HABANERO AND MANZANO CHILES

Capsicum annuum is the species to which all Mexican-grown chiles belong, except for habaneros (Capsicum chinense) and manzanos (Capsicum pubescens).
The habanero comes from the Amazon basin, from which it spread to Venezuela and the Caribbean (Jamaica), where it developed different hues. It may have come to Mexico via Cuba in the nineteenth century, at that time present largely in the Yucatán. There is no name for habaneros in Maya, but that has not stopped them from becoming an essential ingredient in the region’s traditional cuisine.
The chile is formed not unlike a children’s top; fresh and tender it is green; as it ripens, it changes to yellow or orange; aroma and flavor change in addition to color. Among chiles grown and consumed in Mexico, it is considered to the spiciest.
Years ago it was found only in the Yucatán; today cultivation and consumption are on the rise in other parts of the country. Yucatán state enjoys designation of origin (DOC) status for habanero chiles and thus it is the largest producer, followed by regions such as the Northern Highlands (San Luis Potosí), the Central and Southern Gulf regions and Mexico’s Southern Highlands (Chiapas).
Most habaneros are produced for fresh consumption; a smaller percentage goes to industrial salsa processing; the remainder are used for seed harvest.
In traditional Yucatecan cuisine, habaneros are eaten fresh. Sliced or chopped, they are combined with other ingredients to make salsas; roasted and ground, they are used in extremely spicy salsas; both preparations are used as garnishes for different antojitos and other emblematic Yucatecan dishes.
Manzano chiles come from the Andean region of South America and reached Mexico in the early twentieth century, where they found acceptance in the Central Plateau region (Mexico State and Michoacán) as well as the Southern Highlands (Chiapas). The greatest production and consumption occurs in these regions, where manzanos are prepared in a similar fashion to habaneros, or are blended with spicy pickled vegetables.
A unique characteristic of the manzano are its black seeds and wrinkled appearance, and a shape not unlike a small apple; when fresh its color is green, and as it ripens it turns red, yellow or orange. They are quite spicy, second in piquancy only to habanero chiles.
The manzano chile receives different names depending its area of cultivation and/or consumption, specifically ciruelo chile (in Querétaro), perón chile or cera chile (in Michoacán), manzano chile (in Mexico State) and cera chile (in Veracruz and Guerrero), etc.

Recipes

Frijol con puerco
Papadzules
Tikin xic fish