What do I do with a whole mess of habaneros?
August 12, 2006 10:40 AM   Subscribe

What to do with a plant full of habaneros?

So in hindsight, I don't think buying a habanero plant in May was such a good idea. I've got a plant full of vibrant orange habaneros, but I think they are too hot to do anything with them... aside from using one at a time to marinate fish or chicken. Does anybody out there have any good ideas for what I might use all these ridiculously hot peppers for?
posted by cusack to Food & Drink (23 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You can make hot sauce with them and give it at Christmas. They are the TNT of chilis, so handle them with care.
posted by wsg at 10:45 AM on August 12, 2006

Make some seasoning for potato chips.
posted by beerbajay at 11:04 AM on August 12, 2006

One habanero will make a dish of fish or chicken extremely hot. You might want to start with 1/4 of one of them, unless you're familiar with them and like really hot food.
posted by alms at 11:05 AM on August 12, 2006

Give 'em away. I'm sure some of your friends/family/neighbors wouldn't mind a few.

A Google search for "Habanero recipes" turned up a fair amount of stuff.

Be careful of your eyes. A friend of mine got a little bit of juice from a jalapeno in his eye, and said it hurt for days. I can only imagine what the juice from a habanero would do.
posted by fogster at 11:07 AM on August 12, 2006

Best answer: My friend in Nashville uses them to make a KILLER chicken marinade/rub. He fills up jars with habanero peppers and tequila, then seals them up for a couple of months. The liquid is then drained for use as chicken marinade; he usually soaks the chicken parts (wings, typically) for several hours, sometimes overnight. The squishy remaining solid is mashed up into a rough glaze to be applied onto the grilling chicken as it cooks. Other stuff like garlic and cinnamon are added into the jars on occasion (I have never been around when the specific concoction was being prepared), but it's basically habanero and tequila and salt.

I have eaten at least 3 meals per day for about 38 years now, so I consider myself somewhat of an expert at eating. In those 38 years of eating, I have never before nor since eaten better grilled chicken than this. That said, as you may imagine, it could possibly be the hottest chicken you ever eat. If I ever do this at my home, I am going to add some honey into the paste before we glaze the grilling chicken with it.
posted by dontrockwobble at 11:07 AM on August 12, 2006 [12 favorites]

Make jelly
posted by hortense at 11:13 AM on August 12, 2006

Response by poster: dontrockwobble, this is an interesting idea, similar to wsg's hot sauce idea... do you think I could fill small mason jars with a couple habaneros and tequila and expect them to keep until Christmas? I would assume the alcohol might prevent spoilage... or would I have to go through the proper canning methods? Especially if I mixed in some honey and garlic... that could be an awesome little treat.

Oh, what about the salt? I am guessing a lot of it?
posted by cusack at 11:23 AM on August 12, 2006

Jamaican Jerk Chicken mmmmm
posted by caddis at 11:35 AM on August 12, 2006

posted by caddis at 11:37 AM on August 12, 2006

Salt is a key ingredient. If you look at a bottle of Tabasco, you'll see three ingredients: vinegar, dried chilis and salt, in that order.

My current favorite hot sauce is Dave's Hurtin' Habanero. It's spicy, but not nuclear and has an excellent flavor, beyond the heat. Looks like they use red chilis to cut the habanero fire a bit. Here are the ingredents in order: water, red chili puree, onion, habanero puree, white wine vinegar, garlic, spices, salt and ganthan gum (as a thickener).

Be creative.
posted by wsg at 11:44 AM on August 12, 2006

Response by poster: Big fan of the jerk stuff, I like to toss a habanero in with some marinating chicken parts, or a big pot of peas and rice... I really like the idea of making a marinade/sauce, but using tequila to "sterilize" it... if i could get away with that, without having to properly can it, that would be the ish.
posted by cusack at 11:47 AM on August 12, 2006

I love jerk seasoning, also. You could make the seasoning, can it and give it away. That way it can be used in anything, not just chicken.

This recipe looks great!

Here's another:

posted by wsg at 11:56 AM on August 12, 2006

That second link is wrong. Here's the correct one.
posted by wsg at 12:11 PM on August 12, 2006

Habanero vodka.
posted by sanko at 1:05 PM on August 12, 2006

Combine with other peppers (and possibly onions), finely minced, and stick it in the freezer. It's easy to pull a little bit out to add spice to whatever you're cooking.
posted by moira at 1:12 PM on August 12, 2006

Habenero oil? Long, but pleasant to read.
posted by calistasm at 1:16 PM on August 12, 2006

Yes, preserve it as a sauce or jelly or something. And for goodness sake wear gloves while you're working with the peppers.
posted by Nelson at 2:28 PM on August 12, 2006

Roast, chop, and freeze 'em:

1. Split each hab lengthwise and pull out the seeds and pulp. (As noted by previous posters: do NOT get juice in your eye during this step. Also do not get juice on your fingers and then forgetfully rub your eyes. It is not overkill to put on plastic goggles and a pair of disposable rubber gloves when handling habanero peppers.)

2. Put the habs on a cookie sheet and stick them under the broiler until slightly scorched and beginning to soften.

(You can also do this on an outdoor grill if you have one, or stab the pepper with a fork and turn it in the flame of a gas burner if you have a gas stove. The idea is to get the peppers to the point where they have some black spots on the skin.)

3. Peel off the skin, which should separate easily from the roasted pepper. (See note above re gloves.)

4. Chop roughly in a food processor or by hand.

5. Put in a ziploc bag and press the chunks into a flat mass, then freeze.

5. Throughout the next eight months or so, periodically open the bag, break off a chunk of roasted-hot-pepper goodness, and add to random dishes ad libitum.

Roasting mellows the flavor without taking away the heat...hard to describe exactly what it does, but it complexifies the hotness somehow. Freezing them in the flat-ziplocked form factor makes it easy to use a small amount, and they don't take up much space.
posted by jaed at 2:53 PM on August 12, 2006 [2 favorites]

habenaro (sp.) and mango sauce is nice and makes the chilli much more palatable
posted by singingfish at 4:09 PM on August 12, 2006

my father makes an incredible smoked habanero salsa. If you want the recipe just send me an email (it's in my profile).
posted by nadawi at 4:29 PM on August 12, 2006

nadawi - that sounds yummy, please post it here for all to see, well at least me. Jalapeño, Habanero and Chipotle are my most favorite peppers and any recipe or use with them tickles my interest. I think they rock for their heat (well for real heat the Habanero has no competition in this list), but mostly for their flavor. They all marry well with other foods and add not just a bit of heat but distinctive flavor. Roasted Habaneros sound like they would be tasty.
posted by caddis at 11:49 PM on August 12, 2006

jaed has it right. Freezer them. You don't even have to roat them first. They hold up pretty well in the freezer for a while. I think once you do freeze them you may find that your best bet is to puree them for any recipes you may want to make with them.

Otherwise, make some sort of salsa or hot sauce. If you use something as acidic as tomatoes whatever you make will last a while in the fridge.

I am salivating thinking about yummy habaneros right now.
posted by terrapin at 9:41 AM on August 13, 2006

Sorry it took so long to come back to this.

My father says that he used the Ball Canning Recipe Book. It's usually near all the canning stuff in a grocery store. He used the Red Hot Salsa recipe and instead of the peppers they suggested he used roasted habaneros. It's still a bit too hot to use as your main salsa so he's experimenting with using some habanero and some roasted bell pepper. I suggested he add a little brown sugar to the mix.

He also told me that he roasts the peppers and then grinds them to make a powder for seasoning.
posted by nadawi at 12:37 PM on August 22, 2006

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