Learn About the Scotch Bonnet Pepper

Although they frequently appear in other Caribbean recipes, Scotch bonnets are primarily used in Maldivian, West African, Antiguan, Kittitian/Nevisian, Anguilan, Dominican, St. Lucian, Martinican, Guadeloupean, St Vincentian, Grenadian, Trinidadian, Jamaican, Barbadian, Guyanese, Surinamese, Haitian, and Cayman cuisines and pepper sauces. Additionally, Caribbean-inspired dishes including rice and beans, rondón, saus, beef patties, and ceviche are prepared with it in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. Scotch bonnet is also widely used in Maldivian cuisine, where it is known as githeyo mirus. Some types of this pepper can ripen to orange, yellow, peach, or even a chocolate brown. Fresh, ripe Scotch bonnets can shift from green to yellow to crimson red.

What are Scotch Bonnet Peppers

The Scotch Bonnet chili pepper, also known as Bonney peppers or Caribbean red peppers, got its name from the way it looked like a tam o’ shanter hat. Both the Caribbean and West Africa are awash in it. Scotch bonnets have a Scoville heat value of 100,000–350,000, similar to the closely related habanero. On the Scoville scale, the majority of jalapeño peppers fall between the ranges of 2,500 and 8,000. On several of the Caribbean islands, however, cachucha peppers, a fully sweet variety of Scotch bonnet, are produced. These peppers are frequently used in hot sauces and condiments and are used to flavor a broad variety of dishes and cuisines around the world. Just like kosher salt, the Scotch bonnet, gives distinct flavor. It gives jerk meals and other Caribbean cuisine their distinctive flavor, differs from its habanero relative with which it is frequently confused by having a sweeter flavor and a stouter shape.

How Hot Are Scotch Bonnet Peppers?

Although the name seems innocent enough, the scotch bonnet has a lot of punch. It is an extremely spicy chili with the same Scoville heat rating (100,000 to 350,000) as its cousin, the habanero. For a more thorough evaluation of the heat and flavor of the scotch bonnet and the habanero. Let’s contrast that with our jalapeño as a benchmark as well. Scotch bonnets are 12 to 140 times hotter than jalapenos in terms of heat. Furthermore, it is 2 to 12 times hotter than the cayenne pepper you keep in your spice cabinet. That upgrades the heat significantly.

Habanero, Peppers, Habaneros

On the Scoville scale, there are, of course, many chilies that are far hotter than the scotch bonnet. For example, really hot ghost peppers are three to ten times hotter. And Carolina Reapers are often four to twenty-two times hotter. They do, however, lack the same level of spiciness as the currently hottest peppers in the world, although having a lot of heat anyway. In fact, the Scotch Bonnet is sometimes regarded as having the highest level of heat among authentic culinary chiles. It’s a range that’s not for the faint of heart, but it’s also not so scorching that flavor becomes secondary and chronic discomfort is a given.

What Do Scotch Bennet Pepper Looks Like?

This well-known pepper’s name was given to it because of its shape. The pepper’s squashed appearance gives it the appearance of a Tam o’Shanter hat or a Scotsman’s bonnet. Just like that. This pepper has nothing else that makes you think of Scotland, but its name is memorable. Additionally, it goes by the names Bahama Mama, Jamaican Hot, Bahamian, and Martinique pepper.

Scotch bonnets have a flattened “bonnet” appearance and are between one and a half and two inches long. As they mature, they age from green to red and exhibit numerous green and orange colors in between.

What Does A Scotch Bonnet Pepper Taste Like?

This common Scotch bonnet has a tomato-like flavor with a faint apple and cherry undertone, tasting rather sweet. Since the Scotch bonnet and the habanero are related, if you’ve ever tried one, you’ll have a good sense of what to expect in terms of heat from a Scotch bonnet. Simply increase the sweetness.

However, there are numerous varieties of this chili available, including the Tobago scotch bonnet and the scotch bonnet chocolate. These types will slightly differ in spice and sweetness because, like other chilies, the flavor and intensity will adjust to the place and soil in which they are cultivated. The colors will range from orange-pink to chocolate-brown, and some will be more elongated than squat in shape. This pepper has a wide range of culinary possibilities, which makes it interesting to experiment with.

Cooking With Scotch Bonnet Peppers

This hot pepper’s sweetness makes it a favorite chili for Caribbean cuisine and tropical hot sauces. It has a highly distinctive fruity, sweet flavor that many people adore and goes well with Caribbean spices and tropical fruits. You might even add these to your exotic vegetable diet.  For instance, have fresh scotch bonnets on hand to add the most authentic flavor to your Jamaican jerk chicken or pork.

However, its applications stretch far beyond Caribbean cuisine. A scotch bonnet would work well in any recipe where you’d use a habanero. The scotch bonnet may be just as versatile as other hot peppers, adding heat to marinades and cocktails as well.

Ghost Pepper vs. Habanero

  • Looks

Both of these peppers are tiny and have a waxy, smooth texture, yet they differ slightly. A Scotch Bonnet has a diameter of 1.5 inches and takes the form of a bonnet, hence the name. It is visible in vivid red, orange, and yellow, and has four spherical ridges at the bottom. Contrarily, the Habanero is an inch bigger and has an orange-red tint.

  • The History

In reality, the Scotch Bonnet and Habanero are relatives. Both are from the Capsicum Chinese chili plant variety. The Habanero was domesticated in the Amazons, though, and finally made its way to Mexico and South America, where it is most well-liked. The Scotch Bonnet originated in Jamaica and is most frequently found in Caribbean cuisine. Unless you reside in a neighborhood with a significant Caribbean population, the Scotch Bonnet may be more difficult to find than the Habanero in supermarkets.

  • The Heat

The degree of HOT Spicy, on the other hand, has its own scale. Scoville Heat units are employed by the Scoville Scale to measure the spiciness of peppers (SHU). It is a function of capsaicin, the primary phytochemical in peppers that causes their heat. The Scotch bonnet pepper has roughly 445,000 SHU, compared to 260,000 SHU in habanero chili peppers. Not sure if this is hot or not. Jalapeño peppers are only roughly 1000–4000 SHU as a point of comparison.

  • The Food

Because Scotch Bonnet and Habanero chili peppers have slightly different flavors, you can find them in a variety of cuisines. Since the Scotch Bonnet pepper has a fruitier flavor, Caribbean cuisine frequently pairs it with tropical fruits. The whole pepper is used in cooking in Jamaican and Caribbean cuisine because the extra taste is equally as important as the spice. On the other hand, the habanero is frequently diced in Mexican cooking to add an edgy, ideal amount of spice to the dish.