The habanero chili
) ( ; ) is one of
the most intensely spicy species of chili
of the Capsicum
. It is sometimes spelled
being added as a hypercorrection
. Unripe habaneros are green,
and they color as they mature. Common colors are orange and red,
but white, brown, and pink are also seen. Typically a ripe habanero
is long. Habanero chili peppers are rated 100,000–350,000 on the
Origin and current use
habanero chili pepper most likely originated in the Yucatán
Peninsula and its coastal regions. Upon its discovery by
Hispanics, it was rapidly disseminated to other adequate climate
areas of the world, to the point that 18th-century taxonomists mistook China for its
place of origin and called it "Capsicum chinense"—the
chili's name is derived from the name of the Cuban city of
La Habana, which is known as Havana in
Although it is not the place of origin, it was
frequently traded there.
crop is most widely cultivated in the Yucatán
Peninsula of Mexico. Other modern producers include Belize, Panama (anecdotal
evidence suggests that the ones grown there are some of the hottest
and most flavorful), Costa
Rica, and parts of the United States including Texas, Idaho, and
While Mexico is the largest consumer of
this spicy ingredient, its flavor and aroma have become
increasingly popular all over the world.
are an integral part of Yucatecan food. Habanero chilies accompany most dishes in
Yucatán, either in
solid or purée/salsa form.
The Scotch bonnet
compared to the habanero since they are two varieties of the same
species but have different pod types
the Scotch bonnet and the habanero have the characteristic thin,
waxy flesh. They have a similar heat level and flavor. Although
both varieties average around the same level of heat, the actual
degree of "heat" varies greatly with genetics, growing methods,
climate, and plant stress.
The habanero's heat, its fruity, citrus
flavor, and its floral aroma have made it a popular ingredient in
and spicy foods. In some cases,
particularly in Mexico, habaneros are placed in tequila
a period ranging from several days, to several weeks, in order to
make a spiced version of the drink.
Habaneros thrive in hot weather. As with all peppers, the habanero
does well in an area with good morning sun and in soil with an
acidity level around 5-6 pH
. The habanero should
be watered only when dry. Overly moist soil and roots will produce
Habanero bushes are good candidates for a container garden
. They can live many years
in pots or other growing containers at proper temperature.
The habanero is a perennial flowering plant
, meaning that with proper
care and growing conditions, it can produce flowers (and thus
fruit) for many years. However, in temperate climates it is treated
as an annual
when planted in the
ground, dying each winter and being replaced the next spring. In
tropical and sub-tropical regions, the habanero, like other chiles,
will produce year round. As long as conditions are favorable, the
plant will set fruit continuously.
Black Habanero is an alternative name often used to describe the
dark brown variety of Habanero chilis. Seeds have been found that
are thought to be over 7000 years old. It has an exotic and unusual
taste. Small slivers used in cooking can have a dramatic effect on
the over-all dish. Gourmets delight in its fiery heat and unusual
They take considerably longer to grow than other Habanero chili
varieties but are considered by many to be worth the wait. In a
dried form they can be preserved for long periods of time and can
be reconstituted in water then added to sauce mixes. Previously
known as Habanero Negra, or by their Nahuatl
name, they were translated into English by spice traders in the
19th century as "Black Habanero". The word "Chocolate" was derived
from the Nahuatl word, "xocolatl", and was used in the description
as well, but it proved to be unpronounceable to the British
traders, so it was simply named "Black Habanero".
Several growers have attempted to selectively breed
habanero plants to
produce hotter, heavier, and larger peppers. The Naga Jolokia
is a chili that has a very high
Scoville rating (over 1,000,000 by some measurements) and is often
mistaken for a cultivar
of the habanero
pepper, although it is actually its own species. Most habaneros
will rate between 200,000 and 300,000 Scoville units
In 2004 researchers in Texas created a mild version of the habanero
pepper retaining the aroma and flavor of the traditional habanero
pepper. The milder version was obtained by crossing
the Yucatán habanero
pepper with a heatless habanero from Bolivia over several
These mild habaneros are expected to be widely
available to consumers in the future.
Image:Habanero pepper.jpg|A habanero plant with
chilesImage:Habanero chile - flower with fruit (aka).jpg|A habanero
plant with fruit and flowerImage:Habanero_orange.JPG|Fruit habanero
'orange'Image:Habenero roast.jpg| Habaneros.
- Bosland, P.W. 1996. Capsicums: Innovative uses of
an ancient crop. p. 479-487. In: J. Janick (ed.), Progress in
new crops. ASHS Press, Arlington, VA.
- Bosland, "The History of the Chile Pepper"
- Eshbaugh, W.H. 1993. History and exploitation of a
serendipitous new crop discovery. pages 132-139. In: J. Janick and
J.E. Simon (eds.), New crops. Wiley, New York as reproduced at
Steve's Hot Stuff"
- Santa Ana III, Rod. " Texas Plant Breeder Develops Mild Habanero
Pepper." AgNews, 12 August 2004.