For a number of years we have been growing the sweet and not hot habanada at Westlandpeppers. Officially the chilli or mini pepper was developed in America by Michael Mazourek of Cornell University. But the history of the non-hot habanero is much older, namely when the Texan pepper grower Bill Adams discovered a habanero in the beginning of 1998 that was a lot less spicy. This was the big breakthrough for the sweet habanada. Pepper grower Adams shared those seeds with the Chile Pepper Institue of the New Mexico State University (NMSU), which then carried out tests and further developed the non-spicy habanero. In 2003 they developed the varieties ‘NuMex Suave Red’ and ‘NuMex Suave Orange’ a red and orange habanero, that was not yet completely sweet, but a lot less hot than the normal habanero.
After this discovery, NMSU found other habanero seeds that were not so hot in its own seed banks. They sent some of those seeds to several universities, including Cornell University. There they fell into the hands of Michael Mazourek, graduate student, now associate professor of plant breeding and genetics at Cornell.
Michael Mazourek was attracted to this pepper because of its challenge, but definitely also because of its delicious flavour. He said ‘Habaneros are delicious and I wanted to be able to eat more of them’. By 2008, he had developed the new pepper, which he called the ‘Habanada’. Nada, in this case, means no hotness. The habanada has a jagged zigzag shape and is slightly more elongated than the round habanero. This shape is deliberately selected because of the difference with the traditional habanero. This way it is easier to tell the difference and it is actually a whole new type of pepper.