Habanero is a variety of chili pepper, and one of the hottest peppers available in the market. Originally cultivated in the Amazon, today, it is widely produced in countries such as Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Belize, Costa Rica as well as some parts of the U.S including California, Idaho and Texas. The Ancient Mayans were believed to have used habanero to prepare many of their dishes.
Unripe habaneros are green in colour, and slowly start developing colour as they mature. Most ripe habaneros have colours that range from reddish to orange. However, you can also find habaneros which are purple, yellow, brown and white. Since habanero has an intensely hot flavour and an almost fruity aroma, it is commonly used as a key ingredient in the preparation of hot sauces as well as spicy dishes.
Many like to roast habaneros in order to enhance their fruity flavour and to mellow their mouth-bursting heat. These peppers are rated between 100,000 and 350,000 on the Scoville heat. To put this into perspective, it means that habaneros are about 150 times hotter than jalapeños. Understandably, they are not generally eaten whole and are instead used as ingredients in making sauces, salsas as well as salad dressings.