All the flavor with none of the heat: Genetically tweaked orange habanero pepper all the rage

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Cornell plant breeder Michael Mazourek created the Habanada as part of his doctoral research. He got the idea after discovering a rogue heatless pepper whose genetics behaved very differently from a naturally sweet pepper like the Bell. Courtesy of Baldor Foods

For Dan Barber, the celebrated chef of the New York City restaurant Blue Hill, each course of a meal is an opportunity to tell a story. One of these stories is about a pepper — an aromatic, orange habanero without any heat.

Blue Hill is the biggest buyer of these peppers, also known as “Habanadas,” …. The story Barber hopes to tell with these chiles is that all foods — from apples to yams — were created through a series of conscious decisions. Some plants thrive because of their disease-resistance, growing conditions, or high yields; for others, it’s taste that has caused their popularity. Behind each of the foods we take for granted as finished products are tens or hundreds of generations of genetic tinkering and selection.

The man behind the Habanada is a Cornell University plant breeder named Michael Mazourek…. He got the idea after discovering a rogue heatless pepper whose genetics behaved very differently from a naturally sweet pepper like the Bell. This pepper had somehow lost whatever made it spicy in the first place.

Their parent pepper, the original heatless variety, “tasted pretty bad,” Mazourek recalled, “so we cross-pollinated it with a habanero, and after a couple more generations we started to get some non-hot but aromatic peppers.”

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: This Heatless Habanero Packs All Of The Flavor With None Of The Burn