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Bonnie Jamaican: Scotch Bonnet

This juicy, deceivingly sweet, chilli pepper is the perfect secret weapon to add to your meals. But don’t let its sweetness fool you. Excluding your super hot chillies, this is one of the hottest peppers of the regular market.

Scoville scale (SHUs)

100,000 to 350,000 SHUs

Claim to Fame

Key ingredient in Caribbean cooking including Jerk Chicken

The Scotch Bonnets originated from Jamaica, so is a very popular choice in Caribbean cuisine. It’s a close cousin to the Habanero, with both peppers sharing the same heat levels on the Scoville scale. However, your Scotch Bonnet is sweeter and more often, harder to find out of the Caribbean region.

Where does its name come from?

The chilli itself is most recognisable for its shape: a small, rounded, creased pepper coming to a round point in the middle… something like a pom pom at the top of hat. Think along the lines of a Scotsman’s Bonnet. Hence we have the name! Nothing to do with the region, but a remarkable physical resemblance. Often the pepper is also referred to as the Bahama Mamas, Jamaican Hot, Caribbean Red Pepper to pay tribute to its place of origin.

How hot are we talking?

Scotch Bonnets lie between 100,000 to 350,000 Scoville Heat Units -which lies within the range of a Habanero. That explains why these chillies are cousins. While this is still a killer for the average consumer, the Carolina Reaper, the Hottest Chilli on record, is five times hotter! So for your hardcore chilli heads, this is a small itch to the back of the throat, but for anyone entering the world of spice, be warned.

Is it worth the heat?

Most definitely! If you’re a practiced chilli eater and can make it through the heat, you’ll be rewarded. It has a nice fruity sweet taste, hence their popularity in caribbean cuisine. Traditionally, it is used to season meat, fish and chicken. The Jerk chicken is a Jamaican cooking style where the meat is coated in allspice and Scotch Bonnet peppers, before slowly cooked it over the grill.

In comparison to the Habanero, the Scotch Bonnet is a sweeter choice and will complement tropical fruits and sweet salsas. However, the Habanero wins in international popularity purely because, while still fruity, it is more savoury than the Scotch Bonnet and will better complement more meals.

If you want to reduce the heat, you can cook the Scotch Bonnet whole, so the heat coming from the inner membrane is not directly exposed to the food. Alternatively, you could just remove the seeds and inner membrane. However, the best way to truly enjoy the entire chilli pepper is to try the different strains of the pepper where you can find one suited to your heat tolerance.

The Scotch Bonnet Sweet is truly for those who can’t stand the spice. With absolutely no heat, these small orange peppers have a great fruity flavour.

On the other hand, the Scotch Bonnet Burkina Yellow is on the hotter end of the spectrum. It is a rarer strain, as it comes from an African breed and is fully ripe when it’s a lemon yellow colour.

The Jamaican Scotch Bonnet is used famous for its inclusion in the seasoning for chicken jerk. Similarly, it is quite a hot chilli in the strain, and is a popular choice for many Jamaican meals.

Scotch Bonnet Chocolate has its name because of its colour, not its taste. Once it has ripened from dark green to chocolate brown, you can expect hot and fruity flavours, like the rest of its strain, but with an extra unique smokey savour.
With such a range of options, including over ten other types in the strain to experiment with, you’re sure to find at least one of these chillies to tickle your fancy.

Check out ChilliBOM's Caribbean Hot Sauces in the ChilliBOM Hot Sauce Store

 

Image courtesy of: Temaciejewski via wikicommons

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