Sunday, November 11, 2012

Habanero Chile Peppers

Here's a first...habanero peppers. I've never purchased these before and was a little put off that they didn't look more menacing. But I guess they're like those exotic frogs - beautiful to us but a warning to predators.

They're pretty small, just a little bigger than garlic cloves. They look like super tiny bell peppers when halved.

The seeds and veins come out very easily with just the tip of a paring knife.

Handling these peppers and then rough chopping them left my bare hands like firestarters. My hands didn't notice the heat but any other part of my body sure did. There's a good reason it is suggested you wear gloves. I didn't think the eye I'd rubbed 2 hours after this prep and multiple hand washings would ever be the same. 

Habanero's compared to (clockwise) ginger, garlic, scallions, and shallots.

Checking out the Larousse for peppers, I was directed to "capsicum" or poivron et piment. While habanero's didn't get a mention specifically, I did find a couple of tid-bits about peppers interesting:
Belonging to the same family as the tomato and aubergine (eggplant), they were discovered by Christopher Columbus in America and described by botanists at the beginning of the 16th century; they soon spread through Europe and the rest of the world. 
Specifically about "Chilli peppers" (piments):
The seeds and flesh are extremely hot and should be used sparingly. By removing the seeds, the pepper is rendered less fiery. Chilli peppers soaked in cold salted water for a while will be less hot. They can also be charred like sweet peppers to give them a delicious smoky flavour. It is not, however, necessary to skin them before use.

The explorer Magellan introduced chilli peppers to Africa and Asia. 
Habanero peppers, available at Grower's Direct for about $3 a pound or $0.15 for two.