Pickled Habañero Peppers, Escabeche

Pickled Habañero Peppers, Escabeche

Here’s a quick recipe for making the most out of late-harvest garden habañero peppers. Pickle in pint jars and then store them in your fridge for up to three months. Of course, as an alternative, you can always bag and freeze them.

Please note that these are not sterilized by hot-canning in boiling water. You MUST refrigerate them or they will spoil. Let them sit a few days in the fridge before using for maximum flavor. This recipe will also work well with fresh jalapeños or other hot chilis. Enjoy!



12-14 sliced habañero peppers with seeds, washed and stemmed.
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tbs. whole tri-color peppercorns
1 large bay leaf – crushed
2 tbs. table salt
2 tbs. white sugar
1 cup filtered water
1 cup apple cider vinegar

1 sterilized Mason pint jar with lid and screw-down ring



Wash the Mason jar, lid and screw-down ring in hot, soapy water. Set aside. Wash, stem and slice the habañero peppers. Set aside.

In a medium heavy stock pot, bring the apple cider vinegar and water to a boil and add the rest of the ingredients. Simmer for five minutes. Remove from heat.

Layer the peppers and brine in the pint Mason jar, ensuring that all of the spices are added. (The brine will amount to a tad more than one pint.)  Pack tightly and fill with brine to 1/4″ from rim.  Seal with the canning lid and screw-down ring.  Wipe down with a damp rag and let sit on your counter to cool for one hour before refrigerating.  AGAIN – this recipe must be refrigerated to avoid spoiling.

Makes 1 pint.

Mike’s Mayan Hot Sauce

Mike's Mayan Hot Sauce | Culinary Compost

This is a hot sauce based on Melinda’s® White Label, which is one of my favorites. Its ingredients and preparation are authentic to the Yucatán province of Mexico. Use caution when blackening the habañeros – your kitchen must be properly ventilated or you will be knocked flat by choking, searing fumes – I would advise preparing them on an outdoor grill in a heavy cast-iron pan instead. You’ve been warned!

Will easily keep for several months in your fridge. May also be used as a dipping sauce in moderation.



10 home-grown habañero peppers, stemmed
1 medium onion, cut into eighths
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into chunks
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tbs. XV olive oil
Crushed black pepper, to taste
1 tsp. salt, to taste
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. ground turmeric (optional)
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 cup red wine vinegar



Stem the habañero peppers. Peel and cut the onion into eighths. Peel the raw garlic. Wash, peel and chunk the carrot and set aside.

Heat a heavy cast-iron pan over medium-high heat with 2 tbs. of olive oil. Add the vegetables and habañero, a pinch of salt and black pepper. Allow to char slightly until lightly carmelized, about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

In a food processor, add the red wine vinegar, lime juice, remaining salt and sugar. Turmeric may be added to brighten the color, but is not necessary. Add the carmelized peppers, onion, carrot and garlic and puree until smooth. If the sauce is too thick, a small amount of cold water may be added.

Extremely hot. Makes a little over 1-1/4 cup.
Bottle and store in your fridge. Allow to set up for 4 hours before serving.

Mike's Mayan Hot Sauce Recipe | Culinary Compost

The habaneros, onion and carrots blackened in cast-iron over medium-high heat.

Mike's Mayan Hot Sauce Recipe | Culinary Compost

Ready for the food processor.

Cast-iron pan blackened habaneros

Safety Outdoors: Cast-iron pan blackened habaneros on a charcoal grill

Salsa de Habañero Yucatan

This is an authentic recipe from the Yucatan province of coastal Mexico. Its assembly is remarkably simple… like fresh salsa should be.

Adjust the ingredients based on your personal heat preference, what peppers you have available and how many guests you wish to torture. Keep in mind that the mighty habanero is one of the hottest peppers on earth, with the active heat compound, capsaicin measuring over 280,000 Scoville Heat Units. By contrast, a jalapeño pepper boasts a wimpy 6000 SHU. Pure capsaicin or “the heat essence” of a chili pepper is benchmarked at 15,000,000 SHU and this is the limit.

Now, after that bit of pyrotechnic introduction, it is pointless for me to stress further the need for extreme caution when handling habanero peppers. I could tell you some interesting stories, but the less said, the better. Use care when preparing them, and for God’s sake, avoid touching the peppers as much as possible or rubbing your eyes or other sensitive areas. Wash your hands with soap, lemon juice or rubbing alcohol afterwards. Your best bet would be wearing food service gloves.  En Fuego!!


8-10 large, fresh green tomatillos (Mexican green tomatoes), husked, washed, cored and fine chopped.
2 jalapeño peppers, stemmed and fine chopped with seeds.
2 habanero peppers, stemmed and fine chopped with seeds.
2 garlic cloves, mashed
1/2 cup spanish onion, fine chopped
1 cup loosely-packed cilantro leaves, washed and fine chopped
1/2 to 1 tbs. salt
Juice from 1/8 lime (wedge)


Tomatillos produce a wonderful lime tasting/colored salsa that is the base for my milder Salsa Verde.

Fine chop the tomatoes with a very sharp knife, but do not puree into a mush.

Place in bowl, adding the fine chopped peppers and spices. Go easy on the salt, and taste often, keeping in mind that the ingredients will blend together over time – so do not overcompensate. Generally, the mix will become hotter if left to stand a bit.

Stir ingredients well and let sit at room temperature for 1/2 hour. If the water content of the tomatoes separates out in the bowl after a while, drain the salsa by placing it in a fine screen basket or colander and then place back into bowl.

The best thing about this salsa is watching the look on your guest’s faces.

Xni-Pec Mayan Salsa

Xni-Pec (pronounced Shnee-Peck) is Mayan for “dog’s nose”; an apt description for the wet nose you’ll have after ingesting this hellish concoction — which has roots going back at least 2,000 years in the Yucatán.


6 habañero peppers stemmed, seeded and minced
3 plum tomatoes, finely diced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup white onion, minced
1/4 cup Seville sour orange juice (naranjas agrias) or equal parts orange and lime juice
Pinch of salt


Combine all the ingredients.
Let sit for 30 minutes at room temperature and serve!
If you want more heat, keep the chili pulp and seeds.

Note: Be extremely careful when handling habañero chilis! Wear proper hand and eye protection.
(also don’t drop or bump the dish or it will explode.)

Makes 1/2 cup.
Heat scale: Incendiary

Wasabañero Chili

East meets west in this rowdy ass-kicker destined to be a favorite.
From Allrecipes.com.


4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
2 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground beef
3/4 pound spicy Italian sausage, casing removed
1 (14.5 ounce) can peeled and diced tomatoes with juice
1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle dark beer
1 cup strong brewed coffee
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
1 (14 ounce) can beef broth
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon wasabi paste
3 (15 ounce) cans kidney beans
2 Anaheim chile peppers, chopped
1 serrano pepper, chopped
1 habanero pepper, sliced


Place 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pot and place the pot over medium heat. Cook and stir the onions, garlic, beef and sausage until meats are browned. Pour in the tomatoes, beer, coffee, tomato paste and broth. Season with chili powder, cumin, sugar, oregano, cayenne, coriander, salt and wasabi. Stir in one can of beans, bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat remaining oil. Cook Anaheim, serrano and habanero peppers in oil until just tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir into the pot and simmer 2 hours.

Stir in remaining 2 cans of beans and cook 45 minutes more.

Makes 8-10 servings.