Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Hot Pepper #3 - Hot Paper Peppers

This is the third in our monthly series on the Herb of the Year Capsicum!  This month we picked one with somewhere between 150,000 and 300,000 heat on the scoville scale.  In the habanero grouping, these are a good pepper to grow in northern climates.

Herb of the Week - 
             Hot Paper Lantern Capsicum chinense ‘Hot Paper’

To check out the previous two postings, see these:

The Hot Paper Lantern is a habanero type hot pepper. More productive and larger than regular habaneros, these magnificent, elongated and wrinkled, lantern-shaped fruits are 3-4" long. Bigger than our regular habaneros, but they pack the same mouth-blistering heat. The plants are relatively compact & sprawling compared to other Habanero varieties and produce excellent yields. They ripen from lime green to orange and finally to a bright scarlet red. Known for their short growing season, which makes them great for growing in northern climates, the plants are decorative and pretty, and can even be grown in containers. The plants are strong and vigorous. It grows larger and ripens earlier in the North than regular habaneros. The stem is thin and easily broken making it easy to pick the peppers without damaging the plant. The wall of the pepper very is thin, making them great for drying.

Taste: just as hot as orange habanero, except it has a different sweeter initial taste before the heat kicks in, while the regular orange habanero has a sharper heat that attacks the tongue much faster. Great for seasoning, salsa, hot sauce or roasting.  They are delicious in many dishes, including soups.

To Grow
Unless your home is in an arid sub-tropical state, your habanero seeds are best started inside and then transplanted outside after soils warm. The Habanero Pepper is a member of the 'Chinese' family of Hot Chili's.  Typically the plants grow larger than most other hot Chiles such as the Cayenne or Jalapeno pepper.
Habaneros can be troublesome start out kind of finicky as tiny seedlings. Habaneros will grow into sturdy plants that are robust and strong. Start them indoors 6 to 10 weeks before the last expected frosts. Habaneros take longer to germinate than smaller pepper plants. It is always better to be a little too late to start your seeds than too early. They will catch up with the other plants once they are in the garden.

Planting the seeds in individual spaces in a tray, or in individual cells or pots makes transplanting easier and keeps failures down too.  Keeping the air and soil humid and damp as well as heated is the perfect environment for germination.  Covering the planting areas with a dome or plastic wrap will speed germination and keep the soil moist as needed.

Uncover the seedlings as soon as they emerge and allow the soil to dry for at least a full day in between watering.  Fertilize the seedlings weekly. Transplant time is at about 8 sets of leaves...although a little more or less won't hurt them.

When transplanting outside, dig a whole several times larger than the root system.  About the size of the shovel width is good.  Peppers like sand, so place a hand shovel full of sand and well-rotted manure or aged compost into the hole and mix well. If you have soil that is too sandy, add top soil and cow manure.

According to Pepper Joe, it is good to toss a pack or two of fanned out matches into the hole.  Your Chili plants will love the sulfur. Sulfur is also a great Fungicide and kills harmful bacteria. This creates a Root Zone that is Habanero plant friendly. It enables the roots to spread out and grow quickly getting nourishment as well.

Water the plant extremely well right after transplanting. It helps prevent transplant shock.
At this point your Habanero plants should be off and running. Fertilize every two weeks as needed with a natural fish emulsion.


Remember to introduce your young tender plants to the outdoors slowly and gradually. This process is called 'Hardening off'.  First day for an hour in indirect sun or shade...then add an hour a day and more sun. The best time to transplant your Habanero pepper plants is at night, or better yet on a cloudy and rainy day. The Sun can be harsh on small seedlings.

You can get seeds to grow these peppers from:


Grilled Salmon
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon tequila
1 tablespoon grated lime zest
1 tablespoon minced habanero pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
4 (5 ounce) salmon steaks
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 teaspoons minced habanero pepper
2 teaspoons grated lime zest

In a bowl, stir together vegetable oil, orange juice, 3 tablespoons lime juice, tequila, 1 tablespoon lime zest, 1 tablespoon habanero pepper, and garlic. Reserve a small amount to use as a basting sauce, and pour the remainder into a shallow baking dish. Place the salmon in the shallow dish, and turn to coat. Cover, and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours, turning frequently.

In a small bowl, mix together softened butter, garlic salt, 1 tablespoon lime juice, 2 teaspoons habanero pepper, and 2 teaspoons lime zest. Cover, and refrigerate.
Preheat grill for medium heat.

Lightly oil grill grate, and place salmon on the grill. Cook salmon for 5 to 8 minutes per side, or until the fish can be easily flaked with a fork. Transfer to a serving dish, top with habanero butter, and serve.

Habanero Salsa
This is a variation of regular fresh salsa with the addition of a hot paper pepper. This salsa is not for lightweights.
3 fresh jalapeno peppers
2 onions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 tablespoon white sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
 1 (7 ounce) can diced green chile pepper
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
2 limes, juiced
7 (15 ounce) cans canned tomatoes
1 hot paper pepper, seeded

Roast jalapenos over a grill or gas burner until completely blackened. Seal in a plastic bag or a bowl covered with plastic wrap, and allow to steam until skins are loosened. When cool, remove skin, stem, and seeds.

Place jalapenos, onions, garlic, sugar, salt, and pepper into the bowl of a blender or food processor. Pulse to chop and blend, then pour into a large bowl, and mix with the can of green chiles, cilantro, and lime juice. Pulse the tomatoes in batches to desired size, and add to green chile mixture.

Return one cup of chopped tomatoes to the blender along with the habanero, and puree well. Strain the puree to remove any large pieces of habanero, and add to the tomatoes. Mix well, cover, and chill in the refrigerator at least one hour to allow flavors to blend.


Wikipedia - Habanero

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