The Ghost Chili Challenge The past three Habanero contests went very well, so it's time to kick it up a notch. This time, we're going to use one Ghost Chili. I grew Ghost Chili's last year, and they actually have pretty good flavor. If you've eaten a Habanero, you'll know the flavor is very fruity. The Ghost Chili's that I've eaten are also rather fruity, actually I prefer the flavor profile of a Ghost over the Habanero, as the Habanero in my opinion is tad too sweet. A little background on Capsaicin and why some peppers "burn" Capsaicin has many health benefits, however the unfortunate (or fortunate ) side effect of the chemical is a burning sensation. That painful burning associated with the consumption of a chili pepper comes from compounds known as capsaicinoids, the most well-known of which is capsaicin. Capsaicinoids are derived from the compound vanillin, which gives vanilla its delicious taste and smell. Surprisingly, their “hotness” or “spiciness” is not a taste but rather a sensation. There are no taste buds associated with capsaicinoids. When they reach the tongue, capsaicinoids interact with a special type of protein located on the surface of nerve cells. This protein, called TRPV1, acts a sensor for the cell giving it information about the outside world. Normally, TRPV1 gets turned on by physical heat, like a fire, above 109˚F (43˚C). This signal will turn the nerve cell on to allow it to trigger other nerve cells that will carry the message to the brain that it has to respond to this dangerous temperature (think of it as your neurons playing telephone). When capsaicinoids interact with TRPV1 they also turn the protein on and cause the same signal to be transmitted to the brain into thinking it is being burned even though there is no real heat present. Note: TRPV1 is actually present on nerve cells in many locations on the body so this burning sensation can be experienced elsewhere, which is why you should always wash your hands after dealing with chili peppers, especially before touching your eyes! How hot is a Ghost Chili? A regular Habanero pepper measures between 100,000 - 350,000 Scoville units. If you've ever eaten Habanero salsa, you've probably felt that burning, numbing sensation. A Ghost Pepper (also known as Bhut Jolokia) measures a little higher than a Habanero, coming in between 855,000 to 1,041,427 Scoville units. The Contest The contest involves eating one Ghost Pepper (which you can buy on your own), and not drink any liquids for 5 minutes. After the 5 minutes is up, you're free to do whatever you feel will help reduce the burn. How to qualify In order to qualify for this contest, you must be a good standing member of CP for at least 6 months or longer. Never have eaten a Ghost Pepper before. Truly feel you will be successful in this contest. I want to see the contestant win this contest, so if you're confident you can do this, then go for it. Rules You will need an assistant to help time and video the event. Purchase a Ghost Chili from a reputable source. They can be purchased online, unless you have a market which sells them. While videoing, you'll place the entire pepper into your mouth, and eat the whole pepper, minus the stem. Chew pepper for 30 seconds, and then swallow it. At 1 min 30 seconds (from the point you placed the pepper into your mouth), you will need to state the alphabet, and you have 30 seconds to successfully state the alphabet (by the 2 min mark). From 2 min to 5 min, simply enjoy the pepper without vomiting or consuming any foods or liquids. Once you reach 5 minutes, keep the camera running, so we can see what you do to manage the burn. At this point, you can eat, drink or do whatever you like to help reduce the effects of the capsaicin. You can stop recording at the 8 minute mark, or continue recording if you like. If you successfully complete this challenge, you will not only win 10 premium cigars (Cubans) from my personal collection, but go down in CP history. Who's up for it?