Crazy for capsicums

by Lala

I’m currently obsessed with chillies. There’s no other way to describe what’s going on in my garden and my head right now. I started out with a few capsicums in this garden last year and didn’t really get into them the way I have now. I played three Bishops Crown pepper plants in the square foot garden out back and one Uyababa chili in a pot.

Earlier this year, around March if memory serves, I got three Karneval ornamental peppers, some purple and white calicoes and that was it.

This spring and now summer has been a chili pepper explosions. I was a bit sad after my German shepherd uprooted my dormant habanero while we were in Japan, so at some point I started absent mindedly looking them up again and trying to find seeds and starter plants.

I guess that is when I came across the many chilli aka hot pepper forums online and websites like Fatalii.net (and also became Twitter friends / followers when I saw his amazing Bonchi / Bonsai Chili page). I’ve also made friends with fellow chili enthusiasts on Twitter. Follow me @The_RainQueen if you’re a chili head too, so we can be weird about plants that make us cry together.

Long story short, I’ve been to many garden centers and ended up with the following plants, some of which are in the featured pic at the top of the post:

3 x Jalapeño plants (2 in the ground, 1 in a pot)
2 x Habaneros (1 in the ground, 1 in a pot)
1 x Inchanga pepper (a cayenne type, developed by a South African professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal)
Eleventy million Tabasco peppers (I bought a 6 pack of plants that turned out to have loads of individual plants per cell. I’m giving some to my grandma and my friends).

Young habanero plants in pots
Above: Baby Habaneros before one was planted in the garden and the other in a bigger pot (I’ll post about that soon).

The plants are in addition to the ones I already had going. I’ve got two survivors from the three Karneval peppers, one survivor from the purple calico chilies, all three Bishops crowns going strong and blooming and the Uyababa is still doing very well, despite them all spending winter outdoors and unpruned. I’ve had to do some pruning to encourage new growth and train them into more bushy rather than leggy plants.

So what am I going to do with all th de chillies as the season goes on and they churn out fireballs?

Many will be used fresh, chopped up into omelettes, salads and over pasta dishes. Others like the Bishops Crowns will be pickeled. I was close to buying a peppadew type piquante pepper today, but I think the Bishops crowns pretty much do the same job & look more interesting. I’m also going to try making my own “private blend” chili sauce. I remember making a REALLY good chili sauce from store bought pepper when I was about 13 or 14. It was from one of my mom’s recipe books…a simple blend of chillies (complete with seeds), sugar, lemon juice & garlic, whizzed up in the blender. My family loved it. I’ll try this one again when I have enough of a crop to fill a bottle.

My chili season finale will possibly be a YouTube video of a homegrown Habanero Challenge with my friends or coworkers. Subscribe to YouTube.com/TheRainQueen so you don’t miss out. It should be a hoot.

I’m not a huge fan of super hot chillies, but I do love very spicy intense curries and so on. For now the Habaneros are the hottest chilli I’m growing. Our groundsman is going to bring me some Malawaian birds eye chilies that he says are tiny, but super hot. We’ll see how that goes. I remember little hot chilies like that when I was growing up & my grand still has similar ones.

Home grown fresh Chili seasoning

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