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Oct 23, 2010 03:03 PM

are they growing mild habeneros now?

I bought a few habanero peppers (at least that's what the supermarket sold them as) and they have less heat than a jalapeno from my backyard. Are they breeding them to tame the heat now like they have done with other peppers?

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  1. I do not doubt that tame habanero are being bred, but there are a couple of close cousins that maybe are being marketed as "habenero".

    1. Yes, The Chile Pepper Institute did it, and these are the results:

      It's a few years since they first developed a tame habanero. They did it without a lot of publicity. One of the guys from the project went to a local (Hatch, NM?) chile eating contest, watched the contestants munch jalapenos with eyes watering, then casually pulled out a habanero and began eating it like an apple. Jaws dropped. He didn't say anything and just sauntered on. The Chile Pepper Institute at New Mexico State University (in Las Cruces) has been hybridizing chiles for ages. Coming up on a century pretty soon, as I recall. Go the the website and browse: TONS of information there. And since you grow chiles, if you're interested it's one of the few places where you can order the dreaded Ghost Pepper seeds, aka bhut jalokia. There's a chile that will make your tonsils withdraw right down into your boots! Get it before they tame it!

      3 Replies
      1. re: Caroline1

        Chile eating contest, Indian style, curtesy of Gordon Ramsay's Great Escape program
        "Anandita Dutta Tamuli attempts to break her 2008 world record of eating 60 Bhut Jolokia. Unfortunately she doesn't succeed but does set another world record for rubbing 24 of them in her eyes."

        1. re: Caroline1

          interesting. So how am I to know if I have one of those *frauds* over the real thing without buying it? I bought some that looked just like the orange ones in that link.

          1. re: bw2082

            Two ways to escape "fraud" come to mind. 1. Grow your own, or 2. Ask the produce manager in your market if you can sample one because you're tired of wimpy habaneros!

            There's an added factor in play here too. Chiles are one of the most varied "fruits" in flavor/strength when it comes to uniformity of taste. You mention growing some chiles for yourself, so you know you can pick two chiles off the same plant growing right next to each other and they can be worlds apart in piquancy. And that's what The Chile Institute at NMSU is all about. They aren't specifically after milder forms of chiles, though that is the result of some of their work. Their original and enduring goal is to try to produce chile plants that provide uniform heat in all of the chiles that come from one plant. Their oldest and earliest and best known project began early last century and resulted in the chiles we call "Ortega" and "Anaheim" and "Hatch" today. They are all the result of trying to get equal flavor and piquancy from chiles off the same plant. If you don't want to grow your own, then asking to sample is probably your best bet.