Take the 2-minute tour ×
Seasoned Advice is a question and answer site for professional and amateur chefs. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I'm a newbie when it comes to any type of chili. I'm alright at eating food with chili, but don't really have any experience with using it.

I bought the one I used at a local supermarket. I first tried eating a small slice to measure its hotness, but couldn't really feel much heat at all. Pleasant flavor though.

Then I tried to eat a small slice with one (1) seed on it, and this time, it was pretty damn strong, I'll admit. But the "flesh" itself was not strong. The food I made (ground beef, crushed tomatoes, onion) was about ~1.5kg total and filled my pan, but when I added half the chopped habanero with ~6 seeds there was not noticeable hotness at all. I didn't notice this until I served since my tastebuds were giving me false readings from the first tasting I did.

So, this lack of hotness, is it because

  1. That's how habaneros work (surprised me that I didn't get any hotness though)
  2. The type I bought was not very strong.
  3. I prepared it all wrong. Extract flavor using oil first?
  4. My supermarket sells non-fresh / low quality habaneros?

Or something else?

The habaneros I bought

share|improve this question
4  
Most of the capsaicin (the hot stuff) in hot peppers is in the membrane that holds the seeds. The flesh is much milder. You can remove the membrane if you want habanero flavor without the heat. –  Fambida Sep 25 '11 at 10:36
    
@Fambida So, to use half a habanero you need to cut it lengthwise? (for half the heat, so to speak). Also, you could post that as an answer... –  Max Sep 25 '11 at 11:07
3  
possible duplicate of What is the hottest part of a chili/chilli/chile pepper? –  rumtscho Sep 25 '11 at 13:13
3  
@Max - FYI: the experience you describe eating a slice of habanero is certainly not typical. Yes, the seeds are hotter, but usually the flesh is still VERY hot when you get into chiles with this level of SHU. I may have run into a habanero here or there that's "only" 75k SHU, but many are well over 100k and reportedly can exceed 300k. So: how sure are you that this was a habanero, and not some other chile varietal? –  zanlok Sep 26 '11 at 17:41

4 Answers 4

I've experimented with growing different varieties of peppers over last decade and found by surrounding one with other types of peppers (sweet, medium or hot) and increasing or reducing water near harvest time you can completely change the heat and flavor of the peppers from that plant. If planted in a pot you can move it around your garden to get different tasting peppers from the same plant throughout the season.

share|improve this answer
    
A friend that did a doctorate on this topic says that soil amendments as stress agents are the next most important trick after water deprivation. –  zanlok Dec 8 '12 at 10:59

Peppers are highly impacted by the environment they are grown in. Amount of water, altitude, nutrients in the soil and "design". Case in point, Hatch New Mexico is famous for the quality of green chile peppers grown there. Hatch is located in an old bend/delta of the Rio Grande that moved a 1000 years ago or so. That is one of the attributes many consider to be what makes them so special. There is also a "designed" species called "Big Jim's" that are very flavorful but the heat is hit and miss. Two Big Jim's from the same field can be exceedingly hot to exceedingly mild. So I would imagine the same is true for habanero. Try a different source.

share|improve this answer

I can't offer you an explanation but I can tell you this. Whenever I buy Habaneros I get a mixed bag of red and orange. The flesh of the orange ones are always mild with zero heat, but the flesh of the red ones are particularly hot. The seeds from both are always hot.

share|improve this answer

Grocery store hot peppers can definitely be hit-or-miss, I have the most experience with jalapenos. The seeds/membranes do have the most heat, but the spicyness of the pepper does vary from one to another.

Peppers from my farmer's market are always hot, the ones from the grocery store is always hard to say; sometimes they are super-hot and other times they are bland. I always buy more than I need and go by taste. If you do cook them in oil first, it does leech out the spicy flavor which would make it hotter, but this shouldn't be necessary.

share|improve this answer
    
Yes, but I've never used any good (orange) habaneros that had "no heat" in the flash of the fruit. I'm almost thinking the varietal the OP is talking about was bred to be more mild. The SHU of a typical habanero is such that even 1/4 of it's flesh without seeds should add as much heat to a dish as one or even two fairly hot jalapeños. –  zanlok Sep 26 '11 at 17:37
    
I was talking to my friend last night and he says he remembers a friends garden had habeneros that for some reason were as mild as sweet peppers, they thought that it might have been due to something in the soil. –  Manako Sep 27 '11 at 15:15
1  
Remember that peppers are a fruit, i.e. the result of a flower being pollinated. Usually, the pollinator is also a hot pepper, but sometimes, you get the odd wandering bee, and/or a genetic anomaly, or something, and the result is a fruit where the "hotness gene" goes recessive. –  Marti Apr 9 '12 at 13:53

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.