ALSO KNOWN AS: Black Habanero
SCOVILLE HEAT SCALE: 200,000 and 300,000
ORIGIN: Dated at 8,500 years old, this chile was found at an archaeological dig in Mexico.
USE: One of the hottest peppers used for culinary purposes. Once you get past the heat, Habaneros have a fruity and citrusy flavor and can be used for Chile, salsa, stews, sauces, stir fry’s and more.
INFORMATION: The habanero chile comes from the Amazonas region, and from there it was spread in Mexico. One domesticated habanero, which was dated at 8,500 years old, was found at an archaeological dig in Mexico. An intact fruit of a small domesticated habanero was found in Pre-ceramic levels in Guitarrero Cave in the Mexican highlands, and was dated to 6500 B.C.E It migrated north to the Caribbean via Colombia. Today, the largest producer is Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. Other modern producers include Belize, Panama, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador and parts of the United States, including Texas, Idaho, and California. While Mexico is the largest consumer of this spicy ingredient, its flavor and aroma have become increasingly popular all over the world. It is characteristic for its bright yellow, red and orange colors. In a dried form, they can be preserved for long periods of time, and can be reconstituted in water then added to sauce mixes. Generally rehydrated before use, dried habanero chiles have the most heat of all dried chiles. They should be used sparingly in sauces, soups and stews.
Previously known as habanero negra, or by their Nahuatl name, they were translated into English by spice traders in the 19th century as "black habanero". The word "chocolate" was derived from the Nahuatl word, "xocolatl", and was used in the description as well, but it proved to be unpronounceable to the British traders, so it was simply named "black habanero.