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One of the hotter pepper varieties, habanero peppers can be used in nearly any recipe that calls for jalapeño if you desire something with more spice. While the pepper skin is edible, you may wish to remove it for salsa and other recipes to make the peppers more tender. Care must be taken when preparing them, as their oil and juice are severe irritants if you get them in your eyes. They may also irritate the skin of some people.
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Preheat an oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit if you are removing the skins. Place the pepper on a broiler ban and cook for six minutes or until the skins begin to blister. Turn the peppers over and cook the other side until they blister.
Fill a shallow bowl with cold water. Place the peppers in the bowl and peel off the blistered skin, which should easily slip from the peppers.
Set the pepper on a cutting board. Cut off and discard the top of the pepper, where the stem is, with a sharp knife. Turn the pepper upside down and shake out the seeds.
Slit the pepper in half lengthwise. Chop each half into small, 1-centimeter squares for use in salsa and other recipes calling for diced peppers.
Alternately, slice the pepper into ¼-inch thick rings instead of cutting it in half. Use the rings as garnish or as a topping on dishes.
Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water to remove all pepper oils once done. Wipe down all work surfaces to remove the habanero oils.
Put on a pair of clean rubber dish gloves. This prevents the pepper oils from getting on your hands while you work.
You can leave the seeds in the peppers if their texture is acceptable in the dish you are preparing. Keep in mind they are often hotter tasting than the actual pepper.
Avoid touching your eyes or mouth while preparing the habanero peppers. The juice will burn if it comes in contact with the skin or eyes.