Habanero is a specific type of chili pepper belonging to the Capsicum chinense species which is characterized by extreme heat. The immature pepper is green in color which turns red as it matures. However, a number of variants in orange, pink, white and brown colors are also available in stores.
The pepper is two to six inches long and measures between 100, 000 to 350,000 on the Scoville scale. It has a citrus fruit-like flavor with a distinctive floral aroma which makes it a popular ingredient of spicy food despite its heat.
The Yucatan province of Mexico is the highest growing region closely followed by Belize, Panama, Costa Rica, Columbia and South Western parts of the United States. The chili is one of the major ingredients of Yacatean food where it is used either in the whole form or as a puree.
Several chili growers across the world have tried cross breeding the pepper with milder chilies in order to produce a similar cultivar that is both flavorful and mild in taste.
Culinary Uses of Habanero Pepper
The fiery chili is used to make sauces, dips and salsas. It is also used to spike soups and stews in Mexico. They are frequently added to bottles of tequila and mezcal in order to obtain a spiced version of the drink.
Some of the most popular recipes that use the pepper as an ingredient include:-
- Garden Omelet- an omelet prepared with minced habanero chilies, basil leaves and sliced avocados.
- Fruit Salsa- A chilled concoction of tropical fruits mixed with minced habanero and jalapeno chilies that is served with shrimp and fish tacos.
Health Benefits of Habanero Chilies
The high amount of capsaicin present in the peppers makes it one of the most beneficial spices in the world. Some of the important health benefits associated with the chili are:-
- It can be used to inhibit prostate cancer.
- It is highly effective against obesity and is used for promoting weight loss.
- It is believed to lower blood cholesterol levels.
- The capsaicin rich pepper is also used to regulate blood pressure levels.
Archeologists have discovered an intact habanero chili in Peruvian caves that has been traced back to 6500 BC.