How hot are habanero peppers and more information about this spicy Mexican chile. Also watch the video to learn how to dice a habanero pepper.
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Like most kids his age, my son is fascinated by hot peppers and really spicy foods. He and his little buddies will challenge each other as to who can eat the spiciest foods. UGH!
If I ever catch my son and his friends doing one of these competitions, they’re going to get a tongue lashing of another kind. Just like matches, hot peppers are nothing to play around with.
How Hot are Habanero Peppers?
Check out the picture above. They are ranked from mildest (poblano peppers) to spiciest (habanero peppers).
• Habanero Scoville measurement range from 100,000–350,000. VERY HOT!
• Habaneros Scoville measurement is 20-30 higher than your average jalapeño.
Rule of thumb: The smaller the pepper, the hotter it is. Basically, the concentration of capsacin is higher in smaller peppers. That’s why they’re are usually spicier.
Habanero vs Jalapeño
If you can’t handle jalapeños, you might not be able to handle habaneros.
• Jalapeños are green. Usually longer and thicker than habaneros.
• A habanero pepper is green at first, then turns orange when it ripens. Look for the ones that have smooth skin. If they are wrinkly, they might be old.
You will find them next to the jalapeños and the serrano pepper display at the grocery store. However, you can’t interchange habanero for jalapeño in recipes, or vice versa.
Since Habanero Peppers are blazing hot, you need to be extra careful when handling them.
Some people experience a burning sensation just by touching them. I recommend using gloves. Personally, I don’t keep gloves around the kitchen.
Even after I recorded this video, I washed my hands several times. Do not touch your eyes, mouth, or babies. You can burn yourself and others.
- 1 Habanero Pepper
- Cutting Board
- Gloves (or plastic sandwich bag)
- Put on gloves.
- On a clean cutting board, place the habanero pepper.
- Hold the pepper with one hand. With the other, cut off the stem.
- Cut lengthwise, exposing the center.
- With your knife remove the seeds and the veins.
- Discard the seeds, veins, and stem.
- Cut the habanero pepper lengthwise, making strips.
- Pile the strips together and dice into pieces.
- Chop more into finer pieces.
- Continue with the recipe.
Habanero Pepper Health Benefits
Interestingly enough, researchers have found that eating dishes made with habanero peppers have great health benefits.
- Prevent cancer
- Reduce blood pressure
- Lower cholesterol
- Prevent weight gain.
I used to live in Southern Mexico where this chile pepper is very common.
People would say, “Eat something with a habanero pepper, it will cure your cold.”
Habanero peppers are said to help people with congestion and help fight the flu.
That brings me to the meaning of the word “Habanero.” This pepper was named after the capital city of Cuba, Havana.
Cuba is very close to Southern Mexico. In fact, there’s a large Cuban community where I used to live in Villahermosa, Tabasco.
It seems like habanero peppers are more common in the southern Mexican states than in the north. Still, because of migration, you will find recipes that use this chile in northern Mexican dishes.
Even here in the US, there are popular stores that sell incredibly spicy hot sauces. I’ve mainly seen them in touristy areas.
I recommend asking the vendor for a taste. Most of the time, they are happy to make a sale and open up a bottle. Or they might have a testing display.
Habanero Pepper Recipes
To tame the heat of a habanero pepper, remove the seeds and the veins. For me, though, the trick is to finely dice the habanero before adding to the recipe. Please know that there will still be a kick to the dish.
Habanero Peppers have a fruity flavor. That’s why they pair nicely with mangoes, pineapple, or peach. These types of recipes are perfect for fish, chicken, or just as is with chips.
Avocado Mango Salsa is a fruity and slightly spicy appetizer. Grab some chips, and you have a tasty tropical treat.
Mexican Pickled Red Onions, or Cebolla Morada en Escabeche, is something you find at almost every Mexican taco stand.
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