Last week you found Scotch Bonnet peppers inside the CSA box. They are also known as Boabs Bonnet, Scotty Bons, Bonney peppers or Caribbean red peppers. They are found mainly in the Caribbean islands but also in Guyana, the Maldives Islands and West Africa. Most Scotch Bonnets are extremely hot and more than ten times sharper then Jalapeno peppers.
These peppers are used to flavour many different dishes and cuisines worldwide and are often used in hot sauces and condiments. The Scotch bonnet has a sweeter flavour and stouter shape, distinct from its habanero cousin, with which it is often confused, and gives jerk dishes and other Caribbean dishes their unique flavour.
Fresh, ripe scotch bonnets change from green to colours ranging from yellow to scarlet red. Ripe peppers are prepared for cooking by those who cannot handle the sharp heat by cutting out the area around the seeds inside the fruit, which holds most of the heat. The seeds can be saved for cultivation or other culinary uses.
In this video you get instructions on how to handle these hot babies.
Capsaicin, the active ingredient in peppers, is so hot that it can make your mouth feel like it’s on fire. It gives peppers a couple of health benefits. Here are seven reasons to turn up the heat in your next meal (with thanks to the website Healing Naturally By Bee).
- Fight Cancer A study published in Cancer Research found that capsaicin caused cancer cells to commit suicide. The substance caused almost 80 percent of prostate cancer cells to die in mice, and prostate tumors treated with capsaicin were about one-fifth the size of those in untreated mice. Further, researchers say capsaicin pills may one day be used to prevent the return of prostate cancer.
- Provide Pain Relief A topical form of capsaicin is a recognized treatment for osteoarthritis pain and may also help alleviate pain from diabetic neuropathy. Capsaicin is also known to inhibit Substance P, a neuropeptide that is the key transmitter of pain to the brain. Substance P can cause swelling of nerve fibers, which may result in headaches and sinus symptoms. Studies have found that capsaicin both relieves and prevents cluster headaches, migraine headaches and sinus headaches.
- Prevent Sinusitis and Relieve Congestion Capsaicin has potent antibacterial properties that fight and prevent chronic sinus infections, or sinusitis. Because it is so hot, it also helps to stimulate secretions that help clear mucus from your nose, thereby relieving nasal congestion. This phytochemical may also help relieve sinus-related allergy symptoms.
- Fight Inflammation Capsaicin is a potent anti-inflammatory agent. It works by inhibiting Substance P, which is associated with inflammatory processes. Capsaicin is being looked at as a potential treatment for arthritis, psoriasis and diabetic neuropathy.
- Soothe Intestinal Diseases A Duke University study found that capsaicin may lead to a cure for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The substance can also help to kill bacteria such as H. pylori, which can help prevent stomach ulcers.
- Burn Fat and Lose Weight Capsaicin is a thermogenic agent, which means it increases metabolic activity. This, in turn, helps to burn calories and fat. Many popular “fat-burning” supplements on the market contain capsaicin, as the substance may significantly increase metabolic activity for over 20 minutes after it’s eaten.
- Protect Your Heart Capsaicin may help to protect the heart by reducing cholesterol, triglycerides and platelet aggregation. It may also help the body dissolve fibrin, which is necessary for blood clots to form. Further, cultures around the world that use hot peppers liberally in their meals have significantly lower rates of heart attack and stroke than cultures that do not.
Here is a recipe for pickled peppers with Scotch Bonnet Peppers: http://www.nlj.gov.jm/FeastingontheHeritage/scotch_bonnet_pepper.htm
Or try this recipe for HOT Ketchup foodblogandthedog.wordpress.com/tag/scotch-bonnet/
Ingredients (for 2 jars):
– 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
– 18 fresh Scotch Bonnet peppers, sliced and seeded
– 6 cloves garlic, crushed
– 1/2 cup minced onion
– 3/4 teaspoon salt
– 2 cups water
– 1/4 cup white vinegar
– 2 tablespoons brown sugar
– In a large sauce pan over medium-high heat, combine oil, peppers, garlic, onion, and salt; cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
– Pour in water, and cook for 20 minutes, or until the ingredients are soft. Stir frequently. Remove from heat, and allow mixture to cool to room temperature.
– Transfer the mixture to a blender, and puree until smooth. Pour in vinegar and sugar; blend until mixed. Keep refrigerated .
Besides making pickles or hot sauce you can use the peppers in curry’s and jerk dishes or as a spice in an omelette or in soups. I tried them inside a chickpea curry and loved it.
- 3 cups cooked chickpeas
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1-inch piece fresh ginger, minced or grated
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
- 1 to 2 Scotch bonnets, seeded and minced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 medium tomato, diced
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons tamari (soy) sauce
- 1 small bunch of green onions, trimmed and sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
- generous handful of fresh parsley, chopped
- juice from 3 limes (1/3 cup)
- fresh ground black pepper and sea salt to taste
- Rinse the chickpeas and soak for 8 hours or overnight in enough water to cover. Drain and rinse, then transfer to a large saucepan and cover with fresh water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until the chickpeas are soft. Drain and set aside.
- Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. When hot, toss in the ginger, garlic and chilies and stir for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the thyme and ground spices and stir for another minute.
- Now add the tomatoes, honey, maple syrup and tamari and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes to thicken.
- Stir in the chickpeas, the green onions, red pepper and 3/4 cup of water. Simmer for another 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, adding more water as needed. Note that you want a fairly thick and dry consistency as the end result.
- Stir in the lime juice and parsley, season with black pepper and sea salt to taste, and simmer for another few minutes.
- Serve hot garnished with dried red chili flakes, green onion slices and parsley.