red and green spicy peppers
Activity

Comparing Spiciness of Chili

A science project for students who are blind or visually impaired students to find out what kind of pepper makes the spiciest chili

This science project was done by Don and Mary, who are students at Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI).


Question:

Which pepper will make the spiciest chili: jalapeno or serrano?

Materials

Research:

We found the Scoville index on-line which rates how spicy different peppers are.

The image is of the scoville index which rates how spicy peppers are.
Scoville index which rates how spicy peppers are

Procedure

  1. Prepare two pots of chili. (See chili recipe below.) Add serrano pepper to one pot of chili. Add the same amount of jalapenos to the other pot of chili.
  2. A rating sheet will be prepared for the 2 types of chili.
  3. Both chilis will be presented in the same type of cups. 
  4. Jalepeno cups will be labeled “A” and serrano cups will be labeled “B”.  The students will not know which chili they are tasting because this might affect the score that they give that chili.
  5. All of the students will taste test the chili A first. Then they will rate the chili on a scale of 1 to 7.
  6. The students will drink water after trying the first chili.
  7. The students will taste test the Chili B after drinking water and rate the chili spice rate on a scale of 1 to 7.

Chili recipe

Ingredients:

Directions:

Cook beef and onion in large saucepan over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until beef is crumbled and no longer pink, stirring occasionally; drain.Stir in seasoning mix. Add remaining ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; simmer 10 minutes, stirring several times. Cook’s Tip Chili may be topped with shredded cheese, sour cream or sliced green onions, if desired. Chili also may be made with ground turkey in place of the ground beef. 

Resultsrobert trying chilli

Data

Average spice rate:

Jalapeno pepper chili :  1.714

Serrano pepper chili:  3.071

Conclusion

Our hypothesis was correct.  The chili with serrano was spicier to most of the people.

*  Note: Because only 1/4 cp of each type of pepper was added to the chilis, many of the testers didn’t find either chili spicy and rated them both a 1.  For this reason, Don and Mary had asked to retest.  Unfortunately, time didn’t allow for this.

Variations

Other peppers could also be tested.

NGSS Standards:

By Laura Hospitál

Collage of comparing the spiciness of chili

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