Thursday, September 30, 2010

Chile Habanero

Pictured above is a typical branch of the habañero chile that our former tenant Nacho planted several months ago.  It seems to have about 30 chiles growing in various stages at any given time.  Most everyone is familiar with the habañero chile, especially those who live in the Yucatán, where most of the crop is grown.  I've noticed that many Mexicans who aren't Yucatecan shy away from it, saying it's just too hot.  Evidently we habañero eating residents of the area like to sweat, because if we're not sweating to 100+°F air temperatures, we're sweating through our cochinita or lechón taquitos loaded with fresh salsa.  I am, anyway.

On my daily revision of the edible plants in the garden, I noticed the chile below on the same plant pictured above.  It skipped orange and turned itself the brightest red.  Our know-it-all store owner on the corner told me it is a hybrid habañero, and that I should be sure to plant the red seeds.  When I looked up habañeros, they come in more colors than I'd imagined.  I've seen green, yellow and orange habañeros, but never bright red.  One type of habañero is called Red Savina and is much hotter than a regular one. I got tired of researching my harvested habañero, so the bottom line is it could just be a red habañero or it could be the hottest one on the bush. 

I just decided to quit horsing around....I bit into it.  It tastes like a delicious sweet red capsicum!  It is leaving just a hint of heat on my lips, but nothing like a regular habañero....the orange ones have been hot!! hot!! hot!! This sweet red one will be the perfect addition to the potato salad I plan to make when 'la banda' is finished with their dinner.

Meanwhile the larger Guatemalan chile bush is still spitting out little red bombs by the hundreds.  I have to harvest at least once a week.  I've managed to dehydrate the first batch and grind them.  I like to mix the fresh ground red pepper with black peppercorns, allowing me to spice up food to my liking without making anyone else suffer.  I like my pepper hot.   These pictured below are sort of like chile máax - in Mayan, which is chile tepín, or is it piquín? Since no one has been certain what this chile is, I call them Huehuetenango Cherry Bombs! 

Back in 1912 William Scoville created a scale rating the heat of chiles.  Below is a partial list of chiles and their ratings.

Scoville rating   -    Type of pepper

15,000,000–16,000,000 Pure capsaicin
8,600,000–9,100,000 Various capsaicinoids (e.g., homocapsaicin, homodihydrocapsaicin, nordihydrocapsaicin)

5,000,000–5,300,000 Law Enforcement Grade pepper spray, FN 303 irritant ammunition

855,000–1,075,000 Naga Jolokia (ghost chili)

350,000–580,000 Red Savina habanero

100,000–350,000 Guntur Chilli, Habanero chili,Scotch Bonnet Pepper,Datil pepper, Rocoto, African Birdseye, Madame Jeanette, Jamaican Hot Pepper

50,000–100,000 Bird's eye chili/Thai Pepper/Indian Pepper, Malagueta Pepper, Chiltepin Pepper, Pequin Pepper

30,000–50,000 Cayenne Pepper, Ají pepper, Tabasco pepper, Cumari pepper (Capsicum Chinese)

10,000–23,000 Serrano Pepper

2,500–8,000 Jalapeño Pepper, Guajillo pepper, New Mexican varieties of Anaheim pepper, Paprika (Hungarian wax pepper), Tabasco Sauce

500–2,500 Anaheim pepper, Poblano Pepper, Rocotillo Pepper, Peppadew

100–500 Pimento, Peperoncini

0   No significant heat,     Bell pepper, Aji dulce

Enough about chiles.  The pitaya plant willing its way over the wall flowered again.  The last flowering, a month ago, as beautiful as it was, was fruitless.  We had so much rain the never had a chance.  It's a cactus, after all.  These three look like they may have potential.  After last week's deluge, the rainy afternoons have subsided for now. 


2ericc said...


The Spice Girls got nothin' on you!


Beryl Gorbman said...

Thanks for the Scoville Scale. That is really interesting.