I'm trying my hand at a homemade hot sauce using some habaneros and every recipe I've seen calls for unseeding them. I'm not particularly worried about making the sauce too hot, so I'm wondering if I can keep the seeds and whether that would change the texture of the sauce any. Curious if folks have any thoughts there?
The seeds of all peppers are bitter, you won't notice this when you are using a single pepper in a large dish of food, but if you make hot sauce without removing the seeds you will have a noticeable, and possibly unpleasant bitterness. Grinding the seeds will add more off flavors, so it is worth the effort to get rid of them.
First, the most capsaicin (heat) is in the pith of the peppers. You'll find it to a lesser extent in the seeds. Keeping the seeds will definitely change the texture of the sauce, but if you like that texture then by all means, use them. You can also purée the sauce to make it smoother. I would start with the flesh of the pepper and then use the pith to alter the spiciness to your taste.
The bulk of the capsaicin is in the embryonic orange felt enclosing the seeds. That makes the seed area the strongest contributor to pungency. The seeds themselves are no benefit in either taste nor much hotness. So for your aims, it makes sense to remove the seeds while making sure that you don't remove their bedding. Consider using gloves for that kind of sorting action (and actually most handling of habaneros). Or consider it as a good training opportunity for learning to avoid touching your face in the age of COVID-19.