Weekly Photo Challenge – Hot

Given the 90 degree temperatures that have returned to the North East this week, it’s difficult not to think of hot as anything but weather related.

But there are many shades of hot: trendy, now, sexy, peppery, spicy, piquant, electric, stolen, in trouble with the police, etc.

I mulled over the different meanings of hot as I looked through my photos for one or two that would fit the bill. These are what I came up with.

Calabash, The Fire is Lit
The Fire is Lit, Calabash Literary Festival

The second time I attended the Calabash Literary Festival in Treasure Beach, Jamaica, I went down to the beach with several hundred attendees for the beach party and the lighting of the bonfire. The Fire is Lit(erature) was the festival’s theme that year.

Scotch Bonnet peppers - Maynefoto
Scotch Bonnet peppers

Named for its resemblance to the Tam o’shanter hat, Scotch Bonnet is one of the hottest peppers in the world with a rating of 100,000 – 350,000 on the Scoville scale, the measurement of the piquance of chili peppers. (As a comparison, jalapenos range 2,500-8,000.) It is an essential ingredient in many Jamaican dishes – escoveitch, jerk, curries, etc.

I made the mistake once of cutting up Scotch Bonnet with my bare hands to make pickled pepper. I didn’t think they would be very hot – because of the soil composition in the U.S., the Scotch Bonnet grown here lose a lot of its piquancy, especially after the first planting. My hands burned for three days. But don’t let that scare you. Eating peppers has been shown to boost metabolism.

Now, I can’t say that’s the reason my grandfather used to eat them. I just know that he did, almost always raw as if he were eating sweet peppers.

The key to eating or cooking with Scotch Bonnet, or any pepper, is to strip away the seeds and the membrane that stores capsaicin, the ingredient which gives them their heat. I always have some in my refrigerator and use it liberally in just about everything.

Scotch Bonnet can also be found in dishes from West Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Guyana, Grenada, Surinam, Haiti and Cayman.


10 comments on “Weekly Photo Challenge – Hot

  1. Hi Marcia. Thanks for visiting my site. Great fire photo. I tried some chillies once that looked similar to those & hooley dooley were they unbelievably hot. They sure fit the theme well

  2. That was creative of you to take the hot theme beyond just temperature. It’s really hot here in Boulder, so all I can think about is a blinding white sun baking the streets and sidewalks. It was a relief to get my mind off of it and think about food.

  3. I’ve never tried Scotch Bonnet chili peppers, to my knowledge, but do use hot peppers pretty much every day in my cooking. Living in Scotland the range available is feeble to say the least so I take what I can get: mostly Birdseye or Habanero. My mother used to eat them straight out of a paper bag like sweets.

    Love the bonfire photo, there’s something about bonfires, and the literary festival sounds great: brilliant theme.

  4. Thanks, Ozias. I think about food all the time!
    The thing is if you only think about temperature, it limits you. Hot, as you know has many more meanings.
    They’ve been working on the roads in my neighborhood. In fact, they should be coming back anytime now to resurface it. Now, that’s the kind of work I wouldn’t want to be doing, especially in the heat. Hot that it melts the tar or whatever they use on the roads.
    So what did you have to eat?

  5. This was interesting; educational.

    I notice that a few countries have a penchant for spicy foods. In Germany, we lived with Bahamians for a time and that was their thing. I can’t remember the spice used but I tried it. Took some time for my mouth to cool and my question was ‘How do you taste your food with it being this hot?’

    I use cayenne pepper, mixed with warm water, for blood circulation and pressure. I was prescribed water pills about 3 years ago and my great son 🙂 found that cayenne pepper was much better and it did bring it down significantly.

  6. Habaneros are great. My boss loves peppers and grows habaneros in his backyard. Every fall, he has a little get-together at his house. He harvests the peppers and we chop them up and make a pickle.
    Peppers are very good for you – your mom was on to the right thing. Funny how the older generation knew these things, isn’t it?
    Yes, bonfires draw people. There’s something about watching the fire grow and rise and then burn out. The shapes and colors. Yes, it’s a fabulous little festival near the sea.

  7. Actually, you do taste the food – once you’ve acquired the taste of the peppers! The best thing to do is not let the seeds and membrane get into the meal and you get a lovely flavor without it getting too hot. It needs balance.
    You have a budding health consultant on your hands there, Totsy. Cayenne pepper is very good for that. And when I feel a cold coming on, I mix it with honey and lime juice and a touch of rum. Works like a charm. I’m never without it. Some of these home remedies are much better than the over the counter stuff. I wish I had listened to my grandmother more and made notes.

  8. I never heard of this kind of pepper, and by looking at it (the shape), I would assume it wouldn’t be any hotter than an average pepper. I bet they are great when you have a bad head cold or stuffed sinuses… they should really open the gates! You are much braver than I to try to eat them! let alone handle them.

  9. You know, I’ve never used them for that but you’re right – they should be. We use cayenne pepper for that. Hmm, something else to try.
    Yup, they’re hot. I was crazy to handle them, that’s for sure!

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