Habanero Varieties at Bountiful Seeds

If you are a self-proclaimed chilli head and have never tasted a habanero then shame on you. If on the contrary you are a chilli virgin then this is definitely a chilli you should strive to taste at least once in your life. 

Indeed, this is probably one of the most iconic variety of chilli peppers that have ever been produced by Mother Nature and was actually crowned hottest chilli in the world in 2000 by the Guinness book of World Records. This is a chilli that has definitely been around for a while, as far back even as 6,500 B.C according to archaeologists. It's also a very well travelled chilli, thought to be originating in the Amazonas region and later found in Mexico. The Spaniards invading Mexico quickly fell in love with the Habanero chilli pepper variety and exported it to other countries and even China. It was therefore wrongly included in the Chinense family of chilli peppers (Chinense meaning “from China”) when it is actually definitely coming from the Oh-so-mythical-place-for-chillies that is South America. 

We first came across the habanero chilli pepper in hot sauce form, later on tasting the proper fresh pods, seeds and all, and loving it. Finding most hot sauces to be too mild or boring for our taste we decided to hot things up and got ourselves several habanero-based sauces for the pleasure of our tastebuds. It was obvious from the first mouthful of the very first bottle that we were onto a winner and we haven't looked back since. 

The habanero plant can sometimes be tricky to grow especially when it comes to the rarer kinds but overall at Bountiful Seeds we haven't had too much trouble getting gorgeous plants to maturity and crawling under the weight of their own fruits. We only had to provide a bit of TLC and it just sprouted out from the soil although, just like with most Chinense plants, it took a while for the stems to develop and reach their full growth and fruity potential. 

What we love with the habanero chilli pepper is that it's so versatile. An integral part of many international dishes, it is at its best in sweet and sour dishes or chopped up straight after being  picked and mixed in a nice summer salad. It is really a little ray of sunshine in your plate and will certainly warm you up in the dead of winter! With a rating of about 350,000 SHU on average (Scoville Heat Unit) the habanero is on the verge of the “superhot” threshold although pungency of course depends on the way the plant is grown, the climate and of course the seeds' genetics. Some types of habanero have indeed been modified so that they would retain the wonderful fruity flavour that entrances so many people but to lose the scorching heat that usually comes with it. 

Now of course we try not to differentiate one habanero with another but the truth is that they all have their particularities. Take the white habanero for example. Rather rare still, this is a much smaller fruit than its cousins but also one of the hottest! The tell-tale lantern shape is still there though and makes for a striking effect when numerous white pods are ripening on one plant. The chocolate Habanero is another one that we are keen to see mature in our polytunnel as it is a strong but also extremely flavoursome one although do not be mistaken, its name pertains to its colour, not its taste! 

The red and orange habaneros are probably the most used in the chilli market and in chef's kitchens across the world, the first one being rather sweet while the latter is quite peppery. Those chillies are so beloved by chilli heads that some real clans have actually formed, swearing only by the habanero chilli over the close-but-not-quite-as-good-to-some Scotch Bonnet, and totally against more savoury chilli peppers such as the Bhut Jolokia, Trinidad Scorpion or the bitterer Naga. 

All in all this is a chilli pepper that anybody should be proud to have in its home or garden even if you're growing it for its beauty rather than its fruits. In our experience, you'll always make someone happy by giving them habanero chilli peppers, whichever kind they may be!


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