Can Eating a Carolina Reaper Kill You?
A research study in 1980 calculated that 3 pounds of extremely hot peppers in powder form eaten all at once, could kill a 150-pound person. However, this is just a calculation, because who could ingest 3 pounds of chile powder all at once? Well, who knows, someone crazy will probably try it. We wouldn't!
You could also choke on a Carolina Reaper (or any food for that matter), so yeah, that could kill you... just saying!
Interesting side note:
A bird could eat a Carolina Reaper with no problem. Hot peppers have burning in mammals but not in birds. Birds can eat peppers and then disperse the seeds in their feces, which can germinate. Peppers developed capsaicin most likely as deterrents against certain mammals and fungi. For some reason, many humans LOVE the burn, however! Good thing we grow peppers in return for their spicy goodness... so maybe they did it to get us to slave away to grow them. ha!
“Once whatever I'd managed to swallow reached my stomach (or however far inside me it got) my legs started convulsing and my hands seized up (I presume because I was hyperventilating),” Barratt wrote in an email to Medical Daily. “My eyes were rolling back in my skull, I was extremely pale, and it was hard to talk.”
Barratt’s experience lasted a total of three hours, and although he did not walk away with any lasting damage, it did feel like it was killing him.
You will not die from eating a Carolina Reaper pepper.*
*Eating one Carolina Reaper is unlikely to kill you, but – we definitely don't recommend trying to eat a Carolina Reaper! It will NOT be a good experience and you'll have a day or two of serious discomfort as you "process" the capsaicin. We think these peppers are best-suited for making hot sauce and salsas, which bring out the flavor and tame the Reaper heat to a tasty and pleasurable burn, versus a "I think I'm dying" kind of burn. ;)
Carolina Reapers are fairly easy to grow, it takes a little patience getting the seeds to sprout (they can take anywhere from 7-30+ days to germinate and must be kept very warm at 80-90˚ F during that period). Plus, they do take a long time before ready for harvest. But patience is a virtue with super hot peppers, and the spice and flavor is worth the wait!
Make sure to check out our Yellow Carolina Reaper as well, which is not quite as hot but we still don't recommend eating them whole!
Want a good Carolina Reaper recipe?
Carolina Reaper Salsa Recipe »