Tag Archives: Chilli’s

Grow your own Chilli’s – Week 2

Last week, I wrote a post about my ambitious attempt to plant 15 varieties of Chilli’s, bedding down 4 seeds of each for a total of 60 plants.  What I am going to do with 60 Chilli plants, should they all be successful, is beyond me, especially as one of the varieties will grow to be 4 metres tall and produce more than 20kg chilli’s in a season (and I planted 4 of these seeds too).  I guess those who have followed my blog thus far have realized that I am not one to think things through to their conclusion much of the time.

Still, the start of week 2 is here, and what an exciting week 1 it was!  It was way more exciting than watching grass grow, which is odd because here there was not even any plants to watch grow.  That was, until this morning…but more on that later.

It turns out that I really do need to water these things daily.  The paper egg cartons are a great idea, but they wick the water away from the soil very readily, especially with the ocean breeze blowing across them.  I learnt very quickly that a 2 day watering cycle wasn’t going to work.  Not only were they bone dry at the time of watering, but one occasion I found one of the cartons on the floor, contents partially spilled.

I am not sure if it was the wind that blew it of the table, I actually doubt it, or whether it was some wicked local animal playing mischievous games with my crop.  Number one suspect is my English Staffy, Brunson, but he denied any knowledge.  As you can see by the photo, however, he is hardly a dog to be trusted.

Brunson: Suspect #1, can’t be trusted.

I recovered about 4 seeds from the mess, and given the bulk of the soil was still in the cartons, I am pretty sure that most of the seeds stayed in the carton.  I did replant the escapees, and topped up the lost soil, so let’s hope that tray sprouts some time soon.

Today we are going to reveal the seeds planted in tray 1.  The seeds in tray 1 were given to me by Cecil at work, and I am not 100% sure of the actual varietal.  I can only go by what he has described, and maybe make some assumptions.

Tray 1, with 3 kinds of chilli’s

As it so happens, tray 1 is also the home of my first sproutling.  This morning, when I opened the cartons to water them, I noticed one of the seeds had burst forth a pale green shoot.  Very excited, especially as I didn’t expect any action until mid way through week 3.

My first chilli!

Seed #1:  Round Red Mild Chilli.

This is the seed that has sprouted for me already.  If it is as described, I will probably save these chilli’s for one of 2 uses:  stuffing (with a cream cheese mix) or pickling.  From the description, it is either a Pimento (very mild) or a Cherry Chilli (mild).

Seed #2:  Mild Bell Chilli

So, to me, this is a capsicum, or Bell Pepper.  It may end up being something more similar to a pimento, which is pretty much what I imagine Seed #1 to be, given the vague description given to me.  This blog entry is rapidly going down hill!  If it is the Pimento or Cherry Chilli, I’ll be looking to do the same as seed #1.

If it is a capsicum, I will be eating these raw…or roasting them and preserving them in oil.

Seed #3:  Long mild chilli

Again, a very vague description that could mean anything, however I am thinking they are the generic “Red Chilli” and “Green Chilli” which is common in mega marts around here.  Quite mild, i’ll be using them to give flavour to salsa’s and mild curries, as well as using them for Taco night, given the kids are not exactly chilli heads.

Pickled Chilli’s
(recipe courtesy Jamie Oliver)

  • 600gr / 1lb 5oz medium green chillies
  • 15 black peppercorns
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 5 teaspoons salt
  • 6 heaped tablespoons caster sugar
  • 1 litre / 1 3/4 pints white wine vinegar or rice vinegar

Stuffed Cherry Peppers (or Pimento’s)

  • 100g chopped and seeded Kalamata Olives
  • 100g soft goats cheese
  • 50g plain yoghurt
  • 1 lg garlic clove, minced

Blend ingredients and stuff the chilli’s.  Serve raw.  Pickled chilli’s can also be used here.

or

  • 150g cream cheese
  • 100g dried apricots, diced fine
  • 20g slivered almonds, toasted
  • pinch salt

Blend and stuff into chilli.  Wrap chilli with bacon or proscuitto, and bake in a hot oven until tender.

Stuffed Cherry Peppers

Next week we’ll cover the seed that have been planted in tray 2.  Hopefully i’ll get a few more sproutlings, and hopefully my wife will remember to look after whilst I am out of town this week, lol!

As always, enjoy the meal.

Advertisements

Grow your own – Chilli’s Chilli’s Chilli’s (Week 1)

For a country that is so heavily influenced culinarily by Southeast Asia, Australia sucks for chilli’s.  Some Aussies have a palatal penchant for the peppery pain, but for the most part, we’re a population that would rather eat a Vegemite Pizza (I shit you not) than sweat through a Vindaloo Pork.

Yes, I’d eat it. Vegemite Pizza sounds like a culinary fusion made in Italo-Austral heaven. Photo courtesy of fellow food blogger Wasabi’s Food Safari,

Add to this the fact that Aussies seem to have made a connection that equates Chilli’s to pain and suffering, and we have decided not to explore the multitude of mild chilli’s out there that taste absolutely amazing.  Even Capsicums (aka Bell Peppers) have been called Capsicums as if to deny their Chilli heritage.  Yes people, the Capsicum is a Chilli pepper.

Zero on the Scoville scale…the mildest Chilli of them all

One of the main disadvantages of this capsaicin averse culture, is that those of us who enjoy the occasional chilli cleansing have a difficult time finding a good range of chilli’s to satisfy the craving, and that most of the chilli sauces you do find, are Asian based and packed with sugar.

To this end, I have turned to the garden.  It’s not that I have a green thumb, God knows I don’t, but I am tired of not being able to get the chilli’s I want…and not just the hot ones.  So 4 of us at work pooled our resources (meaning cash), and we spent $100 on a decent variety of Chilli seeds to try and plant ourselves.

Two weeks later, and a small package arrives in the mail, filled with 11 varieties of Chilli’s, and my new adventure begins.

For the next few months I am going to keep you all updated with my growing efforts, and report weekly (with photographs, hopefully) on the progress of my micro crop.  I will use these subsequent posts to tell you about the chilli’s I have planted, and maybe give some recipes for each of the varieties to show that not all that is Chilli is hot.  Of course, some of the Chilli’s I have planted arrived with a health warning, and are so hot that you might have to put latex gloves on just to read the blog and view the pictures.

The rest of today’s blog, is guaranteed pain free however, as I will show you what I’ve done to get these Chilli seeds started.  15 types of seeds, with the 11 shipped and 4 I already had (thanks to Cec at work).

Using my collection of empty paper egg cartons (see honey, I told you collecting them would come in handy some day…I might just soundproof a room with the other hundred or so I have) I fill each “cup” with a heaping of potting mix. Tamp each carton down with another carton, and voila!

A single seed in each cup, and label the cartons so I don’t forget which is which (a good plan, given the potency of some of these chilli’s).
The magic of Photoshop clears the writing away, because I am going to unveil the varieties one week at a time.

A final covering of potting mix, and a good watering using a Seaweed based fertilizer (I hope that was a good idea), and my babies are ready.
4 of each of the 15 varieties…60 seeds in total.

And now we play the waiting game.  I’ll keep these watered, and hopefully before too long we’ll see some action.

Next week, I’ll talk about the first 3 varieties.