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.
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.)
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.