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Habaneros are hot


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#1 Teddy Devico

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 12:57 AM

Habanero peppers are REALLY HOT. They are over 100 times hotter than a jalapeno, which many people consider to be very spicy. Jabanero peppers actually have extremely great flavor, but it is masked by their dominant heat that hides the delicious flavor like a mother bear hiding their cubs from predators. Dave Arnold, the director of Culinary Technologies at the French Culinary Institute, distills habanero peppers in a rotary evaporator to extract the fruity flavor and leave the heat behind. A rotary evaporator allows things to be distilled at much lower temperatures than normal. To learn more about a rotary evaporator check out Dave's site here.

So a couple days ago I was with my friends and one of them thought that they could handle any type of spicy food. I was lucky enough to have a habanero pepper at my disposal. I cut a very little strip (I did not want to kill my friend) and let him have a taste. His mouth and nose burned for hours. He drank glasses and glasses of milk to try and numb the pain, but nothing worked. I should have felt bad, but it was too funny. He admitted that the habanero was to hot for him and by far the hottest thing he has ever tasted. And by the way there were no seeds or ribs in the slice that I gave him and the ribs are the hottest part of the pepper.

#2 prasantrin

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 01:05 AM

So a couple days ago I was with my friends and one of them thought that they could handle any type of spicy food. I was lucky enough to have a habanero pepper at my disposal.


That made me laugh! Poor guy, but now he knows better than to brag!

Your story reminded me of something that happened years ago. My dad made garlic pepper beef (Thai style) and I came home to leftovers. I loved his garlic pepper beef, so I took a bunch of it (without asking) and proceeded to eat it. I did not know that he had added quite a lot of habanero peppers to it. Being Thai, he could handle the heat, but being half Thai and raised in Canada, I could not. I almost died! But he just laughed.

Never touched habanero anything after that!

#3 Rail Paul

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 01:21 AM

Habanero is often an ingredient in military grade pepper spray. With good reason. Cayenne is usually the principal ingredient.

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman


#4 Orik

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 06:39 AM

Teddy's friend must have weak constitution. A small strip of Habanero is hot and will burn for a bit, but not for "hours" (unless you've touched it and scratch your eye - then you're on your own). If he ever flies a few hours south for the winter he'll find people enjoying hot "salsa" that is little more than pounds and pounds of sliced Habanero (to be fair it's usually green) in vinegar on their tacos without flinching.

Btw, one of our more successful container crops for the past few years has been Chocolate Habanero that's as hot and has an even more pronounced citrus flavor. There's not much to do with a couple of dozen of these but the do freeze very well.

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#5 Suzanne F

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 01:47 PM

Come on, be fair: people have to build up a tolerance for capsaicin, and what someone is used to as "spicy" in the chain restaurants of New Jersey probably registers fairly low on the Scoville scale. So the kid very likely was having a pretty normal (if overly dramatic ;)) reaction.

Remember, too, that chiles are not all created equal. As living, growing things, they are subject to variations, and two chiles from the same plant may have very different levels of heat. A farmer at a market recently told me that the more scaly brown striations on the chile, the hotter it is (at least wrt poblanos); but I didn't see evidence of that. It's still a crapshoot. :P

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#6 Daniel

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 04:01 PM

Why does Robert Downey Jr's phone call in Natural Born Killers pop into my brain..
Ason, I keep planets in orbit.

#7 Orik

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 04:00 AM

Manzano Chiles - first time I tried them - delicious, exceptionally hot - not quite as hot as Habaneros when roasted, but close. Really amazing flavor. $4.99/lb @ Chelsea Market.

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#8 hollywood

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 09:25 AM

Jalapenos and serranos are not that hot. But habaneros, they be smokin'.

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#9 Rail Paul

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 11:56 AM

Jalapenos and serranos are not that hot. But habaneros, they be smokin'.


Yes.

There are some hot sauces available in bodegas and the Latino section of some food stores that push the envelope, too. I noticed one in the Somerville NJ ShopRite that was composed of Scotch Bonnet and habanero.

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman


#10 Suzanne F

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 01:00 PM

Manzano Chiles - first time I tried them - delicious, exceptionally hot - not quite as hot as Habaneros when roasted, but close. Really amazing flavor. $4.99/lb @ Chelsea Market.

Cool! Um, I mean . . . well, anyway, I'll be over there on Thursday and will look for them.

the people who flock to dine at the restaurant on account of its reputation/stars are getting their money's worth because what they are after is a piece of the reputation/stars and nothing else. their money is not wasted. -- mongo jones, 11/5/2014

 

notorious stickler -- NY Times
deeply annoying and nitpicking -- Molly O'Neill, One Big Table


#11 squibble

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 01:43 PM

The OH makes wonderful smoky hot sauces with habaneros and bhut jolokias. He slowly smokes the ingredients and then adds plenty of fresh habaneros as well. I can't even sample one drop, they're just too hot for me. I want to make a smoky sauce without the intense heat, but haven't yet come up with any ideas as to what I'll use yet. Any suggestions?

#12 mongo_jones

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 01:45 PM

i am going to subscribe to teddy devico's blog! he makes some good points.

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#13 Orik

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 04:03 PM

The OH makes wonderful smoky hot sauces with habaneros and bhut jolokias. He slowly smokes the ingredients and then adds plenty of fresh habaneros as well. I can't even sample one drop, they're just too hot for me. I want to make a smoky sauce without the intense heat, but haven't yet come up with any ideas as to what I'll use yet. Any suggestions?


I believe if you wash the chiles in alcohol it'll dissolve a lot of the capsaicin.

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#14 squibble

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 08:46 PM

Thanks. I'm going to give that a try.

#15 Rail Paul

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 08:56 PM


The OH makes wonderful smoky hot sauces with habaneros and bhut jolokias. He slowly smokes the ingredients and then adds plenty of fresh habaneros as well. I can't even sample one drop, they're just too hot for me. I want to make a smoky sauce without the intense heat, but haven't yet come up with any ideas as to what I'll use yet. Any suggestions?


I believe if you wash the chiles in alcohol it'll dissolve a lot of the capsaicin.


Yes.

I've found that removing the seeds, inner ribs, and scraping the inside of the pepper also reduces its heat.

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman