September 05, 2010

4 Alarm Habaņero Salsa

I found this salsa to be surprisingly mellow. Mellow like a 4 alarm fire instead of a 5. Habaņero chiles have a well deserved reputation for heat. If you must get technical, there are hotter chiles on the Scoville scale, but the habaņero has a unique, fruity taste and smell, and a burn that starts low and grows until your teeth are smoking. It's actually possible to eat the flesh without extreme discomfort, but watch out for the membranes inside. And God help you if you wipe your eyes even several hours later. So wear gloves. Safety glasses would be a good idea.


Cooking the seeds and membranes will intensify the heat. You can remove them if you are a whiney little crybaby.

I would have tried using all habaņeros if we'd had more. The grape juice isn't entirely necessary, but it adds to the fruitiness of the chile. If you tell your little sister that it's apricot jam, she might believe you for about 4 seconds after she tastes it. And then she will kill you.

  • 7 habaņero chiles, stems removed, coarsely chopped
  • 7 serano chiles, stems removed, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 medium onion, chopped
  • One entire head of garlic, cloves peeled and mashed using the flat side of a large knife
  • The juice of 4 limes
  • 13 cherry tomatoes, mashed
  • One medium sized cluster (a fat handfull) of Bluebell or Concord grapes, mashed and strained

Combine everything and cook, stirring gently to boiling. Simmer 8 minutes. Process with a food mill (fine blade works well), or use a blender if you don't mind a few seeds. You could always strain it. Heat to boiling again and process for storage by whatever method you like. I canned a couple of half pint jars and a bit left over in the fridge. Between the two of us, we could probably finish off a half pint a week. Next year I'll try growing habaņeros and put up pints instead. A lot of them.

Yields 2 cups plus a bit

Recipe adapted and bastardized from:

Bluebell grapes
Posted by Hal Eckhart at September 5, 2010 08:57 PM
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