These spicier peppers are no joke. Though all hot peppers originate from South and Central America, they were quickly spread across the world, and some of the spiciest varieties were created on the Indian subcontinent. That's the case with the ghost pepper, properly known as the Buht Jolokia. These elongated, shriveled peppers can rack up somewhere over 1 million heat units on the Scoville scale, the spice measurement system used by chili growers (to compare, jalapeños average about 5,000). "There is an interesting story behind those," Bergenstein says. "A guy ends up at this rural farm in India. He sees these peppers and tries one and he's totally blown over. He goes to the farmer and says, 'You really have something there, what do you eat those with?'" Bergenstein's eyes get wide. "The farmer says, 'Eat those with?! We dry them out, wrap them in leaves, and throw them at elephants to scare them off!'"