Jamaica is probably most famous for its Reggae music and outstanding track athletes but it’s also considered home to the fiery Scotch Bonnet chile pepper. From the species of chile peppers native to the Americas, Capsicum chinense, the Scotch Bonnet chile gets its name from the shape of the pepper that with its squashed appearance resembles a Scotman’s bonnet (known as a Tam o’Shanter hat).
The Scotch Bonnet chile is also known as Bahama Mama, the Jamaican Hot, the Bahamian, Martinique pepper, Boabs Bonnet, Scotty Bons, Bonney peppers or Caribbean red peppers. The Scotch Bonnet chile is grown in the Caribbean islands, Guyana, the Maldives Islands and in Uganda (in east Africa).
While there is no strong proof as to where the Scotch Bonnet chile originated it is believed to be native to Central and South America. The habanero chile is often mistaken for or incorrectly sold as the Scotch bonnet chile and while these are very similar looking and closely related they are not the same.
The Scotch Bonnet chile is often compared to the habanero chile, since they are two varieties of the same species but with different pod types (with the Scotch Bonnet having a wrinkled top and a flattened base). Both the Scotch Bonnet and the habanero chiles have a thin, waxy flesh with a similar heat level and flavor. Where the subtle differences lie is the piquancy (pungent taste and flavor) which varies quite a bit between the two.
The habanero has a fruity, apricot-like flavor and a floral aroma. The Scotch Bonnet isn’t quite as hot and is slightly sweeter with a flavor profile that is more reminiscent of tomatoes with hints of apple and cherry while also being slightly smaller. The Scoville Heat Unit (SHU) for the habanero comes in at 150,000 – 325,000 and the SHU for the Scotch Bonnet is 100,000 – 300,000.
The Scotch Bonnet was the first Caribbean chile pepper to become known by its specific name and widely sought after for export. As one of Jamaica's major agricultural exports, the chile is grown in most of the country's fourteen parishes. Jamaica does face numerous challenges with this chile as they are rarely able to meet the high demand for the product in their own country let alone being able to meet the growing international demand for this chile. Our Scotch Bonnets are grown in Uganda.
Scotch Bonnets add flavor to many different cuisines and dishes worldwide and are frequently found in hot sauces and condiments. These chiles are most popular in Barbados Cayman, Guyana, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Suriname, Trinidad and West African cuisine. But it is probably best known for its signature flavor in the Jamaican dishes of jerk chicken and jerk pork.
Our Scotch Bonnet Chile Flakes are the perfect addition to any well stocked kitchen. If you love heat you’ll find yourself adding these to everything from eggs and pizza to numerous rubs, soups and stews.
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