layers: habanero peppers, and a challenge

I’m addicted to these things. The smell of habanero peppers is nothing short of amazing, but they have to be used with extreme caution given their heat. How hot?

The Scoville Scale

Here’s how some of your common use peppers stack up.

Green bell: 0 or minimal
Poblano: 2000
Jalapeno: 5000
Serano: 10-20,000
Habanero: 250,000
Ghost pepper: >1,000,000

While the poblano, jalapeno, and serano have a very “green” flavor, habanero has a sweet, citrus quality. I planted one bush, and it went WILD. So now I have a bunch of canned habaneros, and I’m wondering how I’m going to use them. Even though I have a lot more heat tolerance than most folks I know, I have to use these sparingly. I make salsa with them, but only with one pepper per 28 oz of tomato, making sure to clean ribs and seeds unless I’m really running short.

So, while this is a great ingredient to include as a layer, is there any way to still have that flavor, and lose some of the heat?

To help answer this question, I’ll provide you with some physical properties of capsaicin that might be in play:

capsaicin is an oil (that’s why drinking ice water makes it worse)
melting point: 65 C (149 F)
boiling point: 215 C (420 F)


One thought on “layers: habanero peppers, and a challenge

  1. The problem with the heat from capsiacin is that the molecule is hydrophobic meaning it will not mix with water. Additionally, once it bind to its receptors, it basically has to either “wear off” or be washed away by some sort of “detergent” like whole milk or a strong sugar solution.

    Therefore, the only way to temper in food is to use less, always remove the seeds and ribs etc. I find that oily marinades such as jerk seasoning can take more hot peppers than can water based sauces like salsa perhaps because with the water based sauces you get the direct hit from the pepper.

    What I’m saying is, I have no idea what to do with the damn things, but if it were me, I would make my on Insane OG hot sauce to enjoy year round (in small amounts).

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