Updated: Sep 16, 2020
Time to maximise the heat, go where chili trail leads eventually unless you run out of courage and stop. Or wisen up, perhaps?
This post is about distilling capcaisin from the hottest of all chili peppers. Capsaicin is the chemical in hot peppers that causes the sensation of heat. When you distill the capsaicin from the peppers it is literally the hottest product you can make from chilies. End of the road, maximum achieved, finito, goal achieved.
Without further ado, let's get distill these little party starters into pure evil lava!
All right, I assume you have the ingredients at hand, hot chili peppers. The hotter the better. You need to dry the peppers first. I assume that won't be a problem for anyone. Just slice the peppers open and dry them in 80-100C in oven. Direct sun will work too but takes a couple of days. In any case, you will have the dried chili product and you simply grind it in a blender.
I'm assuming you'll make your way to this point. This is where we're starting this little project.
Here we've got a few different kinds of dried super hots. Chokolate bhutlah, carolina reaper etc, all dried up and ground to powder. That should be around 1-2 million units of heat on scoville scale to begin with.
I chose a mix of different peppers so that I would end up with a fragrant product in the end. Go with anything you've got!
The next thing you need is air tight glass container. Pay attention that the cork is acetone resistant. You can use industrial grade pure acetone or grain alcohol as solvent. Either will work just as well. Do NOT use nail polish remover or any other half ass solvent. They contain impurities and will spoil your valuable chilies.
The basic idea is this. Capsaicin is oil soluble and needs a solvent like pure acetone to get it out from pepper grounds.
If you go for alcohol solvent you need as pure alcohol as possible. 96% grain alcohol would do. If there is much water in the solvent it will prevent capsaicin from dissolving to solvent.
My 5 cents is this. Go to hardware store and buy pure acetone. It's cheap and readily available. Read labels and make sure it is pure! Alcohol is harder to come by at least where I live. People would just drink it.
And there we go, I am doing here my first test run of 32 grams of pepper powder. And there it is, just a nice amount at the bottom of the glass bottle.
WARNING. Again: Your glass vessel needs to have a cap that does not dissolve to acetone. Many plastics do. Choose something that is acetone resistant!
And there we go! Add acetone, perhaps an inch more than grounds, and stir bottle every day a few times.
All you need to do is keep stirring and wait for a few days. Then it's time to filter the first round of evil! (Muhahaha!)
It would be really nice to own a metal or glass funnel. Of course I didn't. So I just took some aluminium BBQ foil and coffee filter. I poked a few holes to foil and used a clothes peg to hold the apparatus in place. The glass vat is best to wide so that you won't miss it. I figured you would not want any of this stuff leaking around as it is literally liquid fire!
Filtration experimentation was a total success! The acetone infused capsaicin filters through in seconds!
First round of filtration left me with a really beautiful brownish clear infusion. I was not sure if one round of filtration would be enough. So I did another round and poured the liquid to a small 100ml jar.
Remaining grounds at the bottom of the bottle looked a bit bleak. I decided to do a second round of dilution by adding more clean acetone to bottle. Lets see how much heat remains in the grounds! I don't want any of it go to waste.
Ready for evaporation! The acetone infusion is ready. All I needed to do was to leave this little jar to a well ventilated place and wait. Acetone evaporates quickly.
Did I mention that acetone dries very fast? The residue here is super spicy and smells so good! Acetone was gone as soon as I poured the liquid from the vat. I swiped the brownish oil with my finger and gave it a taste. It's just pure heat, no after taste or anything, just blinding heat! The best!
And here we go, evaporation is well on it's way! After half a day 1/3 of acetone was already gone! I expect to see the rest gone in a day or two.
A tiny five dollar fan speeded up the evaporation process vastly. From days down to hours! First chunks of condensed pure oil are starting to appear at the bottom. Scary stuff!
Second round of distilled infusion is here in a glass vat. The little jar took a full day to evaporate. After I added a small fan the evaporation happened super fast within a couple of hours. The vat made the process even faster for the second batch.
Lesson learned. Next time I will use a vat for evaporation and scrape the product from it. It will lead to a little bit off product loss but wth, I can always make more! 😛
Final products! Dark red goo is capsaicin and dissolved oils from peppers. The color is so dark red that it is almost black. Swirling it around reveals oily streaks of various colors swirling around at the bottom of the jar. Truly evil looking goo!
I haf some difficulty scooping the oil off the vat and did not want to dump the good stuff. So I made some chili oil by cleaning the jar with some olive oil. This yellowish side product will be excellent in cooking!
The dark goo has roughly 6-9 million scoville heat units. Just a dab on toothpick burns like hell! 🥰
A mixture of all good things swirling in the cup.
The final product is really dense concentrate. I suppose it contains both capsaicin, flavonoids and some plant oils.
After sitting for a few days it looks like parts of the extract are separating. The whitish part which I assume to be capsaicin is crystallizing on the bottom and plant oils and colouring remain at the top.