Your food’s source is important. The origins of what you put in your body have profound effects on your body and mind. It has become common to consume chemical-laden processed food grown in warehouses and canned in sunless factories, pretending this will have no consequences.
So you’ll be glad to hear that the Habanero, a little chilli pepper of bright and happy sunny colours, was born in Brazil’s Amazonas region. Amazonas of course has the almighty Amazon River, but also one and a half million square kilometres of rainforest, and Pico da Neblina – the highest mountain in Brazil. What I’m getting at is: Amazonas has awesome natural power, and this is manifest in the Habanero. Super-hot Habaneros kick like a mule, while resonating with the health of the rainforest. Nifty, to say the least. Healthy, naturally lush places tend to pass their characteristics to the foods that grow in them. Eating a meal flavoured with Habanero is a little meditation on hot jungle sunshine.
How spicy? Well, in 2000, Guinness World Records titled the Habanero as the planet’s hottest chilli pepper. Habaneros’ crown has since been taken by several even hotter chillies (which we also stock – see our products list), but at 100,000 – 350,000 Scoville Heat Units, a ride on the Habanero train is pretty exhilarating. And good for you. Habaneros and other chilli peppers stimulate the metabolism. They fight cancer. They help diabetics. They are vitamin-rich and contain immune-boosting antioxidants. They reduce cholesterol… click on the “Benefits of Peppers” header of our website for the comprehensive rundown of the amazing and reassuring things they can do for us mere mortals. “And I was only looking for something to give my barbeque a bang”, I hear you cry.
As for taste (it’s not only marvellous heat explosions that Habaneros contribute to your cooking), the Habanero is fruity, tropical, a little citrus. A Bright tang runs through the fiery punch to enliven salsas, stews, enchiladas, chilli con carne (or con vege). Instead of using salt – ruiner of blood pressures – to awaken a dull meal, use a tiny tiny smidgen of Habanero. Your meal will be tastier, and the seasoning will actually nourish you. But if in your search for flavour you care not for health, or food’s origins, then please ignore this website and move on vacantly to McDonald’s.
Habaneros are of course supremely popular in Mexico (particularly in Yucatan) where those spice aficionados put Habaneros in cowboy beans and enchilada sauces. In Mexico the Habanero is an integral part of everyday local food, both whole or chopped, and puréed Habaneros to be blended into a variety of dishes. Mexican chilli connoisseurs eat Habaneros with salt and lime juice, followed by beans to calm the flames.
Traditional Mexican dishes wouldn’t be traditional without a Habanero or equivalent – Mexico is the planet’s largest Habanero consumer. But Habaneros’ firepower and fruity taste made them famed and popular elsewhere in the world too. Zing-masters use Habanero as a crucial ingredient in exotic fruit dishes. Habaneros are even infused into mezcal and tequila. Leave one in the bottle for a few days, or anything up to a month if you are insane and desperate to impress a group of men. I’m sorry – did I say that out loud? I meant: if you like it extremely spicy.
These days, Habaneros are grown in Brazil, Mexico, Costa Rica, Belize, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Texas, Idaho (to name but nine places) and now we grow these little beauties on our ranch in sunny California.
I have to share with you a little story about underestimating the scale of influence the Habanero has had on world gastronomy. One website – a very popular website I might add (it wouldn’t be nice to tell you which one, but you can search the following quote should you want to scorn and tut) – tells its education-hungry readers, with authority, that “the Habanero pepper has been around for 85 years”. Wow, 85 years. So – thousand of years less than bread. Or beer. Or even sausages for goodness’ sake. Oh dear.
In fact, the cultivation of Habanero chilli peppers for consumption by us thrill-seeking humans has gone on for a minimum of 8,500 years. So say the results of an archaeological dig in Guitarrero Cave in the Peruvian highlands. And even then, it had been valued enough to have been brought there from somewhere else.
The Habanero came to China 500 or more years ago, brought – chilli-legend has it – by Spanish and Portuguese explorers. The Chinese loved Habaneros so much that when bespectacled botanists with notepads and sample jars arrived there relatively recently (1776), Habaneros were so widely eaten there that one of the dudes with the notepads thought Habaneros must originally have been Chinese, and named it Capsicum chinense. Forever a historical nonsense. But I bet his Mama was proud.
The Habanero is one loved chilli.