Bigger than normal habanero heat…
Roatan Pumpkin Habanero fast facts:
- Scoville heat units (SHU): 100,000 – 500,000 SHU
- Median heat: 300,000 SHU
- Origin: Caribbean (Roatan Island)
- Capsicum species: Chinense
- Jalapeño reference scale: 12 to 200 times hotter
- Use: Culinary
- Size: Up to 3 inches long, rounded or conical
- Flavor: Sweet, Fruity, Citrusy
Some habaneros are just monsters among monsters. Like the wicked Red Savina habanero, the Roatan pumpkin habanero punches well beyond its weight class, holding the potential to reach super-hot status within its pumpkin-like shape. Its bigger than normal habanero heat, though, can’t mask the delicious citrusy undertones within this chili. It’s an excellent option for extra-hot sauces and salsas for those that love extreme eats.
How hot is the Roatan pumpkin habanero?
Its floor is that of a common orange habanero, a very spicy 100,000 Scoville heat units (SHU). But unlike those common habaneros that tap out at a 350,000 SHU ceiling, the Roatan pumpkin habanero can reach up to 500,000 SHU. That’s not quite Red Savina habanero level (which has a 577,000 SHU ceiling), but still plenty hot to be considered a super-hot in its hottest iteration. On average, though, the pumpkin habanero averages out into extra hot status (approximately 300,000 – 350,000 SHU), so we place it among the top heat performers in the extra-hot pepper category. In terms of our jalapeño reference point, the pumpkin habanero will be anywhere from 12 to 200 times hotter than a jalapeño pepper.
What does the Roatan pumpkin habanero look like and taste like?
It looks like a plumped-up habanero. The Roatan pumpkin is slightly larger than a typical habanero chili, growing to about three inches in length. While some of them elongate and show the rounded point you expect to see with habanero peppers, most take on a rounded shape. The pepper’s creases along with the rounded shape and orange color (they mature from green to peach to orange), give the chili its namesake pumpkin resemblance.
Like other habaneros, the Roatan pumpkin has a delicious flavor. It’s fruity, near citrusy, that matches up well against the high level of spiciness within the chili.
What are the best uses for this chili pepper?
It works very well with extra-spicy salsas and hot sauces with fruit bases to provide some extreme heat. The natural citrusy flavor of the chili complements fruity salsas and sauces perfectly. You can also use the Roatan pumpkin habanero to spice up soups, stews, and meals, but know: a little sliver will go a very long way for daily cooking. Use in moderation, and like with all extra-hot and super-hot chilies, it’s a must to wear kitchen gloves and even kitchen goggles. The oils in the Roatan pumpkin can cause extreme chili burn if you don’t take caution. Know your options, too, if chili burn does occur during handling.
Where can you buy Roatan pumpkin habaneros?
While common habaneros have begun more mainstream in brick and mortar stores, finding Roatan pumpkin habaneros outside of their native Caribbean home is a challenge. Your best bet is to call a local chili farm to see if they grow these unique chilies.
Otherwise, you can grow them yourself. Roatan pumpkin habanero seeds are available online (Amazon). If you do decide to grow them, consider the space you have. The Roatan pumpkin is a large plant (growing over three feet tall) with larger than normal habanero pods. You’ll want to plant them in a true outdoor garden space or at a minimum within a two-gallon container pot.