The Faria pepper, otherwise known as the Tobago Scotch Bonnet, is the habanero of the Caribbean. This is an extremely hot pepper with an average Scoville rating of 100,000 – 350,000 units. For comparison, Faria are roughly 140 times hotter than jalapeños and comparable to the Caribbean Red in heat.
Like other variations of the Scotch Bonnet family, this pepper has a taste similar to that of the habanero. With a smoky, deep flavor with strong fruit overtones, the Faria has added touches of sweetness, making this pepper unique from the habanero. The Faria is not commonly found in traditional grocery stores but may be found in seed packets or in specialty stores.
There is a sweet variation of Tobago Scotch Bonnet which has none of the heat of the spicier Faria, and is more widely used in cooking.
Faria range in color from yellow, orange, and red, or anywhere in between with pods at an average length of two inches. The name Scotch Bonnet comes from its unusual shape which resembles a Tom o’Shanter hat, larger on top than on bottom.
The Faria is traditionally used in Caribbean cuisine, sauces, it can also be dried, pickled or used as seasoning.
As it originates in Tobago, this pepper requires a sub-tropic or tropical climate for cultivation. Because it responds best in warm, humid weather, this plant is especially vulnerable to cold and frost.
The Faria pepper may grow all year long and thrives in full sunlight. As peppers retain their heat from the chemical compound capsaicin, pharmaceutical companies utilize peppers with high levels in the treatment of arthritis. It is also used by major industries to make pepper spray and pesticides.
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