Bite into a typical habanero pepper, and you can expect a wave of heat to rush over you. The pepper hits 300,000 on the Scoville scale, which measures the capsaicin, or heat in a pepper. To put that in perspective, a bell pepper scores a zero, and a banana pepper rings in between zero and 500, while a Carolina Reaper, the hottest pepper in the world, hits 2 million. The heat of a habanero is intense, but a relatively new breed of the pepper proves it doesn't have to be, NPR reports.
"When [diners] question things they know to be absolute—habanero equals intense heat—it gets them to think about eating in a different way," Dan Barber, the chef and owner of Blue Hill, where he serves the heatless habaneros, says.
The new pepper, known as a Habanada, comes from researcher Michael Mazourek who crossbred a modern habanero with an older variety, which had no heat but didn't taste appealing. "After a couple more generations we started to get some non-hot but aromatic peppers," Mazourek explains. The final result is a pepper that is floral, with some describing it as having notes of citrus or guava.
Been waiting a looong time for this @culinarybreedingnetwork !! @gatheringtogetherfarm "Habanada's" !! All the habanero flavor. None of the heat. So good. Like eating chili flowers. ❤️. Pickling for ceviche at our next Oyster Social @tournantpdx (First Friday. October 7th!) #pdxoystersocial #habanada #habanero #
For the moment, the peppers are available only in restaurants or to people who grow them in their own backyards. Ark Foods, the company that popularized the now-common shishito peppers in the U.S., is the only commercial grower. If the Habanada follows in the shishito's footsteps, you may start seeing it everywhere in years to come.
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