Feel the heat of the Open Sourcerer

OK. Sorry for the bad title but I couldn’t think of a better one.

This is very off-topic but something I really, really love (even more than free software probably): The Chilli. I really get a kick out of hot food and I also enjoy growing them too.

Today, the 11 October, was a sunny warm day for the time of year and it seemed the right day to reap the harvest from my small greenhouse.

Chillies from The Open Sourcerer

Chillies from The Open Sourcerer

I had 6 plants in total grown from seed which were started off in late February. My BW has helped nurture them through our rather damp and grey summer and the results have not been too bad. I have been consuming chilli straight from the plant for the last couple of months and have also given some to friends/family too so, so I am quite pleased with the crop although the harvest wasn’t a large as some years in the past.

The larger round chilli (top left) is an Italian variety my Sister-in-law bought for me last Christmas. What a great present! A tiny pack of seeds and from it I get these really nice peppers. Thick fleshed, good slightly fruity flavour, not too hot [for me at least!]. Perfect for Arrabiata or Piccante sauces with pasta or sliced on Pizza.

The long chilli is the very well known Cayenne (top right). These are typically used to make a great spice powder that is usually known as Cayenne Pepper and this is not the same as regular Chilli Powder. They taste great, not too hot once again, but are great grilled and eaten whole or added, at the last minute, to curries. The plant these chillies came from I actually bought from the Chilli Fiesta at West Dean Gardens. I try to go every year. It’s a chilli lover’s delight and attracts many thousands of visitors in just two days.

The small chilli are all very hot and will be eaten throughout the coming winter in stews, curries and anything else that I can squeeze them into. My family – especially the kids – don’t really like heat that much so it is one of those foods that I mainly get to indulge in all by myself.

Preserving them is pretty easy. The big chillies will be dried in the airing cupboard then stored in a dark place along with all my other spices. Once dried they will keep almost indefinitely it seems.

Here are some I prepared earlier. These have been drying for about a month in the airing cupboard and are now totally bone-dry.

Dried Cayenne Peppers

Dried Cayenne Peppers

The small chillies I simply washed, cleaned, dried and put into small bags and they have gone in the freezer. This is a great way to keep them. Just take out a few when you need them and by the time you have got from the freezer to the chopping board they have nearly fully defrosted and are almost as good as they were when picked. As these small chillies generally get cooked and are for flavour not texture, the cell damage caused by freezing is not really an issue. Again, they seem to keep almost indefinitely.

If I had had a larger crop, I would have made some Chilli Pickles too. This is a brilliant way of preserving them and is just fantastic in a cheese sandwich. I still have some Chilli Oil Pickle in the cupboard that I made about 15 years ago. It still tastes great too!

Next year I have a real treat in store 🙂

At the Chilli Fiesta this August I managed to find seeds for the Naga Bih Jolokia. This was the first year they have become available to the consumer apparently. I hadn’t seen them before at any rate. In late January or early February I will start them off indoors to give them the longest possible growing season. Hopefully this time next year, I’ll be writing and showing off some home-grown Nagas…



  • Alan Bell says:

    just thinking of chillis makes my mouth water. Yummy yummy.

  • Chris Ward says:

    re: UK government and open source, your comment on Bob Sutor’s blog

    For reference, here’s the link Chris refers to: http://www.sutor.com/newsite/blog-open/?p=2670#comments

    They seem to have the mistaken impression that IBM will invest in OS/2 in order to compete with Microsoft Windows, and that IBM will invest in Lotus SmartSuite in order to compete with Microsoft Office.

    However, that’s like thinking IBM will invest in typewriters. Did once, doesn’t now, probably never will again.

    Linux, OpenOffice, and Lotus Notes is the way. Well, we all have our crosses to bear 🙁

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