A sure fire way to distinguish between ‘locals’ and ‘foreigners’ at a Caribbean dinner table is to listen out for the request for ‘pepper sauce,’ a hot and tangy flavouring that is typically made of the indigenous Scotch Bonnet, otherwise known as Scotty Bon, Scotchy, Bonney Pepper or scientifically, Capsicum Chinense.
The Scotch Bonnet is the main commercial variety of pepper in the region, having achieved this status through a process of repeated selection based on aroma, pungency, flavour, yield, and disease and pest tolerance.
Originally cultivated by the Taino Indians, the distinctly Caribbean flavour of the fiery hot condiment is used to make a variety of value added products such as hot pepper sauce, jerk seasoning, pepper mash, dried pepper, scotch bonnet chocolate truffles, pepper powder, hot ketchup, pepper infused peanut butter, pepper jams and jellies, salsas and pickles.
With a heat rating of 100,000-350,000 scoville units, the scotch bonnet can be up to 40 times hotter than a typical jalapeño pepper.
High levels of capsaicin, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, most B vitamins (particularly vitamin B6), iron, copper, magnesium and potassium provide a number of benefits including heart health, weight loss, and congestion relief.