Habanero Simple Syrup

A few years ago we planted a jalapeño plant and a habanero plant. Unfortunately, our apartment didn't get enough light and the plants never flowered. They just sat in our living room, depressed.

Until we moved into an apartment with a yard, that is. All of the sudden, our plants were forced into the sunlight and man did they go crazy. Before we knew it they were huge, growing four or five times larger in a span of weeks. Shortly after, came the flowers and then, at long last, the fruit.

When the plants started fruiting something peculiar happened. The habaneros looked like habaneros but the jalapeños looked... like habaneros. Suddenly, we had dozens of very, very spicy habaneros to deal with.

This past weekend I waged preservation war on the crop. I made jam, sorbet, pickles, and simple syrup, gloating with each pepper I used. The thing I am most excited about is the simple syrup. I can't wait to try it in mojitos, margaritas, or bloody marys. Just think of the possibilities of adding a touch of spice to a cocktail — as long as you warn your guests first!

IMAGE: habeneross2.jpg IMAGE CREDIT: E. Rosemond-Hoerr

Habanero Simple Syrup

1 habanero
2 cups sugar*
2 cups water

*I used cane sugar (which is why the syrup is brown), but feel free to use white sugar for a clear syrup.

In a nonreactive saucepan heat water and sugar. Take your habanero (carefully) and use a knife to slice short slits in all four sides. Place in pan. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly.

Stir the mixture frequently as the sugar dissolves. Once the syrup has become transparent, remove it from the heat and transfer everything, including the pepper, in a jar. Screw the lid on tightly.

Allow to return to room temperature and then store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Love habaneros? Try some of these delicious recipes!

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What's your favorite recipe for hot peppers? Chime in below!

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