Scotch Bonnet peppers are favored and most commonly used in regional Caribbean cuisine because they are hot pepper— very hot. It grows on a plant that develops quickly and first produces flowers, then fruit. Scotch bonnet peppers are sometimes labeled as "hot peppers" or "large peppers" in supermarkets and stores.
What Is A Scotch Bonnet?
Scotch bonnet peppers are a variety of capsicum, which belongs to the plant family that contains all chili peppers and is also known by the names Bahamian goat peppers, Bonney peppers, or Caribbean red peppers.
The name of this particular pepper, which is indigenous to the Caribbean, comes from the way it resembles a tam o' shanter hat from Scotland. The "bonnie Scotland chilli" is another name for the scotch bonnet.
A surprising fact about scotch bonnets is that they are not always red. Other colors for this pepper include yellow, orange, and even chocolate brown. However, the color of the pepper has little effect on its spiciness; all scotch bonnets are very spicy.
How Hot Are Scotch Bonnet Peppers?
Although the name seems harmless enough, the scotch bonnet has a lot of punch. Like the habanero, it's a super-hot chili with 100,000–350,000 Scoville heat units.
The scotch bonnet is anywhere from 12 to 140 times as hot as a jalapeno. Additionally, it has a heat level that ranges from two to twelve times that of regular cayenne pepper.
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. So, while they have a lot of heat, they don't have the spiciness of the world's hottest peppers.
Cooking With Scotch Bonnets
This hot pepper's sweetness makes it a favorite for Caribbean cuisine and tropical spicy sauces. It has a highly distinctive fruity, sweet flavor that many people adore and goes well with Caribbean spices and tropical fruits. For example, have fresh scotch bonnets on hand for the best authentic taste in your Jamaican jerk chicken or pork.
However, its applications go far beyond Caribbean cuisine. A scotch bonnet would work well in any recipe where you'd use a habanero. The scotch bonnet can be used in a variety of dishes, including extra-hot salsas, sour marinades, and even as a cocktail ingredient.
Where Can You Buy Scotch Bonnet?
Scotch bonnet peppers are mainly found in the Caribbean, however, this one may be found growing on the shore of Jamaica. If you live in a region with a high Caribbean population or are near a higher-end store, you may be able to purchase these chiles at supermarkets. If so, you might need to look into what's available at nearby farmer's markets and chili farms. Of course, there are lots of related things you can purchase online, like scotch bonnet seeds, dried chiles, spicy sauces, and more.
Let me clear you up, scotch bonnets are more expensive than jalapeno peppers, costing several times as much.