9

I like the fruity taste of habanero a lot (the red ones if that matters). But I usually get stomach pains after eating them (not that it stops me). Are there any chilis that taste similar to habanero but burns less/are easier on the stomach/have less scoville rating?

1
  • 1
    Manzanos are one of the other big fruity peppers, but they're only a little milder than habaneros, I'm guessing not enough to solve your problem.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 1:42

6 Answers 6

7

From the excellent book Grow For Flavour there is actually a chilli called the Trinidad Perfume which is specifically cultivated to have the same flavour profile as a Habanero without the heat.

If you love the tangy, fruitiness of habanero (Scotch bonnet) peppers but can't handle heat, I have some news for you. Trinidad Perfume's golden fruits have traded gut-wrenching fire for an incredibly flavourful, aromatic citrusiness [sic]. Being sweet and with barely any capsaicin, this is the ultimate chilli-hater's chilli.

p190. Grow for Flavour, James Wong. 2015 Mitchell Beazley

As to where one might find them - I suppose that mainly depends on your physical location. To be honest, I haven't seen them for sale around here (London).

Googling does provide a rather large number of options to buy seeds and even grown plants.

3
  • 3
    Wow. I had never heard of that variety ... and it reminds me of something -- if you're growing peppers, you want to keep sweet peppers away from the hot peppers. Cross pollination will result in the sweet ones getting hotter, and the hot ones losing some of their heat.
    – Joe
    Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 15:00
  • In shopping for seeds, I also found there's a 'Habanada' (it's not the same shape, though. It's closer to a stretched out Scotch Bonnet), and for jalapeños there are 'Fooled You Hybrid' and 'Tricked You Hybrid', and for Scotch Bonnet, there's Aji Cachucha (which might have some heat)
    – Joe
    Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 4:34
  • 1
    @Joe I guess more than one person has had the idea of breeding the spice out of hot chilli peppers... Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 8:56
8

Allepo pepper has a fair bit of fruitiness, but it's typically only available dried in most areas, not fresh. And I suspect it may be harder to get these days with the conflict in the area where it's grown.

What you can do, however, is change how you use habanero peppers.

Add them whole to recipes and remove them before serving. As the capsaicin is mostly on the inside, you'll get some of the fruitness, without the full hit from the heat. If you want a little more heat, stab it with a knife before adding it (but don't cut it open fully).

One of my former co-workers made groundnut soup this way, and it had great flavor without knocking people out. (I think he had 3 or 4 in there; I don't know if they were punctured or not)

1
  • 1
    And now that I think about it ... I wonder how the fruitiness vs. heat would be if you just barely scored the skin so you didn't actually cut all the way through to the internal cavity. I might have to try to that on something where the flavor would stand out well.
    – Joe
    Commented Feb 12, 2017 at 18:53
2

So the chilies that taste most like habaneros are... habaneros. I once carefully halved a bunch of habanero peppers and cut away the white ribs and seeds with a razor blade, leaving no hint of white. They made an amazing jam with raspberries, leaving the full habanero flavor but with only the barest hint of heat. The process was exceptionally time-consuming but probably could have been done more quickly and easily if I'd been more willing to waste more of the peppers.

Wear gloves, and consider wearing eye protection. You might think "I'll just wash my hands afterwards". You are not as good at washing your hands as you think you are. Wear gloves.

2

Among the standard Habaneros, I've only analyzed the taste of the Orange Habanero (which has a citrusy taste), but Orange Scotch Bonnets taste pretty similar to those. They're pretty hot still, but not as hot as Habaneros. A red Scotch Bonnet would probably taste similar to a red Habanero, I would think.

If you're not looking for the exact flavor, but just want something remniscent of it, I might recommend any of these:

  • Aji Dulce 1 (has hardly any heat and tastes very fruity, but not the citrusy taste of an Orange Habanero)
  • Aji Habanero (This actually isn't the same species as a Habanero. It tastes kind of similar, but instead of being as hot as a Habanero, it's about as hot as Cayenne. Aji Habanero has a more savory taste than the standard Orange Habanero, but it's still fruity.)
  • If you're looking for a sweet pepper, try Canary Bell. When fully ripe, it tastes kind of like a Habanero, which is a rare trait among bell peppers.
  • Coral Bell has a similar taste as Canary Bell (but in my garden, Canary Bell is easier to grow).
5
  • To that list I'd add Aji Limon (again another species) - lemon yellow and fruity/citrussy flavour. Some heat but not habanero hot. Grows well for me, as a perennial lifting the pots into the house in winter
    – Chris H
    Commented May 21 at 15:58
  • Species is about reproducibility. Variety or cultivars are likely the words you are looking for.
    – Emil
    Commented May 21 at 17:39
  • @Emil No, not in this case. Most chillis are cultivars of Capsicum annuum which also includes sweet peppers. Aji limon is a common cultivar of Capsicum baccatum. Aji habañero appears to be another cultivar of *Capsicum baccatum.
    – Chris H
    Commented May 22 at 9:31
  • Interesting, I thought all chilis could breed with each other
    – Emil
    Commented May 22 at 10:53
  • Various species across life-forms in general can breed with each other, and this is fairly common within the Nightshade family (peppers are part of that). That's what interspecies hybrids come from. At least a lot of pepper species can hybridize with each other, if not all of them (but I don't know how common it is). Of course, not all species can interbreed. You don't see cats and plants having offspring, for instance, nor birds and squirrels, nor even a lot of things that are in the same genus as each other. Commented May 22 at 14:19
1

You can come down in hot but habanero does have a distinctive taste.

A trick is to remove the seeds as that is where most of hot is.

Substitute in some serrano or cayenne or ??

0

Frame challenge: is the flavour you're looking for actually specific to the pepper?

If you just want that fruity citrus hit on something that's mildly spicy, it's a lot easier to add flavours than take them away. You might try working with a neutral pepper (cayenne is a common recommendation) and adding things like citrus zest, lemongrass, or thyme. (Or even, for that matter, actual fruit.)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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