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Stand the heat <i>and</i> stay in the fire with heatless pepper flavorings

Flavoring company introduces Zero Degrees, a no-heat pepper portfolio. Ancho, chipotle, habenero, and jalapeno without the fire.

The new color of pepper. Kalsec

Ever wondered what it would be like to bite into a habanero pepper? A big bite that is--seeds, membrane, ribs, and all. Come on, it's a small pepper, it'll be OK. Too scared? Well, I don't blame you. After all, the habanero is one of the hottest peppers in the world rating in at about 100,000 units on the Scoville scale.

Kalsec, which produces spice, herb, hop, and vegetable extracts for use in food, beverage, and pharmaceutical applications, has come up with a pepper portfolio that includes all the flavor, but removes all the heat. Dubbed Zero Degrees, ancho, chipotle, habanero, and jalapeno peppers are represented. All four peppers have distinct flavor profiles, from the popular smoky chipotle to the lesser-known chocolate notes found in the ancho.

Even as a hot sauce and pepper lover, I understand what the company is trying to do. These peppers have great tastes, yet many people veer away simply because of how powerful the heat can be. One of my favorite hot sauces happens to be derived from the fruity habanero, but with such a powerful kick, I only use a small amount at a time. Hey, I may talk a big game, but I wouldn't bite into a whole habanero either.

Manufacturers have long been trying to sell us everything from snack chips to hot sauces based on how extremely hot they could be. With Zero Degrees, not only can they still control the amount of heat they put into their products, but also could potentially expand that marketing sense in the other direction. Chipotle ice cream, anyone? You want a habanero soda with that? How about a nice cooling ancho ice pop too? All tasty ideas indeed, but don't forget the jalapeno mouthwash afterwards.