This year marks my third year of growing chillies, mostly what are reffered to as super hots, chillies like the Carolina Reaper or the Ghost pepper, with a few milder ones for good measure.
I am defintiely what you might call a hobby gardener, at best. I only have a vagues idea about what I’m doing and each year offers new lessons. so far I’ve learnt that the plants like consistent warm weather, which we don’t get very often in the U.K. last year we had a freak heat wave and I had more chillies than I knew what to do with. this year, the weather has been all over the place and so my yield of chillies is about a third of what it was at this time last year. Other than that I’ve learnt that they’re quite sturdy plants, it’s not been cold (relatively) but quite wet compared to this time last year, but the plants seem to be doing well and still producing fruit.
Last year I did a bit of experimenting with the chillies, trying different sauces and “jams” as well as trying them in various meals and even doing several batches of chilli chocolate, of varying heat profiles some of which were more successful than others. This year I’ve stocked up on various jars and bottles so there will probably be a bit more experimenting.
There is something satisfying about growing your own food, even if it is only chillies. Growing them from seed to fruiting plants requires a fair amount of work to begin as the plants try to establish themselves, but once they get going they are fairly hardy. Each chilli has an individual flavour and heat profiles that change slightly as you cook with them.
I can’t remember how or why I started growing chillies, I’ve liked spicy food for years, my go to curry of choice was a Vindaloo for a long time. I’ve been challenged to eat hot food more than I can count and I think when I first learned about the Carolina Reaper, I think I knew I had to at least try it. Then I think that’s when I found out that you could buy seeds and seedlings with kits to grow them and figured it would be a good challenge.
Three years down the line, I’ve managed to keep one of the original four plants alive and I’ve added to the number plants that I have and the variety of heat that the chillies have. I feel like I’ve learnt a fair amount about looking after plants and gardening, I even enjoy it, which not that long ago I’m not sure I would have believed.
Anyway plenty more updates to come as I pick, taste and cook with my crop as it expands.