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A brief history of chillies
and the sauces
       made from them Add Your 

Did you know that Chile peppers are perhaps the first plants to be domesticated in Central America, where there is evidence we know that they were consumed in 7500 BC.
Mexico and northern Central America is thought to be the centre of origin of Capsicum annuum, and South America of Capsicum frutescens.
  Chili peppers originated in Mexico. After the Columbian Exchange, many cultivars of chili pepper spread across the world, used in both food and medicine. Chilies were brought to Asia by Portuguese navigators during the 16th century.  

Every chiili that we know today would have originated from one of these.
The Chinese varitys got to China its said to be belived by traders that moved to Asia these were Spanish or Portuguese traders. But their actual trajectories remain a mystery.
This being said, The chili pepper is eaten by more than a quarter of the world's population each day, making it "the most used spice and condiment in the world.

The substances that give chili peppers their intensity when ingested or applied topically are capsaicin and several related chemicals, collectively called capsaicinoids.
  This being said me being a chef its great that some many diffrent countries have their own 
classic sauces using chiili. Here is a few examples you may know some 

Arrabbiata sauce, This from Italy is a tomato-based sauce for pasta always including dried hot chilies.
Curry as we know these dishes usually contain fresh or dried chillies.
Chiles en nogada from the puebla region of Mexico uses fresh mild chilies stuffed with meat and covered with a creamy nut-thickened sauce.
Kung pao chicken gōng bǎo jī dīng) from the Sichun region of China
This is a favourite dish of mine and it uses small hot dried chilies briefly fried in oil to add spice to the oil then used for frying.
Mole poblano another classic favourite of mine. This dish comes from the city of Puebla in Mexico uses several varieties of dried chilies, nuts, spices, and fruits to produce a thick, dark sauce for poultry or other meats.
Nam phrikare traditional Thai chili pastes and sauces, This is  prepared with chopped fresh or dry chilies, and additional ingredients such as fish sauce, lime juice, and herbs, but also fruit, meat or seafood.
Ndujaa more typical example of Italian spicy specialty, Very tasty on warm crusty bread. This is from the region of Calabria, is a soft pork sausage made "hot" by the addition of the locally grown variety of jalapeño chili.
Puttanesca sauce, This is a tomato-based sauce with olives, capers, anchovy and, sometimes, chilies.

Paprikash this is from Hungary. It uses significant amounts of mild, ground, and dried chillies, known as paprika, in a braised chicken dish.
  Paprykarz szczeciński, This is a Polish fish paste with rice, onion, tomato concentrate, vegetable oil, chili pepper powder and other spices.
Som tam, This is a green papaya salad from Thai and Lao cuisine, traditionally has, as a key ingredient, a fistful of chopped fresh hot Thai chili, pounded in a mortar.
Sambal terasi or sambal belacan, This is a traditional Indonesian and Malay hot condiment. It's made by frying a mixture of mainly pounded dried chillies, with garlic, shallots, and fermented shrimp paste. It is customarily served with rice dishes and is especially popular when mixed with crunchy
pan-roasted ikan teri or ikan bilis (sun-dried anchovies to you and me), when it is known as sambal teri or sambal ikan bilis. Various sambal variants existed in Indonesian archipelago, among others are sambal badjak, sambal oelek, sambal pete (prepared with green stinky beans) and sambal pencit (prepared with unripe green mango).
Nowadays, fresh or dried chilies are often used to make a hot sauce, a liquid condiment—usually bottled when commercially available—that adds spice to other dishes. Hot sauces are found in many cuisines including harissa from North Africa, chili oil from China (known as rāyu in Japan), and sriracha from Thailand.

Being a sauce maker myself I found this very intresting how many different  sauces I've eaten with out giving it much thought as to where they have been developed.



A guide to growing chillies 

Sowing Seeds
In the UK, we normally sow seeds around February some people sow around December to give the plants a good head start for the next coming season but that’s a different story. I mainly sow seeds during February and no later than March. There is a great variance in the number days taken for a particular variety to reach maturity. Remember that varieties such as Habaneros take 100 or more days (3 1/2 months) from potting on to reach maturity. Some can produce ripe fruit in 60 days from sowing and others take as long as 120 days. Especially the super hots that we all know and love.

There is three ways that I have sown seeds with great success on all.

First; on a damp piece of kitchen paper and by keeping the kitchen towel moist and warm the seeds will pop in an airing cupboard. Once the seeds have germinated they need to be potted on. This is a fiddly way of sowing but you can see how the seeds are progressing.
Secondly; popping seeds straight in to a soil based compost and water lightly as needed.
This can be achieved in a heated propagator or in any container with some grow medium in with drainage holes. Pop it in an airing cupboard to keep warm.
Thirdly; rock wool this is my favourite method of sowing seeds. Soak the cubes in water and allow draining. Then poke a hole in the middle and pop a seed in. pinch the top over and place in a heated propagator.

To achieve Good germination and speedy rates then I recommend a thermostatically controlled grow, this is best achieved in a heated propagator. The best temperature for sowing seeds is 27oc to 32oc.
you can germinate seeds as low as 21oc but we are talking optimum results here.
At these temperatures you should be popping around 10/14 days for most seed varieties but some can take as long as 5 weeks.

Its best to surface water with the when germinating or with seedlings. You can do this with a spray bottle. It’s best to do this because it has a much lower impact on the temperature of the compost. Always allow to dry out between watering don’t make them swim. For growing I recommend that you use soil-based seed and potting-on composts this way you should have good drainage. Your chillies will really appreciate this.
After Germination
after the seeds have germinated they can be potted on for this I would use a 3inch pot.
This is easy when using rock wool as you won’t disturb the roots by pricking out.
Now they should be moved to a sunny windowsill or ideally under a grow light. If you’re moving out side you should have some kind of heat source. At this stage keep the soil warm and moist and well ventilated if your growing inside it’s a good idea to have a small fan on low for a couple of hours a day. This will simulate a breeze and strengthen the stems on the plants.

Potting on
when the plants are about 5 to 6 inches tall or have about 5 sets pairs of leaves, it’s a good idea to re pot them on to a bigger pot. At this stage you can move on to 9/12 inch pots. Include in your potting mix some coco coir  perlite and   
Vermiculite with some soil in your compost. 

When they are ready to go out to your green house you will need to provide some shade for the young plants for a while.
This will save them from being scorched by the sun. Don’t forget your plants get bigger you will need to support them with either canes or a cage. This will prevent them toppling or snapping as they get bigger.

Feeding your plants
Be careful not to feed your plants too much nitrogen, the reason for this is they will grow and grow and not set any pods. The best feeds I’ve found were a good seaweed multipurpose feed, Epsom salts and I’ve used eco charge as a top dressing.

Getting the flowers to set fruit
if you can, you want to aim to keep your plants below 36oc. Keep on top of your watering but let your plants dry out in-between watering this is a fine line as I’ve found out. See what routine works for your grow medium.  This should help along with the feeding to prevent blossom drop or worse case pod drop. If you do get flower drop it can be a number of factors, firstly it can be a lack of humidity in your Polly tunnel or green house. If this is the case use a mister to give them a spray it works best to do this at the end of the night early evening so the plant can absorb what it need and not battle against the heat of the sun. A lack of feed could be another factor so have a look at your feeding routine.
Giving the plants a gentle shake to get the pollen won’t hurt either to get the flowers to set.

Picking pods
Different varieties are picked at different stages of their development. Fruits that start yellow or green generally ripen to red, though green chillies will sometimes ripen to orange or yellow it all depends on the variety. Usually, and regardless of the colour once they have filled out and become firm crisp and glossy they can be picked. It’s all down to you to experiment by picking one to see if it has all its heat and flavour. The sooner you pick the more the plant will produce so even if you don't need them at the time you should pick them and keep them in the freezer until you do.

Most chilli plants can be treated as perennial house plants, but will need some pruning in the winter.
Cut them back slowly as the season come to an end. Then you can remove from the pots and trim the roots to encourage fresh root growth for next season when re potted on. They won’t need to be watered much as will go into a dormant state but will need lots of warmth.

This is only a guide from my experience from my mistakes and advice given to me.
All the best and happy growing !!