Dynamite in a small package
The Scotch Bonnet started as a Chilli in the Amazon basin; after being transported thousands of miles by migrating Indians from South America, found another home in the West Indies. Although widely associated with Jamaica, Scotch Bonnets grow equally well in Grenada, Haiti, Trinidad, Barbados and the Caymen Islands.
Often confused with the Habanero, the Scotch bonnet has a Scoville rating of between 100000 and 400000 SHU. While the Habanero has a similar heat level, at between 100000 and 350000 SHU, there are differences in sweetness, size, and appearance that tell them apart.
The Habanero has a smoky taste with some fruit flavour, while the Scotch bonnet has a sweeter, more tropical fruity flavour. Both are part of the Capsicum Chinense species, but the Habanero is bigger than its cousin, and the Scotch bonnet has a squashed appearance. While being found in many colours, the commonest for the Scotch bonnet are red, orange or yellow.
Its name comes from its similarity in shape to the Scottish “Tam o shanter “hat, also known as the “Scottish Bonnet”. It has its home in the West Indies, where it is most definitely the preferred hot pepper in Carribean cooking for making local favourites like Jerk Chicken, Goats Curry and a variety of the famous West Indian sauces.
While not quite the most suitable environment to grow Scotch bonnet Chillies – they prefer a hot tropical climate – it is possible to grow them in the UK. Provided they are kept warm with lots of sunshine – preferably in a greenhouse – they will, in time, produce a crop. Because hotter Chillies often have a longer growing season before they bear fruit, it is a good idea –although not that easy – to overwinter the plants to produce their crop in a second season.
It can be used as a substitute for Habeneros or other hot Chillies like the Ghost pepper or Caroliner reaper. Similarly, it can be substituted by these Chillies in recipes. When using Ghost peppers and Carolina reapers. However, cut down how much you use, because these Chillies are so much hotter
Definitely one of the hotter Chillies in the spectrum; this beauty is something to be adored and appreciated!