The Jamaican Orange (also known as Scotch Bonnet pepper) is a variety of the habanero and is among the hottest peppers anywhere. If you’ve ever tried a habanero pepper, you know it carries some serious heat. The Jamaican Orange is equally hot, measuring in at 100,000-350,000 SHU (Scoville Heat Units). Compare that to a jalapeno pepper, which averages about 5,000 SHU, and you’ll understand the heat level.
It is usually red or yellow at maturity. However, other varieties can ripen to orange, yellow, peach, or even a chocolate brown; very much like the habanero pepper. Its size ranges from 1 to 2 1/2 inches in length and from 1 to 2 inches in diameter. Its shape is similar to the habanero, though flatter and wider, resembling a hat. Hence, one of its name “Scotch Bonnet”.
The flavor is fruity and bright, with a bit of sweetness. If you’ve ever tasted a habanero, it is very similar in both flavor and heat. Talking of flavor comparisons, there are hints of apple, cherry, and tomato. To test the heat and flavor, try slicing off a sliver and tasting it, and even chewing it up if you feel the initial taste is safe enough.
It is very often used in Caribbean cooking, where it originated and is widely grown. Dishes like jerk chicken or Jamaican Hot Pepper Sauce require the flavor and heat of the Scotch Bonnet.