Habanero Pepper

Habanero Peppers are officially the hottest peppers in the world. There are several types of habanero, and the small bright orange peppers in your local produce department are hot but not the hottest on record. Habanero peppers are usually in the range of 100,000-350,000 Scoville units, but the Ghost Chile, which is rumored to be a habanero, can reach over 1 million units of heat and is officially the world's hottest pepper. The previous record was also held by a habanero, the Red Savina, at 350,000-577,000 Scoville units. Unripened habaneros are green, but they can ripen to a number of colors: orange, red, white, brown or pink. The name habanero is thought to have come from Havana, Cuba, and habaneros originated in the Caribbean and nearby South American Amazon Basin. When given it's latin name of "Capsicum chinense" the habanero was mistakenly thought to have originated in China.

Because of their high heat habanero peppers are a very popular ingredient in hot sauce. Homemade Caribbean hot sauce favors the habanero, as do some of their more potent jerk seasonings. Today the lantern shaped orange habanero is grown commercially in Texas and California. As tropical plants they prefer warm nights and lots of humidity. Drought and other types of stress cause the plants to produce hotter peppers. Habanero are slow growers too, the plants take more than 100 days to produce mature pods. This long growing period combined with the stress induced heat level means that the heat level of any individual habanero pepper is very unpredictable. With all that heat it can be hard to discern any other flavors in a habanero, but those who can refer to them as "fruity", "floral" or "smokey". Habanero can be found whole, dried, powdered, course ground, or crushed.

Habanero Pepper Health Benefits

There are many myths against the consumption of habanero chile. People ignore the numerous benefits they could cause to human being health. Here are some of them:

  • All chilli peppers contain phytochemicals substances called capsaicinoids that produce capsicum. The capsicum is the ingredient that gives heat intensity when habanero chili peppers are ingested or applied topically.

  • When habanero chile is consumed, it binds with the mouth and throat which are the pain receptors of the heat. Once it is transmitted to the brain, it responds to this burning sensation by increasing heart rate perspiration and releasing body's natural endorphin.

  • Researches have shown that habanero chiles may have some beneficial properties as an anticoagulant. Small amounts of capsicum may help prevent heart attacks or strokes caused by blood clot.

  • In cases of cardiovascular diseases, some doctors recommend a bit of habanero chiles in dairy dishes because bad cholesterol could resist oxidation for a longer period of time and delay the development of a major risk.

  • Habanero chili peppers can provide symptomatic relief from rhinitis and possibly bronchitis by clearing mucus from stuffed noses or congested lungs.

  • Some studies in mice show that capsicum products in particular as could help people suffering from obesity to lose weight, even though this is not proved yet with human beings.

  • Capsicum peppers or Capsaicin in general are also a good substance for diabetes control by creating new cells that start producing insulin again.

  • In some countries, chilis are used in salves due to their slight anti-inflammatory and anesthetic effect. Some researches have proved in rats that capsicum products can block pain without causing temporary paralysis.

  • Habanero chiles consumption does not cause stomach aches or cancer even though people usually used to associate them. It has been proved there is not any relationship between them unless capsicum peppers have been adulterated with Sudan I, II, III, IV, para-Red and other illegal carcinogenic substances as aflatoxins and N-nitroso.

  • Several studies confirm that capsicum varieties could have an anti-ulcer protective effect on stomachs infected with H. pylori.

  • Jalapeño and habanero chili peppers are a good source of vitamins as well as they are very high in potassium, magnesium and iron, which in turn, may be effective in protecting against cancer. They contain 357% more vitamin C than an orange: green habanero has twice as much as citrus fruit and red ones have three times more, plus an important amount of provitamin A. Moreover, they are a good source of most B vitamins in particular vitamin B6.

  • All kind of chili pepper powder and fresh habanero chiles may help control food contamination in countries where there is a minimal or even no refrigeration.

Habanero Pepper Dangers and Side Effects

Habanero is one of the hottest peppers known to mankind. If you are used to spicy foods, you may have enough of a resistance that it won't hurt you other than making your mouth tingly and thirsty. Common side effects include burning throat, watery eyes, stomach upset, burning sensation, runny nose. If the habanero is pickled in Vinegar, it will be hotter than if you picked it fresh. And with less flavor. You can decrease any negative effects by drinking milk or eating bread or rice with the pepper to absorb the spicy chemical called capsaicin.

If you are not used to spicy foods it can harm your mouth by causing blisters, extended soreness in your mouth and disabling your taste buds for up to a few days after. Worse harm the pepper can do is if u get it in contact with other parts of your body, it can cause a painful rash on your skin or burn your eyes if you touch them after you touched the pepper.

Capsaicin is a potent oil, but there is no medical evidence that it is dangerous in any amount. The rumor that hot peppers cause ulcers is a myth, and capsaicin actually helps prevent ulcers by helping the stomach build up bile and killing unwanted bacteria. Capsaicin can aggravate preexisting ulcers and digestive disorders, so those suffering from any kind of digestive difficulty should consult their doctor before eating habaneros.

Proceed with Caution

Habaneros have a high level of capsaicin, and the effects of eating a habanero can be extremely painful and euphoric for the uninitiated. The sensation of extreme heat can stay on the tongue for 20 minutes or more. The stomach and intestines can also feel that sensation, and in some cases, stomachaches and digestive discomfort follow.

A high dose of capsaicin can temporarily raise blood pressure and body temperature, so people with high blood pressure or a history of heart attacks should be careful when eating or cooking habaneros.

Capsaicin is an oil that sticks to fingers and can cause serious pain if it makes contact with the eyes or areas of sensitive skin. People who handle habaneros should wash their hands with soap and water before touch any part of their body.

Habanero Pepper Facts

  • Habanero peppers are the World's hottest

  • Habanero peppers come in many varieties

  • Habanero heat can run between 100,000 and 1,000,000 Scoville units

  • Habanero peppers originated in the Caribbean and South America

  • Slow growing tropical plant

  • Shapes range from orange lanterns to small berries to 5" long pods

  • The familiar orange habanero originated on the Yucatan Peninsula

  • Widely used in hot sauces

  • Habanero heat can be unpredictable, but all are very hot

    Nutritional data per 100g dried

    • Alanine - 0.433 g

    • Arginine - 0.508 g

    • Ash - 6.60 g

    • Aspartic acid - 1.512 g

    • Calcium, Ca - 45 mg

    • Carbohydrate, by difference - 69.86 g

    • Carotene, alpha - 994 mcg

    • Carotene, beta - 14844 mcg

    • Copper, Cu - 0.228 mg

    • Cryptoxanthin, beta - 1103 mcg

    • Cystine - 0.203 g

    • Energy - 1355 kj

    • Energy - 324 kcal

    • Fatty acids, total monounsaturated - 0.468 g

    • Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated - 3.079 g

    • Fatty acids, total saturated - 0.813 g

    • Fiber, total dietary - 28.7 g

    • Folate, DFE - 51 mcg_DFE

    • Folate, food - 51 mcg

    • Folate, total - 51 mcg

    • Glutamic acid - 1.397 g

    • Glycine - 0.391 g

    • Histidine - 0.215 g

    • Iron, Fe - 6.04 mg

    • Isoleucine - 0.342 g

    • Leucine - 0.554 g

    • Lutein + zeaxanthin - 5494 mcg

    • Lysine - 0.471 g

    • Magnesium, Mg - 88 mg

    • Manganese, Mn - 0.821 mg

    • Methionine - 0.127 g

    • Niacin - 8.669 mg

    • Pantothenic acid - 0.956 mg

    • Phenylalanine - 0.327 g

    • Phosphorus, P - 159 mg

    • Potassium, K - 1870 mg

    • Proline - 0.460 g

    • Protein - 10.58 g

    • Riboflavin - 1.205 mg

    • Selenium, Se - 3.5 mcg

    • Serine - 0.425 g

    • Sodium, Na - 91 mg

    • Sugars, total - 41.06 g

    • Thiamin - 0.081 mg

    • Threonine - 0.389 g

    • Total lipid (fat) - 5.81 g

    • Tryptophan - 0.135 g

    • Tyrosine - 0.220 g

    • Valine - 0.447 g

    • Vitamin A, IU - 26488 IU

    • Vitamin A, RAE - 1324 mcg_RAE

    • Vitamin B-6 - 0.810 mg

    • Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid - 31.4 mg

    • Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) - 3.14 mg

    • Vitamin K (phylloquinone) - 108.2 mcg

    • Water - 7.15 g

    • Zinc, Zn - 1.02 mg

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