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Habanero vs Scotch Bonnet – Which Is Better?

Habanero Vs Scotch Bonnet

So the question I received was Habanero vs Scotch Bonnet…which is better?

My quick response was they both do it for me. Actually, they do. When assessing certain peppers merits from a taste point, I like both these peppers. To choose one outright, I prefer the Scotch Bonnet.

Many consider them to be the same but there are differences. When performing the taste test on either the Habanero or Scotch Bonnet, look for a subtle difference.

Most people will sample the fruity taste and flavor they put out and won’t notice the obvious difference.

The Habanero has a little more bitterness to it which should be noticeable. The Scotch Bonnet on the other hand is not bitter but is sweet.

When it comes to answering a question such as Habanero vs Scotch Bonnet, I say either is worth pursuing simply because they will have different sets of fans.

Like wine drinkers, some like a sweet tasting wine with no bitterness while others prefer a hint of a bitter response.

Peppers are the same. I don’t like bitterness so the Scotch Bonnet is always my preference when it comes to choosing between the two. It’s the same with navel and Valencia oranges. I choose the navels all the time for their sweetness and lack of seeds.

So when choosing between the Habanero and Scotch Bonnet, think just sweet or sweet with a little bitterness. Use the orange as a guide. Do you like navels or Valencias? Do you prefer solely sweet wine or sweet wine with a little bitter flavor?

Habanero vs Scotch Bonnet: Which Pepper Is Hotter?

chili pepperThis is almost a dead-heat. Both the Habanero and Scotch Bonnet peppers are about the same strength in heat.

The Scoville Scale is a measurement to measure the heat strength of peppers.

The Habanero and Scotch Bonnet both come up anywhere up to 350,000 SHU (Scoville Heat Units).

If you are reading this for the first time then this isn’t going to mean much to you. The SHU scale is designed that the higher the reading the hotter the pepper.

To give you an example of how hot this actually is, consider the popular Jalapeño pepper. If you’ve had one you know it’s hot.

But you know, it pales into insignificance on the SHU scale compared to the Habanero and Scotch Bonnet.

Again, this is a rough estimate but the jalapeño scores anywhere between 1000 to 10,000 on this scale. Still think it’s a hot pepper?

Some may argue that the Habanero is a little hotter than the Scotch Bonnet. I’ve seen some reports which suggest it has gone as high as 450,000 SHU.

That may be right but right now, to settle this argument in this article, I’m prepared to say that it is a photo finish with little between them on the heat index.

Finally, there are far hotter peppers than either of our two subject peppers.

Wait…what? Does that surprise you? They struggle to even make the top ten list. You’ll probably find them on top twenty lists.

The Carolina Reaper is considered the hottest pepper at over 2.2 million SHU. That would knock the socks off even the hardiest hot pepper connoisseur. And others with name tags such as viper, scorpion and ghost mean these are peppers most of us just don’t want to mess with!

Are Habaneros and Scotch Bonnets Easy To Grow?

habanero peppersThe Habanero and Scotch Bonnet peppers are from the same family. They both enjoy warm conditions to grow. They thrive in temperatures consistent at about 75-90 degrees Fahrenheit.

I find peppers some of the easiest produce to grow. Since watching my parents, former Italian immigrants who made peppers a big part of their lives grow different varieties, it didn’t take much to learn the process.

If you are living in an apartment with no outside garden, growing peppers in pots is a cinch.

Simply go to your local garden center or check online for seedlings. You’ll only need a couple. I prefer to use seedlings.

Buy yourself several containers with at least a twelve inch width and up to five gallons. Just plant one plant per container.

Use organic soil, plant the seedlings about a 3-4 inch depth but don’t bury the stems, add fertilizer, water and keep an eye on it for the first two to three weeks.

During this time, take the plants outside in full sun for as long as you can or make sure they are near a south-facing window if in the United States that receives sunshine for most of the day.

If you live in a cool climate with limited sunshine, invest in grow lights.

At some stage, depending how big your original container is, you may need to transfer the plant to a bigger container. However, chances are you won’t in containers this size.

For those wanting to plant peppers in an outside garden, you pretty much follow the same process.

Just make sure you plant them in an area prone to sunshine. Peppers won’t do well in cold climates.

The following video will show a Habanero growing from seed to full plant. It’s worth a look.

Conclusion: Best Uses For Both Peppers

scotch bonnet pepper
The Scotch Bonnet Pepper

We’ve established that Habanero and Scotch Bonnet peppers are two of the hottest chili peppers in the world.

They are used to add heat and flavor to many dishes. Here are some of the best ways to use them:

Habaneros can be added to salsa, guacamole, or other Mexican dishes. They can also be added to chicken or beef dishes.

Scotch bonnet peppers can be added to rice and peas, curry, or other Caribbean dishes. They can also be added to seafood dishes.

Both are also excellent to make pepper sauces. I’m going to make a confession. I’, more of a mild pepper fan but have indulged in both these “hot pepper cousins”.

I still remember clearly the first time I indulged. It was a scotch bonnet and I likened it to jumping into a cold pool of water and experiencing the initial shock factor.

I just want to warn you, while these aren’t the hottest peppers on the planet, they are still extremely hot. Please don’t try either if you are a complete pepper rookie.

Work your way up. If you find Jalapeños hot then these are out of your league. Don’t mess with them and use them in small amounts when adding them to dishes. Just saying.

So, Habanero vs Scotch Bonnet. For my taste, the Scotch Bonnet wins by a whisker but for every fan it has, you’ll find one that likes the Habanero better.

In the final analysis, it will be your choice and what your taste buds prefer.

Habaneros vs Scotch Bonnets
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JD Dean

Growing up on a farm gave me and my family some huge advantages. One of them was learning to grow our own food. Apart from acres and acres of crops, we had a magnificent fruit and vegetable garden plus, we canned our own food. I’m hoping to pass on some of this expertise and experience to you.

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