Archive for category Capsicum

Pepper, Doux D’Espagne

Capsicum Annuum Doux D’Espagne

A long, sweet pepper also known as Sweet Spanish Mammoth an heirloom, which dates back to 1859, according to Thomas Etty.
I first grew this pepper in 2006 and it did so well, providing huge crops of delicious sweet peppers, that I have grown it each year since. I usually grow 6-12 plants, because I make a lot of pepper preserves, but if I was just growing it for eating fresh I would probably only need 3 to 6 plants.
Image Doux D’Espagne, green

So far it has seen off all competition, Big Banana an F1 that struggled to produce fruit in a dry season, Red Goats Horn (Corno di Torro) not nearly as meaty or tasty, and Buran nice but not much of a crop. Doux D’Espagne is my favourite by far and the sweet red pepper to measure others by. It really is outstanding, great in the kitchen and a prolific and reliable cropper. Green the fruit are delicious sweet and crisp with a hint of aniseed in the taste, once matured to red they are sweet and packed with flavour. They are delicious raw and make a wonderful Turkish Red Pepper Paste, or Roast Pepper Salad and contribute bulk to hot Harissa.

Image pepper growing in the lush foliage

The plants are robust and grow fairly tall, 3-5 foot depending on the season, with lots of mid to dark green foliage. The white flowers set green fruits that mature to red fairly early and crop until the first frost. The peppers are huge, 20cm long, 3 sided, tapered and smooth. The flesh is thick, crisp and juicy. A great all purpose sweet red pepper, I haven’t found anything to beat it yet, though I do still keep trying.

Overwintering 

I have had success growing this variety as a perennial in my unheated polytunnel. It survived and cropped for three seasons before I had to remove the huge plant when the polytunnel had an overhaul and clean out in 2008.

Seed Source Original seed source was a French commercial seed company Gondian.
MDD Growing Log
2006 S:Feb 3 Set out 16 plants May 15, brilliant crop outdoors from early August, pest free. Block planted, mulched with straw they seemed to really like that
2007 S: March 26 Set out 6 plants May 20, excellent crop
2008 S: April 7 Set out 6 plants July 4, cropped ok but not enough time to mature and fully crop as in previous years
2009 S March 5. Pricked out 12 plants April 20. Set out 8 plants May 31. Great crop but would have benefitted from moving schedule forward 1 month as in 2006.

Original Seed Source Gondian 
Note 
this is part of a series on favourite varieties  ones that I will continue to grow, save seeds and hopefully produce enough seeds to share. Keeping a variety log is useful particularly  if you want to save the seeds .

Endangered Seed Status
According to the Canadian Seeds of Diversity Heritage Plants Database  this pepper is an endangered one as few seed companies carry it and it is not maintained in the US or Canadian gene bank. However I have found several companies that carry seeds: Thomas Etty-UK, Vilmorin-FR, Gondian-FR

Mas du Diabl;e Original Posted 7/2/2009

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Chilli, Lemon Drop

Lemon Drop pods freshly harvested

Chilli, Capsicum baccatum, Lemon Drop

An Aji variety from Brazil or, according to the Chilliman, its origin is Peru where it is known as ‘Kellu Uchu’. Citrus-flavoured hot lemon yellow chilli pepper. Some sources list this variety as C.chinense but Kokopelli list it as C.baccatum which matches its botanical characteristics.

Chilli Pepper, Lemon Drop Growing

Plants Beautiful arching plants grow to 2-3ft in height. A very productive variety the spreading branches are quickly laden with fruit. The flowers are white star with green markings on the inner petals.

Pods The bright yellow, crinkled, cone-shaped fruits are about 4cm long and 1cm wide and mature from green to yellow. Some sources say in 100 days from transplant but the strain I grow have pods to harvest 3 months from sowing.

Flavour This is a truly unique flavoured chilli with a real sharp and distinct citrus flavour.

Heat A hot chilli Lemon Drop. According to Kokopelli this chilli has a Scoville rating in the 5,000 to 15,000 range making it Heat Level 6 but I think it is hotter and more likely Heat level 7/8. As with most chillis the actual heat of each pod will be affected by the growing conditions.

Use A fantastic chilli adds both heat and citrus tones to all kinds of cooked dishes. Dries well and the Lemon Drop pods make a wonderful and very hot powder.

Lemon Drop Chilli Seed Processing

Seed Saving

Pods have very few seeds sometimes as few as 15. Saving seeds from hot chilli peppers can be painfull, the heat from these chillis burns through gloves and irritates the hands. I find if the chilis are first dried then the stalk end can be broken off and the seeds can be shaken out of the capsules without touching them.

Growing Log

2007 I grew these as a seed Guardian for Association Kokopelli  Sown March 17 (20 seeds) in a 13cm pot of sterlised seed compost covered with vermiculite then placed in an electric heated propagator. Pricked Out April 9  (6 plants) to 7cm pots of sterlised seed compost. Hardened off in unheated polytunnel (12c-30c). Planted Out May 20 6 plants in a single row. Productive from June 20 to November 6 outdoors. Planted 45cm apart. Note these plants have a wide spread and should be spaced 60-75cm apart

2009 Sown Jan 11 (10 seeds)

Note this variety log is part of a series on my favourite varieties; the pick of the crop and the ones that I will continue to grow and save seeds of. I like to keep good records for the varieties I maintain seeds for. See my other variety files

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Chile de Arbol

Capsicum Annuum, Chilli de Arbol

Chilli, Capsicum Annuum, de Arbol also known as Tree Chilli

Origin Oaxaca and Jalisco states in Mexico. According to the chilli database these chillis are sometimes called pico de pajaro (bird beak) or cola de rata (rat tail).
Plants
are extremely vigorous, growing into 5ft tall plants in a single season, hence the name, which in Spanish means tree like.
Fruit
are slender pointed chillis, 1cm wide and 7-10cm long they mature from light green to dark red and are mild to reasonably hot. Thin fleshed they dry well and make lovely wreaths or ‘Ristras’. 
Flavour:
The de arbol has a sharp, distinctive flavour that develops further when the dried pods are roasted in a frying pan for a few minutes.

Heat Hot 7/10
Use:
This chilli is predominantly used to make hot sauces, in Mexico they are fried whole with black beans or roasted until very crisp. These peppers make a good chilli powder after being dried or roasted. The  ground powder is delicious sprinkled on fruit or fresh raw veg salads

Seed Source I got the seeds in a swap.

MDD Growing Log

2009 grew extremely well in an unheated polytunnel producing loads of chillis right through the season. Plants need serious staking, they reached over 6ft in my polytunnel. Outdoors the plants also produced a good crop, quick to ripen. A useful easy to grow chilli.

Note this variety log is part of a series on my favourite varieties; the pick of the crop and the ones that I will continue to grow and save seeds of. I like to keep good records for the varieties I maintain seeds for. See my other variety files

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Chilli, Jalapeño

Chilli, Jalapeno

Capsicum Annuum, Jalapeño

This is one of the classic chillis I would want on my desert island list. Highly productive, easy to grow and a great all purpose mild chilli.

Origin Veracruz state, Mexico 
Plants
are robust and have an upright habit. In the ground they reach 3.5 – 4ft, smaller when grown in pots.
Fruit
pods are 5-7cm long and 2.5-4cm wide tapering to a blunt end, fruit have thick flesh walls sometimes cracked or striated with thin brown lines. Fruit are glossy and mature from green to red in around 70-75 days. 
Flavour
Medium, big flavour strongly capsicum and distinctly Jalapeño, the flesh gets sweeter when red. 
Use:
most commonly used when green either fresh or pickled. In mexico the red jalapeños are smoke-dried and the called chipotles. Fresh jalapeños are an excellent all round not-to-hot chilli 2 or 3 can be thrown into a dish giving great flavour but without making it too hot.

Seed Source The seeds I started with came from a seed saver in Denmark and the variety was perhaps Conchos which may have been an F1. I’ve grown it out and although there is a fair bit of variability all plants produce classic tasting, quite large Jalapeño chillis. I’ll keep going with this strain because I like it the pods remain glossy and do not crack.

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Chilli, Red Habanero

Chilli, Habanero Red Growing 2009

The habanero Capsicum Chinense, type chillis are really something special I love the tropical flavour of the Chinense chillis. This is the standard red habanero it is fairly easy to come by and the most commonly found in markets.

Plants Plants are strong and grow to a height of about 3ft in one season. Fruit grow pendulous on arching branches.
Fruit The pods are 5-7cm long and 4-6cm wide and ripen from light green to this wonderful bright red. Fruit are thin fleshed and scalloped.
Flavour very hot and intensely fruity totally different to annum types. Habaneros can reach a blistering 285,000 SHU Heat level 10 but these ones are more like a Heat Level 7-8/10.
Use A great all round fruity chilli for those who like heat. Wonderful raw in salad dressings and salsas or cooked in sauces and stews. Use with caution very hot.

Capsicum Chinense, Red Habanero Original bought peppers

Seed Source Seeds collected from peppers bought in a market in Barcelona.
Note As with other Chinense varieties plants can be slow growing, these capsicums need a bit more heat and are less tolerant of wind, start earlier and grow a few plants undercover for best results.
Growing Log Grew from market saved seeds in 2009, performed well and grew true to form. Set out a bit late – June 5- would have had a better crop if set out as normal in early May.

Note this variety log is part of a series on my favourite varieties; the pick of the crop and the ones that I will continue to grow and save seeds of. I like to keep good records for the varieties I maintain seeds for. See my other variety files

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Chilli, Amarillo

Capsicum Baccatum, Amarillo

A stunning large orange chilli pepper ripening from green to yellow to a wonderful bright orange colour when fully ripe. Pods are chunky tapering to a point about 11cm long with a crisp flesh and hot fruity flavour.

Fruit are quite pungent and are wonderful fresh but I’ve read they are trditionally dried and powdered. These are pretty hot peppers measuring about 40,000-50,000 SHU Heat Level 7-8 say some sources. I think this may also be known as aji yellow.

Plants are vigorous and quick to germinate forming good solid plants quickly. In 2009 fruit were noticably later to mature than the annum varieties

Seed Source – Seeds collected from peppers bought in a market in Barcelona. Grew out in 2009, performed well and grew true to form but matured very late in the season.

Propagation I think this variety may need to be started early, November – January in humid heat and grown on undercover to provide the long season they need.

Note this variety log is part of a series on my favourite varieties; the pick of the crop and the ones that I will continue to grow and save seeds of. I like to keep good records for the varieties I maintain seeds for and collect information on how best to cultivate them. See my other variety files

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Chilli, Guindilla

These peppers are one of the most commonly used hot peppers in Spain. A great all purpose chilli with good flavour and Medium-Hot heat.

Capsicum Annuum Guindilla

Robust plants produce plenty of 13-16cm long pods. Slim at 2-3cm wide tapering to a point with a slight curve. Fairly quick to mature and tough in adverse conditions. Best eaten fresh either green or red. The red guindilla is dried and used as a flavouring component in dishes such as dried cod al pil pil and gambas al pil pil. It is hot but not as hot as a Cayenne so it is a great all purpose fresh chilli pepper to use when the heat of a Cayenne would be too much.

Seed Source – Seeds collected from peppers bought in a market in Barcelona. Grew out in 2009, performed well and grew true to form.

Note this variety log is part of a series on my favourite varieties; the pick of the crop and the ones that I will continue to grow and save seeds of. I like to keep good records for the varieties I maintain seeds for. See my other variety files

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Chilli, Cayenne


Capsicum annuum, Cayenne , plant

I normally grow at least 6 cayenne plants each years which produce baskets of pods, as nothing I’ve yet grown come close to the Cayennes for drying and making a punchy chilli powder.

Chilli, Cayenne fresh and still green

Chilli, Cayenne fresh and matured to red

Cayenne chillis are one of the most widely grown chillis in the world; popular with both the food industry and kitchen gardeners and I can understand why. They are tough, reliable, productive and easy to grow but most importantly they are brilliant in the kitchen. If I could grow only one chilli in my garden, it would have to be this one because it is the most versatile. The fruit are clean and hot with a lovely sharp capsicum flavour and can be used fresh either green or ripened to red, dried they are even better; the flavour deepens and the colour intensifies. Cayenne have thin fleshed pods so they dry quickly and easily, and the dried pods can be used whole, crumbled or ground into a powder. In powder form it is incredibly useful in the kitchen because it is easier to control the chilli heat by adding a little at a time. If you use a whole pod, the deed is done and you cannot take the heat out but a tiny pinch goes a long way and you can transform a whole meal with just a sprinkle.

Chilli, Cayenne pods harvested and dried

Chilli, Cayenne dried and powdered

See post on Making chilli and paprika powders
Original seed source: Gondian
MDD Growing Log
2004 S: March 27 Set out June 23 Excellent crop (ran butternut squash along base of plants worked well provided root shade.)
2005 S: Feb 11 Set out May 30, excellent crop from 6 plants. From self saved seeds.
2006 S: March 29 Set out June 20, super crop 6 plants.  From self saved seeds
2007 S: March 17 failed crop of seedlings (weather) all but 1 plant and the wild boars turfed it up out on the garden.
2008 S: Sept 24 4 pots in house, greenfly reduced health and only a 2 planted in tunnel.

Scovilles (SHU) are the unit of the measurement of heat in capsicums. Pure capsaicin measures 16,000,000 SHU at the other end of the scale sweet peppers measure zero, a medium heat chilli, like a Jalapeños measures 3,000–6,000 SHU and a hot Habaneros can measure 300,000. Chillis are sometimes given a Heat level from 0 to 10 which is based on the SHU.

Note this variety log is part of a series on my favourite varieties; the pick of the crop and the ones that I will continue to grow and save seeds of. I like to keep good records for the varieties I maintain seeds for. See my other variety files

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