Capsicum annuum, C. frutescens, C. chinense, C. pubescens, C. baccatum
Sustainable Ewe favourites:
Bhut Jolokia, Thai Super, Cayenne
|Optimum Soil Temperature||20-25|
|Days to Germination||8-20|
|Days to Harvest||80 days from transplant|
|Direct Sow or Transplant||Transplant|
|Annual/Biennial /Perennial||Perennial though grown as an Annual|
|Chillies have been eaten since 7500 BCE. They were domesticated in Mexico, some 6000 years ago. Incas, Mayans, Aztecs used the humble chilli as a form of currency.
Introduced to the rest of the world by Christopher Columbus. It was then that they became known as ‘peppers’ as due to their spicy flavour similar to black pepper.
For the first 100 years after they were introduced in Japan in the 1600’s they were not eaten. Instead they would put chillies in their socks to keep their toes warm.
Capsicum annum: bell, wax, cayenne, jalapenos, chiltepin
Capsicum frutescens: malagueta, tabassco, Thai, piri piri, Malawian Kambuzi
Capsicum chinense: naga, habanero, Datil, scotch bonnet
Capsicum pubescens: rocoto
Capsicum baccatum: aji peppers
|Chillies prefer a rich fertile soil. They grow best in hot humid conditions so keeping the soil moist (but not soaked) is a must. Frost tender, so wait until the last frosts before planting in spring.
As they are quite shallow rooted they are ideal for container growing.
Staking is recommended.
Storing harvested Chilli: Can be frozen for up to 3 months (fair taste), Canning will last 12 months (good taste), Dried provides excellent taste and will last 12 months. Pickling will provide the longest shelf life and flavour.
Seed Saving: Self pollinating though insects will pollinate. Isolation distance between varieties of 30m. 10 plants are required for genetic diversity.
Seed Life: Four years
|Keep weed free.
When harvesting ALWAYS cut the fruit off the plants. Never pull.
The Scoville scale was designed in 1912 by Wilbur L Scoville, a pharmacist and is a measurement of the pungency (spicy heat) of chilli peppers, or other spicy foods, as reported in Scoville heat units (SHU), a function of capsaicin concentration. Capsaicin and related compounds capsaicinoids are what gives chilli it’s heat. There is a higher concentration of capsaicin in the pith near the top of the fruit.
Notable hot chillies: Pepper X (3.18 SHU), Dragons Breath (2.4 SHU), Carolina Reaper (2.2 SHU), Bhut jolokia (1.58 SHU)
Technically, chilli is a berry
Water stressed peppers usually produce stronger pods as the concentration of capsaicin increases.
A jalapeno with visible stripes on he outside it will be hotter.
Birds do not have the same sensitivity to capsacin, only mammals. In fact chilli is often planted as a buffer crop to keep elephants out of crops. As elephants have a large and highly sensitive olfactory system the smell of chilli causes them discomfort.
Good source of B6. Red chillies are high in Vitamin C, A and K
Said to reduce blood pressure and prevent cardiovascular disease. Clears nasal congestion. Boosts immunity.
There are only 40 calories in 100 grams of chilli
They aid in burning calories by raising the bodies core temperature during digestion. And produce endorphins and dopamine as the brain interprets the burn as pain.
There are more than 400 varieties in the world. Peru is considered to have the highest cultivated chilli diversity.
China is the largest producer of green chilli
International Chilli Day is the 4th Thursday of February
Chilli Roulette: Japanese Shishito Pepper and Spaish Padron Pepper are both mild tasting peppers, however one in ten of these will be jalapeno hot.
The Longest Chilli was grown in 2018 by Jürg Wiesli in Switzerland. It was a Joe Long Cayenne and measured 50.5cm
The heaviest chilli was grown by Dale Toten in the UK in 2018. It weighed in at 420 grams
Mike Jack in Canada holds the record (2019) for the most Bhut jolokia eaten in one minute: 97 grams.
According to the Guiness book of records the hottest chilli is from the aptly named Puckerbutt Pepper Company in the USA. It is Smokin’ Ed’s Carolina Reaper (1641183 SHU)
|Aphids – plant wilts, leaves puckered and distorted. Insects under leaves or on new growth. Water regularly in dry weather..|
|Basil, Carrot, Eggplant, Onion, Parsley, Tomato
NEVER Fennel, Kohlrabi