× Scoville Heat Rating : 100,000 – 325,000 SHU
Scotch Bonnet peppers are a type of chili pepper that originated in the islands of the Caribbean. They share species with the Habanero pepper. With the shape of a plump teardrop, Scotch Bonnets mature to about two inches in length. When ready for harvest, the peppers are a hue of orange to scarlet red. Their flavor is similar to an apricot with an intense amount of heat.
The Heat Element
Capsaicinoids are a chemical compounds that are found in chili peppers. These compounds are what give such heat to the peppers. The chemical compounds are spread throughout the inner parts of the pepper including the seeds in some. In order to measure the heat, researchers use HPLC or High Performance Liquid Chromatography. This new technique replaced the original test created by Wilbur Scoville in 1912. His method employed a panel of taste testers to sample a mixture of sugar water and ground peppers. He would continue to dilute the mixture, with more sugar water, until the individuals of the panel could no longer feel a burning sensation in their mouths. The number of required dilutions was the basis for the assigned rating of each type of chili pepper.
As with most all chili peppers, the Scotch Bonnet pepper should be handled with extreme caution and care. Individuals should always dawn gloves before working with peppers. Any contact with bare skin should be avoided. The burning sensation to the skin is intensely uncomfortable. Various effects, due to direct contact with the peppers, are as follows:
- Skin – Extreme discomfort, even pain with reddening.
- Eyes – Watering and redness.
- Nose – Runny and possible sneezing.
- Mouth – Immediate burning and increased salivatation.
In some rare cases, individuals can develop irritation in the lungs. They can experience smothering, shortness of breath, and uncontrollable coughing. The bronchial tubes may become inflamed.
Alleviation of the discomfort from the burning sensation cannot be done with water. The chemical compound in the peppers is not water soluble. However, it is fat soluble. Individuals should drink liquids that are high in fat, such as milk or ice cream. The fat will adhere to the compounds, thus, relieving the sensation. The skin can also be treated by washing in milk. Baby shampoo has also been found to work well on the skin to relieve the affects of the heat of the pepper.