The habanero is a hot variety of chili pepper. Unripe habaneros are green, and they color as they mature. The most common color variants are orange and red, but the fruit may also be white, brown, yellow, green, or purple. Typically, a ripe habanero is 2–6 cm (0.8–2.4 in) long. Habanero chilis are very hot, rated 100,000–350,000 on the Scoville scale, and were one time considered the world's hottest chilis (they have since been surpassed by several other varieties). The habanero's heat, flavor, and floral aroma make it a popular ingredient in hot sauces and other spicy foods.
The habanero is a South American pepper. It hails from the Amazons region of Peru, but it's really thought of as a Mexican pepper. The Yucatán Peninsula is the biggest producer of habaneros, but it's grown in many South American and Central American countries, as well as the southwestern United States. It is related to the Scotch bonnet pepper; they have somewhat different pod types but are varieties of the same species and have similar heat levels.
This chili pepper is popular fresh in salsas and homemade hot sauces in particular. It's also an excellent pepper to use in Mexican food and to spice up beverages and cocktails. Though remember: A little goes a long way and please wear gloves when handling. Habaneros pair great with sweet dishes and give it that sweet-heat goodness. Many recipes include mangos and habaneros together. The sugar content in the mango mellows the searing heat in the habaneros.