Habaneros. Mama’s favorite.

A good mother never admits she has favorites among her children. Well, I’m going to be a bad mother today. Don’t tell the others, but my favorite babies are the habaneros.

Just look at them. Aren’t they cute? Nice color and shape. Nice compact growth.

04-10-09-7

I knew last year that I wanted to bring little habanero plantlets into the garden. Yes, this was a planned seedling-cy. I even harvested my own seeds from a surrogate habanero. Here she is with a couple prickly pear cactus (also known as nopales which, sadly, they are no longer with us. They died during rooting.)

habanero-and-bunny-ear-cactus

Because I wanted to insure a sucessful outcome, more seeds were implanted than were needed. Then it happened. It took. The seeds were germinating. Out of all the seeds planted, we had 12 healthy seedlings enter the world. They started out slow, but today they’re holding their own.

Habaneros are one of the hottest peppers known to man. They have a Scoville rating of between 100,000 and 350,000. There are only a couple of peppers with more heat than the habanero until you get to pure capsaicin with a Scoville rating of 15,000,000 to 16,000,000. Because of their high capsaicin level, they can be potentially dangerous when eaten or exposed to skin or orifices. Eating the peppers has the added benefit of stimulating your circulatory system.

In warmer climates the plant can be grown as a perennial and will set flowers and fruit as long as its growing conditions are met, which means just a few months for us northerners.

To save the seeds from store bought peppers (the two I bought were way less than a dollar), purchase a fully ripened pepper. Remove the flesh from the pepper leaving the seeds on the stem area. Let dry thoroughly. After they’re dry, remove the seeds from the stem and store the seeds. Plant as you would any other pepper seed.

Remember. It’s important. Imperative even. WASH YOUR HANDS AFTER HANDLING. Or better yet, WEAR GLOVES. It would be too bad if you forgot and touched your eyes. Capsaicin is what’s used to make pepper spray.

Happy Gardening!!!!

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6 Comments

  1. Daphne Gould said,

    April 11, 2009 at 7:44 am

    Yes they are adorably cute, but then I have a weakness for chili peppers. They are all adorable, until you bite into them and they bite back. Cayennes are the strongest that I grow. I think I’d die with a haberano.

  2. engineeredgarden said,

    April 11, 2009 at 10:44 am

    Those are some pretty plants, Cheryl. I don’t grow them, because they are difficult to cook with. (EG has messed up several batches of chili trying to include them) Ha!

    • gardengoodies said,

      April 11, 2009 at 1:57 pm

      I’m growing because my father-in-law cooks with them. He’ll chop one up into little pieces and freeze them. Then he’ll throw a few little pieces into what he’s cooking.

      I’m getting a mental picture of sitting down to a nice bowl of chili, taking a spoonful, and then the habanero hits you. :~)

  3. gardengoodies said,

    April 11, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    Bell peppers are my favorite to eat, but I started the bell peppers after the habaneros, so the habanero plant looks better. I’m willing to see how well plants ship if you’re game.

  4. glen said,

    August 19, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    I have some sort of pest eating the meat off my habaneros just about the time they get ripe. They’ll eat the pepper and leave the seeds and stem. Any ideas?

    • gardengoodies said,

      August 27, 2009 at 7:31 am

      Hi, Glen: (sorry for the late reply)
      I can’t even begin to imagine what that might be. I know you can whiz up the peppers in homemade buy spray and it’s supposed to keep the bug away because of the heat in the peppers. I see where the squirrels pulled a few off my plant, but they didn’t eat them (I found them laying on the ground). I have read that the heat in peppers don’t affect birds, but I can’t really see a bird chowing down on a pepper plant. Sorry I couldn’t give you any better ideas. I hope it was a phase and that your plants are doing all right now.


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