The life and times of chillies
There are lots of different types of chillies and they come in all shapes, sizes and colours.
There are tiny, pointed, extremely hot varieties, bird’s eye ones and, also, the larger, milder fleshy pepper types.
So, if you would like to grow your own, then think about how you are going to use it or, indeed, if you just would like to have a good-looking plant for your kitchen windowsill?
Originally grown in, and indigenous to, much warmer climes, it was the Spanish with their conquest of Latin America and the West Indies that introduced them to the rest of the world.
Before European’s started growing them, they had been cultivated in Latin America for thousands of years in countries such as Mexico.
But it wasn’t just chillies that the New World explorers brought back to Europe. They also brought vanilla, chocolate, tomatoes, avocados and a whole host of bean varieties. All of which have had a massive impact on European cuisine.
More than 400 different chillies are now grown worldwide. Some of the more commonly available fresh chillies include jalapeño, Serrano, poblano, yellow wax, bird’s eye, habarnero and cayenne.
If you’ve missed the chance to sow your own seeds this year or to pick up a plant, then make a note in your diary for 2018 that seeds need to be sown in March. Plants are usually available in May and June.