When people speak of peppers hot enough to melt your face off, there's a good likelihood that they are talking about the Habanero Chile. The fresh Habanero is small, round, and bright green to orange in color and is native to the Caribbean, the Yucatan and the northern coast of South America, but is grown throughout the world.
Beloved by chile-heads for its intense and lingering heat, the Habanero Chile packs between 200,000 and 300,000 Scoville heat units--that is 10 times hotter than the jalapeno! A little Habanero chile goes a long way, and we remind you to wash your hands carefully after handling this incendiary spice.
Habanero chile has a nice fruity flavor that accompanies its intense heat. In Mexico, some tequila or mezcal is infused with Habanero chile for a spicy drink base. We have even seen Habanero Chile as an ingredient in desserts such as Bananas Foster. Add a little to fresh salsa [think: fruit or tomato], sauces, chili and anywhere else you want to spark a 4-alarm fire!
Note: The Habanero Chile had long been considered the hottest chile available for culinary use. [In 2007, the poor Habanero lost its "hottest" title to the Indian Ghost Chile, which, at one MILLION Scoville units, is dumbfoundingly three times hotter than the Habanero].
Relatives to the Habanero Chile include Red Sevina, Manzana, and Scotch Bonnet peppers.