Introducing the "Habanada" pepper: a heatless version of the spicy habanero pepper. It's got all of the flavor with none of the heat!
According to Foodbeast, some researchers at Cornell University decided to help us all out with our pepper issue. That is, more of us might actually enjoy the taste of the pepper if we could taste it without the crazy spiciness that comes along with it. Apparently, the new name adds the word "nada" to the end of habanero to imply that it has "nada" (that's Spanish for "none") of the spiciness. Clever!
This new pepper was created by Dr. Michael Mazourek of Cornell. The University reports that Dr. Mazourek used this experiment as his foray into plant breeding. It apparently took him 13 generations of selection to get his pepper flavor just right. "Though I didn’t know what exactly was going on, I learned as I went,” he said. “As I was changing this pepper, this pepper was changing me."
He began in the field, where he quickly learned that the task he was taking on wouldn't be as easy as he'd imagined. He came up with all sorts of pepper flavors in his journey to find the right one, taste-tasting some delicious peppers and some terrible ones. The habanero is known for its distinct floral taste, although if you're not much for spicy foods, you've probably never recognized that. Many only get to taste the heat, and don't get to enjoy the rest. Hence the reason for this experiment! Dr. Mazourek said few of the peppers he came up with actually featured that distinctness of the original habanero, but he finally got it right!
Since the pepper's debut, the Habanada has become increasingly popular at trade shows, The World Food Expo in Milan, and among chefs in general. Habanadas will be making it to menus all over the country before you know it. Watch for it in an upgraded pico de gallo this spring or completely on its own! As one chef pointed out, “Habanada was simple to showcase: it seems complete on its own.”
I think even chili-haters can find a reason to try this new curiosity. I can't wait!