If you are looking to expand into some spicier cuisine, you may be wondering about all of the differences between a Scotch bonnet vs ghost pepper. How are these peppers similar to one another, and in what ways do they differ? Both belonging to the habanero pepper plant species, these two peppers definitely bring the heat!
In this article, we will compare and contrast Scotch bonnet peppers with ghost peppers so that you can fully understand the differences between them. We will go over what both of these pepper varieties look like as well as what they are typically used for. Finally, we’ll give you some tips as to how to grow these pepper plants in your own backyard garden. Let’s get started!
Comparing Scotch Bonnet vs Ghost Pepper
|Scotch Bonnet||Ghost Pepper|
|Plant Classification||Capsicum chinense ‘Scotch Bonnet’||Capsicum chinense × Capsicum frutescens|
|Description||Unique, rounded appearance that lends to its name, available in many colors including red, yellow, orange, and brown. Stout and wide, these peppers are rarely over an inch long. Plants reach up to 3 feet tall||Traditional pepper appearance and size that comes in a variety of colors including red, orange, and black. Some varieties are bumpy, but most ghost peppers remain long, slender, and smooth. Plant grows up to 4 feet tall on average|
|Uses||Extremely popular in Caribbean cuisine, particularly with pepper sauces||Popular in a variety of cooking, including hot sauces, curries, and fish. Also used in pepper sprays and defense mechanisms|
|Origin and Growing Preferences||Originally grown in Jamaica; thrives in full sun and is quick to produce||Originally grown in India; prefers full sun and average water, and germinates quickly|
|Scoville Scale Rating||Roughly 350,000||Roughly 1 million|
Key Differences Between Scotch Bonnet vs Ghost Pepper
There are a number of key differences between Scotch bonnets and ghost peppers. For example, the ghost pepper is longer and narrower compared to the rounded, stout shape of the average Scotch bonnet. The ghost pepper has a much higher Scoville rating compared to the Scotch bonnet Scoville rating. Finally, the Scotch bonnet is a specific cultivar from the habanero pepper species, while ghost peppers are a hybrid pepper from two different species.
Let’s go over all of these differences in detail now.
Scotch Bonnet vs Ghost Pepper: Classification
While they are distantly related to one another, Scotch bonnets and ghost peppers have different classifications and origins from one another. For example, Scotch bonnet peppers are a specific cultivar or variety of pepper found in the Capsicum chinense species, while ghost peppers are a hybrid pepper created from two different pepper species known as Capsicum chinense and Capsicum frutescens. This means that these two pepper varieties share some relation to each other, but they are not the same otherwise.
Scotch Bonnet vs Ghost Pepper: Description
You can easily tell the difference between a ghost pepper and a scotch bonnet just by looking at them. The average ghost pepper has a narrow and long appearance, while Scotch bonnets have a stout and wide appearance by comparison. In fact, Scotch bonnets are named because of what they look like, as they vaguely represent the tam-o’-shanter, a hat originating from Scotland.
Besides the shape of both of these peppers, ghost pepper plants tend to grow larger than Scotch bonnet plants. Both of these peppers can be found in a variety of colors, including red, orange, yellow, and black or brown. However, the overall shape of the ghost pepper is much more elongated compared to the compact shape of the average Scotch bonnet pepper.
Scotch Bonnet vs Ghost Pepper: Uses
One of the most obvious uses of both ghost peppers and Scotch bonnets is in a culinary capacity. In fact, this is what both of these peppers are primarily used for, as they both impart a high level of spice and flavor to a variety of dishes. However, Scotch bonnets are incredibly popular in the Caribbean and a variety of Caribbean cuisines, while ghost peppers are popular in Indian cuisine.
Scotch Bonnet vs Ghost Pepper: Origin and How to Grow
Scotch bonnet peppers and ghost peppers originated in different locations, but both of these plants grow in a similar fashion. For example, ghost peppers originated in India, while Scotch bonnets originated somewhere in Central and South America, likely near Jamaica. You can grow both of these peppers in full sunlight, during the heat of the summer time, and be sure to not over water. However, both of these peppers grow quickly and develop fruit in no time!
Scotch Bonnet vs Ghost Pepper: Scoville Scale Rating
The final key difference between ghost peppers and Scotch bonnet lies in their Scoville scale rating. The Scoville scale is used to measure how spicy peppers are, and the ghost pepper is much spicier than the scotch bonnet pepper. Looking at the numbers in more detail, the average Scotch bonnet pepper ranks no higher than 350,000 on the Scoville scale, while the ghost pepper often ranks over 1 million on the same scale.
To put things into perspective, the average jalapeño pepper never ranks higher than 10,000 on the same scale, making it much milder than both the ghost pepper and the Scotch bonnet pepper. The flavor of the average Scotch bonnet pepper is fruitier and sweeter compared to the average ghost pepper, but both options will definitely succeed in spicing up your favorite curry or sauce recipe!
The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/MagicBones
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- Volatile compounds and capsaicinoid content of fresh hot peppers (Capsicum chinense) scotch bonnet variety at red stage, Available here: https://www.academia.edu/download/54350408/Volatile_Compounds_and_Capsaicinoid_Cont20170905-28083-2wh4bx.pdf