Just like how the makers of hot sauces think of the craziest names for their sauces, the peppers also have some pretty unique hot pepper names. Sometimes they are frightening, like the Ghost Pepper, Trinidad Scorpion and Carolina Reaper. Where did those hot pepper names come from? We have searched for the meanings behind 12 hot pepper names, and we have listed them down below.
Hot Pepper Names
Jalapeño is Spanish for ‘from Xalapa’, which can also be spelled ‘Jalapa.’ Xalapa is the capital of the Mexican state Veracruz, where the pepper was first grown and harvested.
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Chipotle is just a literal translation of what it is. The hot pepper name ‘Chipotle’ means smoked chili in Nahuatl. Chipotle is, in fact, a smoked Jalapeño.
The Habanero got named for the Cuban city La Habana (Havana). Not because they eat a lot of Habaneros over there, but because it used to feature heavily in trading.
The Ghost Pepper’s original name is ‘Bhüt Jolokia,’ which means ‘Bhutanese pepper’ in Assamese. The first part of the name, Bhutanese, was confused for an almost identical Assamese word ‘Bhut,’ which means ‘Ghost’ in English. So Ghost Pepper is a wrong translation of the original name. The name stayed, though; we must say it’s quite the fitting name for this scorching pepper.
With the Trinidad Scorpion, the origin also plays a significant role in the name because the pepper is originally from Trinidad & Tobago. From the ‘Moruga’ district, to be more precise. This pepper is also known as the ‘Moruga Scorpion.’ But where does the ‘Scorpion’ part come into play? Well, the tail of the pepper looks like the one of a scorpion. Eating the pepper makes you feel like you have been stung by a scorpion, but that’s not why it has this name.
The logic behind the ‘Carolina Reaper’ name is the same as with the Trinidad Scorpion. The first part references the state of South Carolina, where Ed Currie created the hot pepper name. The ‘Reaper’ part refers to the shape of the tail of the pepper, which looks like the scythe carried by the Grim Reaper, according to Ed Currie himself.
Although the origin of the name is not entirely clear, the originally Surinamese Madame Jeanette goes by this name after a local prostitute who was notorious for being fiery. It might make you look at the pepper quite differently next time.
The Poblano is originally from the Mexican state called Puebla, and that’s what the hot pepper is named after.
The Serrano is also from Puebla, but it’s also pretty common in Hidalgo (Mexico). The hot pepper name refers to the mountains (‘sierras’ in Spanish) in these regions.
Chile de Arbol
Chile de Árbol means ‘tree pepper’ in Spanish, and it got the name because of the wood-like stem attached to the pepper.
Birds Eye Chili
This name has a few reasons, but they all refer to birds. Firstly, the Birds Eye Chili is a small and pretty round pepper, making them look like a bird’s eyes. Secondly, birds play a significant role in spreading the seeds of chilis. ‘But won’t the birds suffer from the hot pepper (seeds)?’ No, because they don’t chew the seeds and swallow them whole. That’s why they won’t feel a thing and drop the spread of the seeds undamaged across the area—a perfect collaboration between peppers and birds.
The meaning behind the 7 Pot hot pepper name is not what you would call a stroke of brilliant creativity, but it’s apparent: with one 7 Pot pepper, you can heat 7 pots of stew. That’s it. And what about the 7 Pot Primo? Well, Primo is the nickname of Troy Primeaux, and he is the one who created the hybrid between a Naga Morich and 7 Pot pepper.
Of course, we’re not even close to naming all the peppers known to man. Otherwise, we would still be doing this next year. But if you’re curious about the names of all the other peppers, then we have an overview of all the peppers in the world, ranked by Scoville Heat Units.