Published on May 7th, 2014 | by Rachel Budke1
Fresh Habanero Salsa
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – I love spicy food! The more it hurts, the better. But considering how much I love heat, I’ve actually never cooked with habanero peppers before! If you’re not familiar with habanero peppers, they are basically jalapeño’s very spicy cousin! To give you an idea of their heat content, we can look at the ratings on the Scoville scale. The Scoville scale measures the heat of chili peppers, and the higher the number, the hotter the pepper. The unit given to these values is simply names Scoville Heat Units (SHU).
To give you a reference point, on the Scoville scale, a bell pepper measures zero. This is not surprising, because they don’t have any heat. Jalapeño peppers are given a value of around 4,000-8,000 SHU. Habanero peppers, which are the peppers that give this salsa it’s kick, measures around 100,000-350,000 SHU. Now that is spicy!
Since the peppers have so much heat, make sure you use caution when cutting and touching them. Make sure you wash your hands immediately after, and be very carefully that you don’t touch your face or rub yours eyes. You might find it helpful to use rubber gloves while dicing your habanero, just to be sure you don’t have any mishaps.
Now onto the fun part, the actual recipe! When I was making this salsa, I wanted something simple and fresh tasting. In my Food Processing class that I took this semester, we had a lab where we made and canned salsa. It tasted okay, but it was missing the fresh taste that I love to have in salsa. There were also lots of ingredients that I didn’t find necessary – sometimes it’s best to keep it simple. Dad, you were right all along! :)
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 6 medium tomatoes
- 1/2 small onion
- 1 habanero pepper
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Start by mincing your garlic. Make sure you mince it into equal sized pieces, as you don't want to bite down into a big piece of garlic. If you want to make your garlic as smooth as possible, top it with salt and use the side of your knife to crush the garlic into a paste.
- Cut the tomatoes in half and scoop out the seeds. Dice them into medium to small sized pieces.
- Finely dice the onion. Again, make sure the pieces are consistent in size so that the flavors of the salsa are mixed together well.
- Cut the top off of the habanero pepper, and mince the pepper finely. Do your best not to touch the pepper a lot, or you could use rubber gloves. Once you have the pepper minced into very small pieces, wash your hands.
- Squeeze the juice of one lime into the salsa. Taste and adjust the amount of lime and salt accordingly.
- Keep in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
If you are wanting a smoother salsa, you can throw it in a blender or food processor. While chopping isn’t as important in this case, make sure you give everything a little dice before hand. You don’t want to bite down onto a whole habanero!
Happy salsa making, fire-eaters! :)