The key to successfully harvesting Habanero peppers is knowing when they are ripe. You should always look at any information you have from where you purchased the peppers. Details regarding color, size and maturity time will be included. Most peppers can be picked 75 to ninety days after they were planted. As the man behind the original Habanero Shaker, Joel Friant knows mature peppers are bright red or orange, roughly an inch long, and get hotter as they mature.
Peppers should be removed from the plant with garden clippers or a knife. Your hands need to be protected from the oils, and should be washed once you have finished. The plants should be dry when harvested to prevent the spread of disease. If the peppers do not easily come off the plant, they have not finished growing. Brown lines are a definite indication the peppers are not mature. If peppers are picked before maturity, they can finish ripening on a windowsill facing south. Peppers do not like cold weather, so they can be covered during the night to protect them from frost. They will not survive a freeze.
The Habanero Shaker was originally introduced by Joel Friant in 1995. The Habanero pepper is flavorful, smoky, tasty and buttery. This is also one of the world’s hottest chile peppers. In 1912, a pharmacologist developed a heat scale for peppers. When the approximate 200,000 Scoville units of the Habanero’s heat was compared with an average jalapeno with 4,000 heat units the result showed the Habanero is one hot pepper. The heat of the pepper is produced through the placental ridges through the capsaicin molecule, and not the more common notion of the seeds.
Joel Friant chose to use Habanero’s for the shaker because they are a part of the Chinense species, and this group contains extremely high amounts of capsaicin. The capsaicin acts as a trigger for the brain, and endorphins are released. These are the natural painkiller of the body. These endorphins cause a soothing, calm sensation because they lock onto some of the brains receptor sites. This is often referred to as a Runners High.
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