Suave Red (The Smooth Habanero)
Paul Bosland, director of the New Mexico Chile Institute and Eric Votava, a senior research specialist and chile breeder at New Mexico Sate University who did much of the field development of the Suave Peppers describes them as having all of the flavor of a Habanero Pepper but little of the heat. Suave Peppers also have a citrus flavor with an orange-lemony overtone. "You'll feel a sensation of heat more in the back of your mouth and throat, as opposed to a jalapeño where you'll feel the heat on the tip of your tongue and lips," stated Eric Votava in a press release. If the hot habanero peppers are the ying then the sweet aji dulce varieties are the yang. Both grow on the Caribbean Islands, in Yucatan and northern South America and give the special flavors to Caribbean cuisine. The sweet aji dulce peppers are habaneros without the heat. We have grown several kinds of "sweet" habaneros and marketed one briefly in the 1980's. The Suave varieties that are the result of the New Mexico State University's chile breeding program started with seeds sent from a Houston gardener, Bill Adams. There are two Suave types: Suave Red and Suave Orange.
We were impressed with Suave Red. Mild and flavorful, larger and more bell shaped than other habanero types, it lends itself to a variety of culinary uses where the warm, fragrant fruitiness is required. Suave Red is a stable open pollinated line with high productivity. It's a great little pepper. Suave Orange performed poorly for us in 2007 and we weren't able to produce much of a seed crop. Maybe next year. We'll work with some of the seeds of this summers meager harvest. We're also hoping to obtain seed of a yellow aji dulce developed at Texas A&M to evaluate also. By the way, we have quite a blend of hot habanero peppers in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors from our 2006 harvest that we're offering to experimenters. Be careful to give the seeds enough heat during germination, above 75°F and keep them moist but with enough air movement to prevent fungus. They often take more time to germinate that your other pepper seed and once germinated are slow growers. Here on Long Island they really come into their own in late summer producing their largest crop just before frost.
Yasufasa and Pico de Gallo
Yasufasa is the Japanese pepper which is medusa-like. We see that trait used in a number of ornamental peppers and there is that quality in the Yasufasa. We grew a similar kind of pepper many years ago, a kind of roosters claw pepper which was circulating in the Seed Savers Exchange. They also produced upright clusters of spicy hot peppers. With bee crossing, that multi fruiting trait was passed on to some of out small fruited hot peppers including the diminutive Pricky-Nu and Thai Hot. Another pepper, Pico de Gallo or Beak of the Rooster is an old time hot pepper from the southwest which puts on a great show in our Flander's Gardens. It is the one that we prefer to dry as cayenne spice just because we like the ease of drying them and enjoy the flavor in moderation. A winner from Native Seed Search, Pico de Gallo is a bit late but when it starts bearing, it is non-stop. Just standing over these 30" bushes and picking the ripe peppers makes my face feel hot and my nose tingle. It has a heat that "builds".