What You Never Knew About The Scotch Bonnet Pepper

Mar 21, 2016 by

What You Never Knew About The Scotch Bonnet Pepper

If you’ve ever had Jamaican food or traveled to Jamaica you’ve probably tasted, or at least heard about, scotch bonnet peppers. They’re a major part of Jamaican and Caribbean cuisine, and if you want to consider yourself a real food expert, you need to know about the delicious potential of scotch bonnets.


What is it?

The scotch bonnet pepper is Jamaica’s favorite source of spice. It looks short and squat, almost like a tiny bell pepper, but it has a lot of character packed into that small frame.

Scotch bonnets were originally imported from West Africa during the trans-atlantic slave trade during the colonial era. They’re featured in a lot of different dishes, and form the spicy core of the Caribbean’s world famous jerk seasoning. Today they form not only the backbone of Jamaican flavor, but also serve as a reminder of Jamaica’s and the rest of the Caribbean’s African heritage and the hardships they’ve overcome.


How Hot is it?

The scotch bonnet pepper isn’t the hottest pepper in the world, but it’s still considered “very spicy” by all but the most extreme spice fans. On Scoville’s heat scale, the scotch bonnet ranks similarly to the habanero, perhaps just a bit hotter. It’s because of this that a lot of Jamaica is considered a generally spicy food culture.

That means a single scotch bonnet holds the same amount of capsaicin burn as about 15 Jalapenos.


How Do I use Scotch Bonnet Peppers?

There are several different ways to eat scotch bonnet peppers. First, and most obviously, is via hot sauce. Hot sauce goes well with just about everything, and if you think Tabasco is a little too weak for you, then scotch bonnet pepper sauce might be for you.

Next would be pulped or ground pepper that’s used to make jerk seasoning. Jerk seasoning is a mixture of delicious spices and peppers that’s used primarily to prepare meats or fish for barbeque.

Last, but not least, is infusion. A lot of Jamaican cooking incorporates scotch bonnets without actually containing any. The pepper is placed in a pan with the other ingredients and allowed to leach out into the dish during the cooking process. It’s then removed before serving, giving the whole dish a nice even toasty burn.