habanero peppers shu

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Scoville Heat Rating : 100,000 – 350,000 SHU

Another of the hottest chili peppers, Habanero chili peppers produce a heat with intense effects. This type of pepper has the shape of a lantern or a teardrop and usually grows to a length of two inches or more. They have a fiery floral flavor that is unique. Due to the wide variety of possible colors, these are often mistaken for other types of peppers. Most generally, they are a vibrant red-orange color when fully matured but can be white, brown, or even pink. The flesh of the pepper is thin with a waxy feel.

 

Choosing a Habanero Chili Pepper

The Habanero Chili pepper is available in all months but the peak season extends from March thru August. When selecting peppers at market, individuals should look for those that are free of any bruising, brown spotting, withering, and blemishes. Many varieties of peppers are available for purchase at local farmers markets, vegetable and fruit stands, retail stores, and most supermarkets.

 

Grow Your Own

For the do-it-yourself gardener, numbers of seed catalogs carry the seeds needed to raise chili peppers at home. The Habanero Chili pepper flourishes in a hot climate. The soil needs to be acidic with adequate sunshine and the proper amount of drainage. The soil should be watered only when it is dry. The fruit will be bitter if overwatered.

 

Relieving the Sensation

Whether home grown or market purchased, individuals can mellow the peppers heat. This can be done by cutting the peppers into halves lengthwise and scraping the fruit ribs and all seeds away. This area of the pepper holds the greatest amount of the heat producing compound. When working with peppers, gloves should be worn. Always keep gloved hands away from the mouth, eyes, nose, and other exposed areas of skin.

Skin that comes in contact with the chili peppers will begin to redden and uncomfortably burn. Eyes will redden and water. The mouth will experience a burning sensation, while a runny nose will develop. The burning sensation from contact with the skin cannot be alleviated by using water. There are some suggestions for combating the discomfort as follows:

  • Do not rub the area as this deepens the penetration of the burn.
  • Use milk, baby shampoo, or an antacid liquid to wash the affected areas.
  • OTC topical lidocaine gel or cream gently spread on area will give some relief.
  • Liquids, such as milk and ice cream, which have a high fat content, will help ease the sensation in the mouth, throat, and stomach.

Photo credit: Garrett Heath / Foter / CC BY