Updated: Dec 31, 2020
Get to Know the Star of El Yucateco’s Hot Sauces
By Chelsea Vincent
Chances are, if you’re reading this, you dig peppers. You like a little spice in your life, and you’re a lover of enjoying your foods – and drinks – with flavor and fire, from mild to max. But how well do you know habaneros?
The habanero pepper, aka the star behind El Yucateco’s delicious hot sauce flavors, has a special place in our hearts. And thanks to these fun facts for your mind, you’ll also have some new talking points the next time you’re enjoying some dip between game day commercials.
1. Habanero Heat Comes from Capsaicinoids
Like all other members of the chili pepper family, habaneros contain capsaicinoids, which is why mammals feel a burning sensation when we eat peppers. And because peppers can range in how hot they are when ingested, there is even a scale to measure their power – Scoville Heat Units. Habaneros come in near the top of the list, as far as heat is concerned.
We even taste different capsaicinoids differently, and it’s been observed that habaneros provide a delayed, very hot burning sensation at the back of the throat which lingers. Guess we’re gluttons for (yummy) punishment?
2. Eating Habaneros May Help with Diseases
Thanks to capsaicin, a compound found in habaneros, there are some serious health benefits you might be enjoying without even realizing them.
Eating habaneros may help combat health issues for those dealing with diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, obesity, or even ulcers. Promising rodent studies showed strong support for these claims, and further testing with humans could prove that these peppers are fierce tools for our health.
Just enjoy your capsaicin in moderation (at least in high concentrations), as too much capsaicin can wreak havoc – thus the reason it’s used in pepper spray.
3. Habaneros are High in Vitamin C
While you may typically turn to citrus fruits, like oranges and lemons, when you’re feeling out of sorts, adding a little habanero pepper may be as effective in boosting your immune system. As it turns out, habaneros are high in vitamin C, aka ascorbic acid, which is a powerful antioxidant.
Who knew peppers could boost your health and your skin? The next time you need a little extra healing help, perhaps try adding a couple of drops of El Yucateco to some ginger tea. Hooray for spicy-yet-stealthy home remedies!
4. Habaneros Are Mostly Grown in Mexico
While habanero peppers are now enjoyed in various products globally, they are grown predominantly in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Most folks now think this is where these peppers got their start, although they are named after La Habana (what we call Havana), Cuba, due to the fact that they had an extensive trading history there.
Thanks to the growth of global trade, these little fireballs have immigrated from the hot climates where they are grown up to North America, Europe, and Asia. They are now important elements of many cultural dishes, both Mexican-inspired and beyond.
So the next time someone judges you for putting some El Yucateco on your barbecue, let them know that there’s a lot more to habaneros than meets the eye.