Jamaican (Chile) Scotch Bonnet Pepper
Scotch Bonnet Pepper is widely used to season many different dishes and cuisines by Jamaican Chefs and households. Scotch bonnet peppers give Jerk Pork, Jerk Chicken and Jerk Fish their unique flavour.
Jamaican delicacies like curried goat, stews, soups, rice and peas and other everyday meals such as patties (a meat filled pie) and peppered shrimp: are all enhanced by the incredible flavour of Scotch bonnet peppers.
Peppers were commonly used, in the period before refrigeration became commonplace, as an effective preservative for meats. It is this need to preserve the meat of wild Boar that started the preparation of “Jerk Pork” at Boston Bay in Portland, Jamaica. This was a localized dish for decades, and eventually spread across Jamaica in the 1970s and 1980s. Jerk Chicken and Jerk Fish, are relatively recent developments and came with the spread of the ‘Jerk’ phenomena across Jamaica. Now “Jerk” is known all around the world.
Jamaican Scotch Bonnet Pepper turns yellow when ripe. When the pepper is turned upside down the shape, resembling the bonnet or headdress worn by Scottish men: thus, the name, Scotch Bonnet. The shape is sometime referred to as “Cup and Saucer.”
The Scotch bonnet was the first Caribbean hot pepper to be known by a specific name in the export market. The attached drawing, dating from 1767 identifies the yellow chilli pepper as “Bonnet Pepper” or “Goat Pepper.
There are many other peppers of different shapes and colours in Jamaica, but if they do not have the correct shape and colour, they are not Scotch Bonnet.