of spoilage, such as softness, wrinkles, mold, or an unusual smell, and discard any that are not good.

Can Devil’s Tongue peppers be frozen?

Freezing Devil’s Tongue peppers is an effective way to preserve them for longer periods. To freeze, wash the peppers thoroughly, and if you plan to use them for cooking later, you may choose to remove the stems and seeds. Arrange the peppers on a baking sheet in a single layer and freeze until solid. Once frozen, transfer the peppers to an airtight container or plastic freezer bag. This method allows for storage for up to six months, ensuring these spicy peppers are available even out of season.


Are Devil’s Tongue peppers healthy?

Devil’s Tongue peppers offer more than just their scorching heat; they also have numerous health benefits. They are low in calories yet high in essential vitamins and minerals, making them a beneficial addition to a well-rounded diet.

The capsaicin in Devil’s Tongue peppers is known for its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, and it may also help boost metabolism. Those incorporating these spicy peppers into their diet bring both a flavorful zing and healthful perks to meals.

However, consumption should be moderate, especially for individuals sensitive to spicy foods or those who might experience gastrointestinal discomfort from such intense heat. For spice lovers, Devil’s Tongue peppers not only elevate the taste of dishes but also may contribute positively to health and well-being.


What’s a suitable alternative to Devil’s Tongue pepper?

For those looking to find a suitable alternative to the Devil’s Tongue pepper, the Fatalii pepper emerges as an excellent choice. Both belong to the Capsicum chinense species, and the Fatalii shares many characteristics with the Devil’s Tongue, including a similar heat level and a fruity flavor profile. The Fatalii is particularly noted for its citrusy undertones, which can complement dishes in much the same way as the Devil’s Tongue, making it a great substitute in recipes that call for a potent but flavorful heat.

Another alternative, the habanero pepper, is widely available and offers a heat range and flavor profile comparable to the Devil’s Tongue pepper. With a Scoville Heat Unit (SHU) rating of 100,000 – 350,000, habaneros can match and even exceed the heat of some Devil’s Tongue peppers, providing a similar spicy kick and fruity notes to dishes.

For those who prefer a pepper with a flavorful punch within the same heat spectrum, the Scotch Bonnet is another suitable substitute. Much like the habanero, the Scotch Bonnet offers a similar fruity taste and high heat level. Its SHU ranges from 100,000 to 350,000, making it an appropriate choice for adding depth and spice to culinary creations.

These alternatives allow for flexibility in cooking, offering varying levels of heat and flavor that can be adjusted to suit different palates while maintaining the dish’s essence. Whether you’re making hot sauces, salsas, or spicy marinades, selecting the proper substitute can help achieve a balance of heat and flavor that mirrors the unique qualities of the Devil’s Tongue pepper.

How do you pronounce Devil’s Tongue peppers?

The Devil’s Tongue pepper is pronounced as Dev-il’s Tongue Pep-per.


FAQ about devil's tongue peppers

How hot is the Devil's Tongue pepper?

The Devil's Tongue pepper is renowned for its significant heat, ranging from 125,000 to 325,000 on the Scoville Heat Units (SHU) scale. This range places it firmly among the hotter chili peppers globally, comparable to and even surpassing some varieties of habanero peppers.

The heat level of Devil's Tongue peppers is enough to provide a substantial spicy kick to any dish, making them a favorite among heat seekers. With a median heat of 225,000 SHU, the Devil's Tongue challenges both the palate and the adventurous spirit of those who dare to incorporate it into their cooking. Its intense heat is not just for thrill-seekers but also adds depth and complexity to sauces, salsas, and marinades, offering a fiery experience that is both memorable and compelling.

What does the Devil’s Tongue taste like?

The Devil's Tongue pepper offers a complex flavor profile beyond its fiery heat. It is characterized by a sweet and fruity flavor with a citrusy tang, making it stand out among other hot peppers. This unique taste combination allows it to add not just heat but also nuanced flavors to culinary creations. Comparable in flavor to the habanero and Fatalii peppers, the Devil's Tongue delivers an explosive heat balanced by its delicious taste. The pepper's sweetness and spiciness make it a favored choice for those looking to add depth and intensity to their dishes. Whether used in hot sauces, salsas, marinades, or as a spicy addition to meals, the Devil's Tongue enhances the overall flavor profile of dishes, offering slight variations in heat and sweetness that cater to different palates and culinary needs.

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