The Scotch Bonnet pepper is one of the spicier peppers around with 100,000 to 350,000 Scoville Heat Units. By comparison, it is 40 times hotter than the jalapeno pepper. It is found mainly in the Caribbean where it adds a spicy sweetness pickled vegetables, garnishes, sauces, and jerk rubs. This is THE pepper of the region and if you say you want a hot pepper in most of the Caribbean islands, the Scotch Bonnet pepper is what you are handed.
The shape of this famous pepper is what inspired its name. With its squashed appearance, it looks like a Scotsman’s bonnet (a Tam O’ Shanter hat). Simple as that. It has other names, too, including the Bahama Mama, the Jamaican Hot, the Bahamian, and the Martinique pepper. It should be noted, however, that there are even hotter peppers in the Caribbean, mostly from Trinidad and Tobago, that are at least two-to-three times spicier on the Scoville Scale..
Before the invention of the Scoville Heat Units scale, gauging a pepper’s heat was an adventure in pain. A pepper’s heat is scientifically ranked by Scoville Heat Units (SHU) that measures the concentration of capsaicin (the active compound responsible for spice). The SHU ranges from zero up into the millions, each one representing how many cups of sugar water it would take to dilute a cup of the spice to a neutral spiciness level. For example, a cup of jalapeño takes between 2,500 and 8,000 cups of sugar water to neutralize the spice, so it’s SHU is 2,500 to 8,000.
Honey-Mango Scotch Bonnet Hot Sauce
- Food Processor or blender
- 6 Scotch bonnet or habanero peppers, stemmed
- 2 cups Mango cubes, frozen
- 1 cup Red onion, chopped
- 2 tbsp Honey
- ½ tsp Ground allspice
- 1 tsp Mustard powder
- ⅓ cup Vinegar, coconut or white
- Kosher salt
- Place all ingredients except vinegar and salt in a blender or food processor. Pulse to break down the ingredients. Add vinegar and a pinch of salt and puree until smooth. Put in jars and place in refrigerator for up to 2-3 months or more.