Monday, September 13, 2010

Chilli update

The chillis have overtaken most of the conservatory and plans are already being put in place for a more extreme effort yet next year. I thought I'd do a quick round up of the 10 varieties being grown and their [lack of] success taking into account flavour, heat, productivity and attractiveness:
  1. Capsicum annum "Fish" - Stunningly beautiful variegated plant. Probably the most productive variety in terms of numbers. Flavour not great and heat seems very variable. Worth growing as a pure ornamental so pods' flavour is a bonus. 8/10Fish
  2. Capsicum annum "Hungarian hotwax" - 1 plant produced lots of large, hot pods. Great for stuffing and decent bang for pot. 7/10Hungarian Hotwax
  3. Capsicum annum "Jalapeno" - I really like Jalapenos but not these B&Q ones. Good Jalapeno corking, nice thick pod walls and productivity but no heat and little flavour (even when red) 6/10
  4. Capsicum annum "Santa Fe Grande" - Productive, looks kind of standard but very little flavour. Boring. 4/10
  5. Capsicum baccatum "Dedo de Mocha" - Strong, tall, leggy plants producing lots of very big dangly fruit. Taking an age to ripen so no flavour verdict yet. If the fruit are tasty this one will be a reak winner. (preliminarily 8/10)
  6. Capsicum baccatum "Lemon Drop" - A hot, citrussy pepper as its name suggests. Very pretty bright yellow fruit but a really messy droopy medusa's head of a plant. Fruit are very hot with good flavour (the citrus flavour is for real). Too hot for me to use much of but I think these will add good flavour to a hot sauce or preserve. 7/10IMG_1051[1]
  7. Capsicum chinense "Orange Habanero" - Productive and very pretty and evidently (from the vapours of chopping one up) very hot. I'm freezing the pods for sauce. 8/10
  8. Capsicum chinense "Scotch Bonnet" - Productive and evidently (from the vapours of chopping one up) very hot. I'm freezing the pods for sauce. 8/10 IMG_1055[1]
  9. Capsicum chinense "Trinidad Perfume" - My favourite thus far. Very mild but strongly flavoured pods. Not very productive but a little goes a long, long way. The flavour is truly remarkable and very hard to describe - it keeps building and lingers in the mouth the way pepper heat does. A colleague rated this "amazing, the best pepper I've ever tasted".
  10. Capsicum fructescens "Birdseye" - I managed to damp off all my seedlings twice for reasons I don't understand. Unrated.
All in all, it's been kind of a mixed harvest thus far. I've got both more peppers than I can use and in some cases not as many as I hoped for or want for preparations. In every case though a tiny seed has grown in less than 6 months to a large and in many cases beautiful plant that is putting food on my table. These are plants which are very quick to reward a grower and the subtle variations on a pretty standard theme are fascinating. I'm pretty sure I will grow a much larger variety of species and varieties next year with some very specific goals in mind.

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