Thursday, 23 September 2010

Chillis in profusion

I have read on a number of websites recently that some people have experienced a slow ripening of their chillis this year. No such problem here in Fleet! We have had a steady succession of ripe chillis for many weeks now, with plenty more coming on. The benefit of growing several different varieties is that they mature at different speeds, and you can have a supply of fresh fruits over a longer period.

Chillis in close-up!
 Here's the same batch of chillis viewed from a greater distance.

This is a mix of the types I have had to call "Long Fat" and "Long Medium"
Last night we had the first of the "Long Thin" (Cayenne??) type of chillis in the Beef Rendang that Jane made. Whilst the dish was absolutely delicious, the chillis were not as hot as we had expected. Nice, but not fiery...

We do actually have more chillis than we can keep up with at present, so Jane is planning to use one of Nigella Lawson's recipes to make some chilli jam. Here's a link:

Chillis do freeze OK by the way, though frozen ones are never as good as fresh ones. They tend to go a bit soft when you de-frost them (therefore it is best to de-seed, and slice frozen chillis before they de-frost).

If anyone reading this knows of a really good all-rounder chilli (defined by me as: red, good-looking, medium-sized, fairly hot) that they can recommend growing, I would like to know about it please!


  1. Oooh great post! In awe of your chilli growing abilities. I am only superior in killing EVERYTHING!

    I have Nigellas book with the chilli jam recipe. I often look at it and think how gorgeous the jam looks.Never had the guts to make it though! If you make it Jane, please let us know how it turns out - I'd love to know!

    P.s Now, get yourself on Twitter... ;o)

  2. I love your chillis but I have never grown them as I don't use them in my cooking very much. I guess I just don't have many recipes for them. I do grow jalepenos though to make salsa with them and because Phil loves them pickled on sandwhiches.

  3. Try growing Cayennes again, but when they're heavy with fruit, hold back the water until they're just a tiny bit stressed. Pepper plants that are coddled don't produce the heat you're looking for. I keep a large flat pan lined with a towel on the counter all season. Each day's pickings go into the pan until I have a batch that are thoroughly dry, which I then grind in a food processor for red chili flakes. I use them fresh, partially dried, dried, etc. all season long, in everything from curries to pickles.

    Btw, I garden in USDA zone 7, North Carolina, USA. :) Love your blog!

  4. Is your home too damp to allow you to string and dry chilis? I'm in California, so I can't be certain if this is a good idea for your climate.

  5. We grow a wide variety of chilis here. This year we have been growing cayennes, jalapenos, tabascos, serranos, cherry bombs, habaneros, el chaco, and thai hot. We more or less put our anchos and anaheims in with the sweet pepper varieties we grow.

    The longer you leave your chilis on the plant, the hotter they will get. When I was growing up, we'd let our cayennes almost dry on the vine.

    I've been experimenting with a variety of hot sauces this year and have had great results. With hot peppers, I don't see any reason to freeze them when you can either dry them (for powders or for reconstituting) OR you can puree them fresh, combine with vinegar & salt and put them up in jars. It is easy to dry peppers in on a cookie sheet in a 175 degree oven for a day or so -- I find that this is a more reliable method than air-drying.

    For the best combination of hot & size, I would recommend finding a large cayenne variety. We have some really hot cherry bombs this year, but I strongly suspect it is because of inter-generational hybridization.

    We also make hot pepper jelly, and preserved salsa.


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