The habanero peppers (Capsicum chinense) are one of the most intensely hot, spicy chile peppers that you will come across. The species was misnamed in 1776 by a Dutch physician who was collecting plants throughout the Caribbean for Emperor Francis I. The species was incorrectly identified as “Chinese” as he believed this chile had originated in China. The name stuck and this Chinese hot pepper is not from China but originated from the Caribbean and South America.
The word habanero has long been used in the English language to represent the entire Chinese species. This is also incorrect as there have been dozens of various pod types identified within the species. It is not uncommon for some to call the Scotch bonnet a type of “habanero.” That would also be wrong as the Scotch bonnet and habanero are different pod types of the same Capsicum chinense species.
There is some debate as to where the habanero is originally from – some believe that it is native to the Amazon region of South America and others believe that is was originally brought to the Yucatan Peninsula from Cuba. These chile heads believe that it is actually named after the Cuban city La Habana (which we in the US know as Havana).
To add more fuel to the fire several Mexican horticulturists have noted that the habanero is the only chile in the Yucatán region that does not have a Mayan name, which would also indicate that it was imported at some time.
The Yucatan region is one of the leading producers of habaneros but these chile peppers are also harvested in Costa Rica, Ecuador, California, and Texas. Our Habaneros are grown in Yucatan and Ecuador.
The habanero, however, isn’t just a fiery redhead adored for its temper alone. The habanero possesses an intense citrusy flavor not found in many other chile peppers. Dried, the aroma of oranges and tangerines rise up, and when reconstituted in the water you’ll find notes of yellow nectarine. Delightful in sauces and salsa, the habanero pepper offers complexity in taste and the subtlety of a freight train.
Habaneros ripen into one of a variety of colors including red, orange, pink, white or chocolate. The typical size is 1” -2 ½” and 1”-2” in diameter. While these pack a nice burn those heat seekers crave they also have a bit of a fruity taste to them.
The flavor profile of the habanero has the noticeable tropical fruit flavors of coconut and papaya, with berry undertones, and an acidic and intense, fiery heat.
Habaneros are ideal in homemade salsas, wings and barbeque sauce.
Description and Taste
Habanero chile peppers are characteristically lantern-shaped, with varieties that range in color from green, yellow, orange, red, reddish-purple and brown. When ripe, they have a distinctively sweet, tropical fruity flavor and an apricot aroma.
In addition to their extreme spice, the Dried Habañero chile offers desiccated fruit notes of golden raisin, dried orange zest, and mango fruit leather. Habañeros are at least 50 times hotter than the jalapeño and can sometimes measure off the Scoville Chart (200,000-350,000 units).
Dried Habañeros are a variety of Capsicum annuum that is often regarded as one of the hottest chiles on earth. Along with the Ghost pepper, they are perhaps the most misunderstood chile pepper in the culinary world. Often noted for nothing more than mind-blowing spice, they also offer a complex flavor profile that can, in fact, be quite fruity and even somewhat sweet.
Dried Habañero chile peppers contain iron, thiamine, niacin, magnesium, riboflavin, vitamins A, B, and C. Chiles are cholesterol-free, saturated fat-free, low calorie, low sodium, and high in fiber.
One of the hottest chiles around, the Habanero Chile adds a fruity and spicy flavor to your favorite chili, salsa, or sauce.
When used in moderation, dried Habanero chile peppers are a good way to add subtle heat to raw dishes, especially those with a high acid content, such as crudos or ceviches. Their warm fruity flavor works well in combination with fruit such as mango, berries, passion fruit, pineapple, and orange. They are a key ingredient to the famous Jamaican jerk seasoning, a mix of cinnamon, allspice, salt and dried chile. A traditional bar snack includes combining very finely minced Habañero with dried shrimp, cucumber, and lime.
In addition to the dried whole chiles we also stock the easy to use Habanero Flakes and Habanero Powder and one of our most popular chicken rubs is our Habanero Mango. We also carry a full line of other Chiles and Hot Peppers that are sure to please the most discerning hot pepper lover! And if you’re a fan of habaneros then You Might be a Chile Head.
Salsa Habanero Pepper Recipe
Salsa Habanero Pepper
3 or 4 fresh or dried habanero peppers (for a milder sauce, use jalapeno, chipotle, or ancho, etc.)
1 lime, juiced
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
cumin (a pinch)
salt (a pinch)
fresh cilantro (optional)
Remove the stems and some seeds (depending on how hot you like it—the seeds and white membranes they’re attached to are where the heat lives) of a few fresh or dried chiles. If using dried, first lightly toast them in a dry skillet to draw out the flavor, then soak them in hot water for about 15 min., until soft.