Scotch bonnet is a spherical, small pepper native to the Caribbean. It was used traditionally in Jamaican cuisines and had the same fiery punch as habanero. You can use it for hot sauce.
Growing your scotch bonnet in your backyard is a good idea if you love spices. Growing the pepper can give you delicious rewards for your hard work. However, growing it requires more patience. You must also know when to pick a scotch bonnet to make the best of them.
As a grower of scotch bonnets, I harvest them if they are fully ripe. Once they become very fragrant, it is a sign that they’re ready to be picked.
When is the best time to pick your scotch bonnet?
The perfect time to harvest your scotch bonnet is when they are fully ripe. It has a distinctive smell from afar. The pepper can be picked after 120 days or 3 months from seeds. Another factor is when they are already at their full size and have reached yellow or bright red color.
After harvesting your scotch bonnet peppers, you can consume them immediately. You can also store them for later use.
How to pick your scotch bonnet?
When picking your scotch bonnet peppers, you should protect your hands. Wear gloves since they can cause skin irritation. You can cut them from the plant using a sharp knife. Make sure to be careful to avoid damaging your plant. You should also care for your eyes since the peppers may tear you up.
What is the appearance of a scotch bonnet?
Scotch bonnet varies in color. Usually, they have yellow or red color when fully ripe. Standard scotch bonnets are about 1.5 to 2 inches compared to a golf ball size. Some variations may be more elongated instead of squished appearance. It can make the pepper look like the Jalapeno.
It has a bonnet-style hat shape, also implied by its name. The pepper may appear like a belly button from the bottom. They may look like the tiny guard from the top.
What is the taste of scotch bonnet?
Scotch bonnet is very spicy. It also has a sweet flavor. The pepper also comes with sweeter, fruity notes. It can be ideal for salsas and Caribbean-style cuisines.
How to grow your scotch bonnet?
If you want to grow your scotch bonnet in your garden, here is my complete guide.
Choose the best location
The first step in growing your scotch bonnet peppers is to choose the best location. Make sure the area should be a sunny spot and allows proper air circulation. The ideal temperature for growing the peppers is around 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Prepare your soil
It is also necessary to have the best soil for growing your peppers. Dig deeper into the soil to loosen it. It is also good to use organic fertilizer.
Plant your scotch bonnet seeds
You can now plant the seeds to grow your peppers. Plant them on the soil surface instead of burying them.
Water your seedlings
If you want to yield healthy scotch bonnet peppers, water the seedlings. Ensure that they are well hydrated and don’t allow them to dry out, especially during germination.
Fertilize the plants
You can use nitrogen-rich fertilizer at the start of the growth cycle of your plants. Fertilizing them should be conducted at each growth stage.
Watch your plants as they grow
You should monitor your plants as it grows. Make sure there are no diseases or pest infestations that can affect them. Give your plants enough water and nutrients until they become fully developed and ready for harvest.
Pick your scotch bonnet peppers
You can now harvest your scotch bonnet peppers after 4 months. Cut them off the stem if they are ready to be picked. Use sharp scissors or knives to avoid injuring the peppers or the plant. You should harvest all the fully grown peppers and leave the non-mature peppers alone.
Storing or using your scotch bonnet
When your pepper is already ripe, you can use it for different purposes. Add them to stir-fry, salads, or soups. You can also keep them in your refrigerator to prolong their lifespan.
What are the nutrients contained in scotch bonnet peppers?
Scotch bonnet peppers are also rich in essential nutrients. They include magnesium, calcium, potassium, zinc, iron, and vitamin C. The pepper also contains protein, fiber, and vitamin A. You can consume it raw or cooked.
What is the lifespan of scotch bonnet plants?
The lifespan of scotch bonnet plants is around 3 to 5 years. It can depend on the living conditions and variety of the plant. You should also be responsible for growing it properly.
Where do scotch bonnet peppers originate?
Scotch bonnet peppers come from Brazil. Today, it is available in different parts of the globe. It was a purebred pepper.
Is it safe to eat scotch bonnet peppers?
Since it is one of the favorite additions to your dishes, it is safe and edible. However, if you have some allergies to spicy foods, there is a possibility that you may experience diarrhea, sweating, abdominal discomfort, vomiting, and burning esophagus after consuming the pepper.
What are the benefits of scotch bonnet peppers?
Aside from its tasty flavor, it also comes with many benefits, which include the following:
Reduce blood pressure
It contains capsaicin which can relax your blood vessels, lowering your high blood pressure.
The peppers contain antioxidants with heat. It can help with weight loss and headaches.
Your whole body can be awakened as you consume the peppers, especially your taste buds.
It is also good for your health since it contains essential vitamins like vitamins B, A, and C. It also has high levels of magnesium and iron.
Clear your sinuses
The scotch bonnet peppers have capsaicin that can reduce inflammation of the sinuses, which helps mucus flow.
What climates are best to grow scotch bonnet peppers?
It is best to grow your scotch bonnet in subtropical climates. It loves lots of sunshine and hot weather. The ideal temperature for growing the peppers is around 75 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
How tall does the scotch bonnet plant grow?
The scotch bonnet can grow into a small bush, around 2 feet tall and 1 foot wide. Note that spacing is essential if you grow more than one pepper plant. You can provide about 3 to 5 between every plant. It is also advisable to keep your pepper plant away from other nightshade vegetables.
How many peppers can you yield from a scotch bonnet plant?
The number of peppers you can yield from a plant can vary. You may get about 20 peppers for each plant. At maximum, you may get about 50 peppers from one plant of the scotch bonnet. You can also use pruning to offer your plant healthy growth.
Is scotch bonnet plant perennial?
A perennial plant comes back each season. Fortunately, scotch bonnet pepper is a perennial plant. However, you should be patient and responsible for providing it with healthy growth. So, you can yield more peppers for your dishes.