Monday, September 26, 2011

September chilli fest

I'll confess that I'm slightly pitying of anyone who doesn't like chillies. In my book, that's like saying 'I prefer my food to taste quite ordinary, I don't really like making it a bit more interesting'. Chillies don't have to be hot to make a difference in food, they can add fruitiness, spice or simply an unidentifiable tang that just adds a bit of pizzazz to everyday flavours. Tomato and mascarpone pasta sauce? Throw some chopped hot cayenne in there! Stir fry or pad thai? Whack a scotch bonnet in it! Courgette fritters? A couple of bulgarian carrot chillies will add some zing!
My chilli rollcall this year is as follows: Hot Cayenne, Peruvian Chinense, Scotch Bonnet, Razzmatazz, Numex Twilight, Lemondrop and Bulgarian Carrot. The latter 3 are new to me this year, the others I've grown at least once before.
Chillies have a long growing season, so most were sown back in February and March. I get the best results keeping them in the greenhouse and it means I can prolong the ripening through to October if I'm lucky.
Most of my harvest will be added to the freezer so we have an all year round supply. If I have a real bumper crop I may dry some to grind down for chilli powder or make a small batch of chilli jelly.

Scotch bonnets
New flowers on the Razzmatazz plant 
Hot cayenne ripening in the sun
The changing colours of the Numex Twilight


  1. Oh I do like the look of the Numex Twilight.
    I have been put off bothering to grow chillis this year as I have 'recently' had to give up spicy foods due to it irritating my stomach too much.
    Although I do miss it dearly. Do you have recommendations for some which are tasty but not too spicy for me to try out next year?

  2. I've grown chilies in the past but it's not something we really use in cooking so I haven't bothered since. There's some great varieties though, and such inventive names.

  3. KnightMare - that's such a shame that you can't enjoy chillies. I do mainly grow the hotter varieties, but a few that might suit you are Hungarian Sweet Wax, Poblano and Numex Suave Orange. Googling any of these will give you some seed suppliers.

    Jo - I love the fascinating names as well. It makes me want to grow the really bizarre sounding ones - I'm getting sent some Hot Banana chilli seeds this week but I'll have to wait a whole year to try them!