The Chilli Challenge
Our success with chillies has been very mixed. Actually that might be an understatement. Up until last year we simply couldn’t grow them. Our attempts at growing from seed just failed and even when we were given well established plants by fellow plot holders we still managed to kill them. This was a huge source of embarrassment to the extent that we ended up avoiding these friends for a couple of weeks in case they inquired how we were getting on.
I wanted to give up completely, but if anything Derek became even more determined, especially after seeing Joe’s Long chillies growing outside in the gardens at RHS Wisley. So I left him to it. A year later he produced these.
So this year I have set him ‘The Chilli Challenge’. To grow seven different varieties for recipes I would like to make.
Vampire – a medium variety with black fruit.
Aji Limon – a hot yellow chilli with a clean, citrus flavour.
Ancho – a mild Mexican variety, green ripening to red.
Hungarian Hot Wax – medium heat with a fresh flavour.
Jalapeño – a medium chilli that can be eaten green or left to ripen to red.
Cayenne – a hot, rich red chilli.
Habañero – a very hot chilli, with a smoky flavour.
The Aji Limon with it’s citrus flavour, I plan to use in a Thai style seafood curry, making a fresh paste with garlic and coriander and then cooling it down with coconut milk.
A Texas style chilli, chunky meat cooked long and slow using fresh Habañero chillies alongside dried Ancho and Cayenne.
Chilli jam, ubiquitous I know but I haven’t yet found a recipe that I think is ‘the one’ and so it’s on the list.
Chilli oil, perhaps in combination with herbs and/or garlic.
Mole verde, a Mexican dish made with poached chicken and a rich spicy Jalapeño paste that has been loosened with the poaching liquid.
The Hungarian Hot Wax being quite mild I think will end up on the barbecue or stuffed, maybe with soft, mild white cheese and then baked.
Also a couple of salsas, one hot and fiery, the other mild and fruity or perhaps smoky.
So there we are. The seed order went in yesterday and it’s now full steam ahead. I’ll give a monthly update here and I’d love to hear in the comments if you’re growing chillies and which varieties you’ve chosen or perhaps if you want to ‘grow along’ with us.
All our seeds have been ordered from Victoriana Nurseries where there are plenty of other chillies to choose from as well as lots of good information about the different varieties and how to grow them. The link is here.