Lifestyle

The hot topic of chillies

Chillies are easy to grow are colourful and don't take up much space.
Chillies are easy to grow are colourful and don't take up much space.

CHILLIES are a popular crop to grow.

They don't take up a lot of space, so it's easy to grow a selection of different varieties in a season.

They are very decorative and are useful in the kitchen.

Chillies originated in South America and have spread throughout the world in the past 500 years or so.

They are now an integral part of the cuisine of many different countries, particularly those with warm climates where they are most readily grown.

The fruit usually start out green and can be harvested at this stage. If left to ripen on the plant, the fruit will turn yellow, orange, purple, black or red, depending on the variety.

The colourful, fully ripe fruit are generally hotter and have a more intense flavour than the green ones.

Chillies enjoy similar conditions to tomatoes and capsicum.

A warm, sunny position in a pot or garden bed is ideal.

They don't need much in the way of care and attention.

They are a warm-season plant and can look a bit shabby during winter.

I usually trim mine back quite hard and let them re-shoot in spring.

They do like a humid environment, so you can plant them quite close together to foster this.

Keeping the soil mulched will also be beneficial.

Chillies make good companions for eggplant, cucumber, tomato, okra, squash, basil, oregano and parsley.

They also like geraniums, petunias, lovage, carrots and onions.

Keep them away from beans, broccoli, cabbage and fennel.

The heat level of the different varieties of chillies is measured in Scoville Units, in a method developed by Wilbur Scoville in 1912.

When you read about the heat of chillies, the Scoville scale is usually translated into a scale of 1-10, with 1 being the mildest and 10 being the hottest.

At the mild end of the heat scale, you will find the Sweet Temptation, scoring a 2-3.

If you like something with a bit of bite, you might enjoy the Jalapenos.

They are cylindrically shaped, about 5-8cm long, and turn from dark green to red when ripe. They get a heat rating of 4-5.

A little further along are the Caysan chillies, a fruit about 5-7cm long, turning bright red when cooked.

I planted one of these last year and found that I used it far more than the habaneros and the birds eyes, because it had some heat but not too much.

After a hard trim in winter, it is coming back nicely and bearing well.

Habaneros are very hot, a 9 on the heat scale.

They are an interesting lantern shape and there are a few different types, producing fruit that may be orange, red, yellow or brown when ripe.

Also up there at the dangerous end of the heat scale is the Birds Eye, a short, tapered, red chilli that is only about 2-3cm long. The bush, to 1-1.5m tall, bears prolifically.

Be careful when handling chillies, as the juice can be highly irritating to the skin and the eyes.

 

>> To read more lifestyle stories

Topics:  crops garden gardening lifestyle plants



What $68,000 will do for Fraser Coast community groups

Council allocated funding to different community groups on the Fraser Coast.

Funds were allocated by the council at Thursday's meeting.

Watch out for counterfeit notes on the Fraser Coast

Between 2.20pm and 2.40pm on September 9  unknown female suspects used four counterfeit notes to fraudulently obtain groceries in Hervey Bay.

It's not just staff at large supermarkets who need to be wary.

Mum tells how she lost six dress sizes

TRANSFORMATION: Jacinta Dickenson dropped six dress sizes in 18 months.

In just 18 months, Jacinta Dickenson turned her life around.

Local Partners

How Toowoomba blogger made $400 in two days

DOCUMENTING her everyday life as a wife and mother, Bindy Scott was surprised to see the most unexpected blog posts had collected her new followers

Migaloo vs 'Spinesy': Which do you love the most?

Migaloo and 'Spinesy' the Echidna

Which beautiful creature won the hearts of Australia?

You do know you’re dead after you die

Several studies have recorded brain activity after a person has died

One of life's big questions: What happens when I die?

Meet our unconvential Miss World contender

“I believe that everyone has equal rights”: Voloder Picture: Christian Gilles

Miss World contender Esma Voloder opens up on same-sex marriage

Samsung's new 360 camera has 17 lenses and cost $US10k

The 360 Round has been designed for the VR specialist.

The 360 Round has been designed for the VR specialist

Bizarre photo app no one was asking for

Picture: Tim Carrafa

This could be the worst idea for an app ever.

No more smokes, grog, fatty foods for Rockhampton MP

LIFESTYLE CHANGE: Rockhampton MP Bill Byrne.

Bill completely changes his lifestyle to save his life