Plant and Seed Shop

Chilli Pepper Seeds and Plants for Sale
Chili, Chile, Chillie

Plants and seeds to buy online, the availability of many plants is seasonal


Chilli Pepper 'Cheyenne' F1 Hybrid (Hot) - 1 packet (10 chilli pepper seeds)

£ 0.99

A compact, bushy, early ripening variety, Chili Pepper Cheyenne grows to a height of 45cm (18in). Ideal grown in growbags or containers, making an attractive feature on the patio. Chili Pepper Cheyenne produces masses of medium sized green, turning orange fruits throughout the summer

Chilli Pepper 'Paper Lantern' - 1 packet (10 chilli pepper seeds)

£ 1.69

More productive and earlier ripening than a standard habenero - you can expect fruits ready to pick up to a fortnight quicker. The fiery fruits (scoville rating of 250,000) are 5-7cm long, mid green in colour turning an orangey red and finally a rosy red on full maturity. Paper Lantern is best grown in large pots or with two plants per growbag in the greenhouse for the earliest fruits, or in a sunny sheltered spot outdoors if you don't mind waiting a little longer. Renowned for being blisteringl

Chilli Pepper 'Cayenne Long Slim'

£ 1.75

Chilli pepper 'Cayenne Long Slim' (Caspicum annuum) is the best known hot Chilli pepper, much used for flavouring exotic meat dishes and sauces. The fruit ripens to a bright red. Chilli peppers can be preserved. Perfect for deep freezing and for pickling.

Chilli Pepper Scotch Bonnet Big Sun 1 Pre-Planted Container

£ 12.99

Bring a little extra heat to your cooking.This 23cm container is already pre-planted with Scotch Bonnet Big Sun. This heavy yielding plant will provide you with an excellent supply of Very Hot yellow fruit. Perfect if you like your food with an extra kick!

Chilli Pepper Scotch Bonnet Red 1 Pre-Planted Container

£ 12.99

Not for the faint hearted!A 23cm container already pre-planted with the fiery Scotch Bonnet Red. This heavy yielding plant will provide you with an excellent supply of Very Hot red fruit. Great if you love your curries with attitude!

Chilli Pepper Paper Lantern 1 Pre-Planted Container

£ 12.99

Bring a little extra heat to your cooking.A 23cm container pre-planted with Chilli Pepper Paper Lantern, an early fruiting habanero type variety producing a good crop of very hot red fruits.

Chilli Pepper Apache F1 1 Pre Planted Container

£ 12.99

Perfect for cooking and saladsThis 23cm container, pre-planted with Chilli Pepper Apache, a F1 variety, is perfect for the patio and will produce a medium hot red fruit.

Chilli Pepper Basket of Fire 1 Pre Planted Container

£ 12.99

Gorgeous medium hot chilliesSchoville heat rating approx. 80,000shuMild/mediumA prolific fruiting variety which is dripping with small hot fruits on a compact leafy semi-trailing plant. The fruits mature from deep purple through cream and orange to mature to a bright red. Basket of Fire's unique plant habit makes it a perfect choice for hanging baskets and containers. The plants have a good tolerance to cooler weather lasting well into the autumn. Harvested fruits are easy to dry as well as bein

Chilli Pepper Cayenetta 1 Pre Planted Container

£ 12.99

A good all round performerSchoville heat rating approx. 20,000shuMedium hotCayenetta is a compact branching cayenne type chilli. It has a very neat, attractive habit and produces a large crop of bright red 4 inch tapered fruits underneath the attractive leaf canopy. The fruits are medium/mild in heat. Cayenetta has tolerance to both very hot and cold seasons making it a good all round performer in any garden.

Chilli Pepper Potted Plant Collection

£ 12.99

If you are a chilli fan this collection is just for you. The plants on offer vary in heat and character so there's something for most tastes. They range from very hot to medium in heat with flavours from spicy to fruity and in varying colours too. The varieties are compact and can be grown anywhere with warmth - even on a sunny windowsill. One plant each of: Nasu Big Sun Joes Long Sunrise Cayenne Super Chilli Grown as established plants in 9 cm pots

Windowsill 9cm Herb Collection + FREE 9cm Chilli pepper

£ 12.99

Fantastic Offer + FREE Chilli PepperThis collection contains 5x 9cm pots each wiht a different herb, specially chosen for you! To top it off, we have included a FREE 9cm Chilli Pepper 'Basket of Fire'. See below to check which herbs are included.

Chilli Pepper Scotch Bonnet Big Sun 2 Pre-Planted Containers

£ 19.98

Bring a little extra heat to your cooking.This 23cm container is already pre-planted with Scotch Bonnet Big Sun. This heavy yielding plant will provide you with an excellent supply of Very Hot yellow fruit. Perfect if you like your food with an extra kick!

Chilli Pepper Apache F1 2 Pre Planted Container

£ 19.98

Perfect for cooking and salads.This 23cm container, pre-planted with Chilli Pepper Apache, a F1 variety, is perfect for the patio and will produce a medium hot red fruit.

Chilli Pepper 'Numex Twilight' - 1 packet (10 chilli pepper seeds)

£ 2.19

Simply stunning as an 'ornamental edible'; fruits ripen from purple to yellow to orange to red, providing colour as well as hundreds of small, upright 20mm (0.75in) peppers. Superb in a container on the patio, the attractive dark leaves will show off the vivid colours of the fruits

Chilli Pepper 'Padron' (Medium - The Tapas Pepper) - 1 packet (10 chilli pepper seeds)

£ 2.19

Enjoy this Spanish culinary experience fresh from your own garden. Chili Pepper Padro is ieal picked when small and green for low levels of heat, as the heat increases as the fruits get larger and continue to mature to red. Also known as the Tapas Pepper, Chili Pepper Padro is excellent added to stirfries. Padron is from the Pimientos de Padron, brought to northern Spain by Mexican monks in the 18th century

Chilli Pepper 'Poblana Ancho' (Mild) - 1 packet (10 chilli pepper seeds)

£ 2.19

The mildest chili, ideal for more delicate tastebuds The large, shiny, bottle-green fruits of Chili Pepper Poblana Ancho are mildly pungent with a tinge of sweetness and ideal for stuffing and roasting. Fully ripe red fruits are ideal for powders and sauces. Chili Pepper Poblana Ancho produces generous yields throughout the season. Suitable for greenhouse, conservatory or outdoors

Chilli Pepper 'Loco' F1 Hyrbid - 1 packet (6 chilli pepper seeds)

£ 2.49

A stunning 'ornamental edible' for the windowsill, patio container or hanging basket. Compact habit with masses of eye-catching, small, oval purple fruits sitting above the foliage and turning red on maturity. From British breeding and suitable for indoor, outdoor or greenhouse growing. Just spicy enough to add a kick to your cooking.

Chilli Pepper 'Tabasco' (Very Hot) - 1 packet (15 chilli pepper seeds)

£ 2.49

Small, upright yellow-green fruits about 1in. long turning scarlet when ripe. Chili Pepper 'Tabascois extremely hot

Chilli Pepper 'Fuego' F1 Hybrid (Hot) - Vita Sementi Italian Seeds - 1 packet (20 chilli pepper seeds)

£ 2.69

A Cayenne type of hot pepper, Peperone Fuego has 15cm long, tapering fruits, which turn from green to fiery red. The compact, upright plant habit of Peperone Fuego produces fruits in abundance on short internodes. Pick regularly throughout the summer.

Chilli Pepper 'Joe's Long' (Hot) - 1 packet (10 chilli pepper seeds)

£ 2.69

Chili Pepper Joe's Long produces unbelievably long, slender, cayenne-style fruits with strong pungency, excellent for hot sauces or for drying to make powders. Fruits ripen dark bottle-green to red. High yielding, Chili Pepper Joe's Long produces fruits up to 25cm (10 inches) long. Bushy plants for indoor or outdoor growing

Chilli Pepper 'Prairie Fire' (Hot) - 1 packet (20 chilli pepper seeds)

£ 2.69

These peppers might look small, but they certainly make up for size when it comes to flavour One bushy plant will give you a non-stop summer crop of literally hundreds of mini, extremely hot peppers. (Capsicum annuum)

Chilli Pepper 'Summer Heat' F1 Hybrid (Hot - Jalapeno) - 1 packet (10 chilli pepper seeds)

£ 2.69

The Pizza Pepper. An earlier ripening Jalapeno with longer, slightly tapered, 9cm (3.5in) fruits. Traditionally the fruits are picked green, but can be left to ripen red. The unusual 'scarredskin of Jalapeno Summer Heat is a desired trait of Mexican Jalapenos. Jalapeno Summer Heat is suitable for growing in a greenhouse or outdoors. Prefers a moist, rich, well drained soil in warm conditions. Flavour guide: Hot pungency. Ideal for Pizzas

Chilli Pepper 'Super Chili' (Hot) - 1 packet (10 chilli pepper seeds)

£ 2.89

Superb Thai variety with a very compact habit, Chili Super Chili is ideal for growing in pots on the windowsill or in containers on a sunny patio. Each highly decorative plant of Chili Super Chili carries a huge number of slender, pointed lime-green fruits which turn red, increasing their potency. Ideal grown on a windowsill, in a greenhouse or on the patio. Seeds are in the RHS Vegetable Collection

Chilli Pepper 'Cayennetta' F1 Hybrid - 1 packet (8 chilli pepper seeds)

£ 2.99

Up to 300 bayonet-shaped cayenne peppers per plant Britishbred for its compact habit and ideal for baskets or containers, Cayennetta is an eye-catching 'ornamental edible' providing a non-stop supply of flavoursome fruits, ripening from green to red throughout the summer

Chilli Pepper 'Heatwave' (Hot) - 1 packet (25 chilli pepper seeds)

£ 2.99

Thanks to Columbus who is credited with discovering the cayenne pepper, gardeners and cooks can enjoy the pleasure of this mixture containing red, yellow and orange. Beautifully ornamental and offering a 'mind blowinghot flavour experience. Most suitable for greenhouse culture. (Capsicum annuum)

Chilli Pepper 'Krakatoa' F1 Hybrid (Hot) - 1 packet (6 chilli pepper seeds)

£ 2.99

Capsicum annuum. Compact 'ornamental edibleon the windowsill or outside in a sunny spot, producing masses of upright pale green, turning vivid red chillies throughout the summer. Chili Pepper Krakatoa makes an attractive and edible feature on a windowsill or sunny patio

Chilli Pepper 'Tropical Heat' (Atomic) - 1 packet (20 chilli pepper seeds)

£ 2.99

Chili Pepper Tropical Heat is a tantalising mix of Caribbean Habenero red and orange plus the yellow and red Scotch Bonnets. All fruits are green prior to ripening and have a very hot, fiery pungency at maturity

Chilli Peppers - Medium Hot Collection 15 Seeds

£ 2.99

Tasty Chilli Peppers - perfect for cooking Chilli Pepper Apache F1: a medium hot, red Chilli. Great for the patio as it is perfect for growing in pots or growbags. Chilli Pepper Basket of Fire: A prolific fruiting variety which is dripping with small hot fruits on a compact leafy semi-trailing plant. The fruits mature from deep purple to cream and orange to bright red. Chilli Pepper Cayenetta: a compact branching cayenne type chilli. It has a very neat, attractive habit and produces a large crop

Chilli Pepper F1 15 Seeds

£ 2.99

A Chili Pepper Mix of SeedsChilli Pepper Apache F1: a medium hot, red Chilli. Great for the patio, can be grown in pots of growbags. Chilli Pepper Cheyenne F1: Suitable for growing inside or out, can be grown in growbags or containers. Green to orange Chillies. Chilli Pepper Chenzo: a mild, purple Chilli. Ideal for the patio, can be grown in pots or growbags.This selection of chilli peppers are ideal for those who want a mixture of varieties of peppers while keeping cost at a minimum. These chil

Chilli Peppers - Very Hot Collection 15 Seeds

£ 2.99

Tasty Chilli Peppers - perfect for cooking Chilli Pepper Scotch Bonnet Red: An extremely hot variety of Chilli Pepper producing large red globular shaped fruits. Ideal for sauces and cooking. Chilli Pepper Scotch Bonnet Big Sun: A very heavy cropping, very hot Chilli Pepper, Masses of green fruits ripening to yellow are produced. Chilli Pepper Paper Lantern: Very Hot, Habenero type red fruits are produced in abundance. An early maturing variety.This collection of chilli peppers have 3 different

Chilli Pepper 'Pot Black' - 1 packet (5 chilli pepper seeds)

£ 3.29

Stunning British-bred 'ornamental edible' - a very attractive chili pepper which looks great in a pot on the windowsill or on the patio. Lush dark leaves and a lovely display of purple flowers are followed by 3-4cm (1-1.5in) black fruits which ripen to red over time. Peppers are medium hot with a wonderful intense flavour and will pack a punch in a variety of dishes.

Chilli Pepper 'Demon Red' (Very Hot) - 1 packet (8 chilli pepper seeds)

£ 3.69

Bred for growing on a windowsill or in patio containers. Chili Pepper Demon Red produces attractive, very dwarf plants, for edible and ornamental use. The flowers and upward pointing fruits of Chili Pepper Demon Red start green and turn bright red, are produced throughout the season. Prolific yields throughout the season, indoors or outside

Chilli Pepper 'Inferno' F1 Hybrid (Moderately Hot) - 1 packet (10 chilli pepper seeds)

£ 3.99

Hungarian Hot Wax hybrid, Chili Pepper Inferno produces an early bumper crops over a long season on compact plants. Fruits are large, smooth skinned, pale lime green turning red. Chili Pepper Inferno is ideal for roasting and frying

Chilli Pepper 'Naga Jolokia' (Very hot) - 1 packet (6 chilli pepper seeds)

£ 3.99

Officially recognised as the world's hottest chilli pepper, measured at just over one million scoville heat units (SHU). Extensively cultivated in Assam region of India. Best grown in a container under glass as needs a long growing season. Fruits pale lime green turning an orangey red. Use sparingly and with care

Chilli Pepper Loco 1 Plant 9cm Pot

£ 4.99

Presenting a colourful displaySchoville heat rating approx. 24,000shuMildCompact branching plants that carry a heavy yield of oval fruits which ripen from purple to bright red. The upright fruits appear above the foliage and the spread maturity presents a colourful display.

Chilli Pepper Cayenetta 1 Plant 9cm Pot

£ 4.99

Perfect choice for hanging basketsSchoville heat rating approx. 20,000shuMildCayenetta is a compact branching cayenne type chilli. It has a very neat, attractive habit and produces a large crop of bright red 4 inch tapered fruits underneath the attractive leaf canopy. The fruits are mild in heat. Cayenetta has tolerance to both very hot and cold seasons making it a good all round performer in any garden.

Chilli Pepper Chenzo 1 Plant 9cm Pot

£ 4.99

Perfect choice for hanging basketsSchoville heat rating approx. 20,000shuMildCayenetta is a compact branching cayenne type chilli. It has a very neat, attractive habit and produces a large crop of bright red 4 inch tapered fruits underneath the attractive leaf canopy. The fruits are mild in heat. Cayenetta has tolerance to both very hot and cold seasons making it a good all round performer in any garden.

Chilli Pepper Jolokia Red 1 Plant 9cm Pot

£ 4.99

Very Very HotSchoville heat rating approx. 600,000 to 1,200,000. Very Very HotThe king of the Chillies with many names and most commonly known as the Ghost.. It is commonly grown in North eastern part of India and is grown more for its medicinal purposes than its cooking. Warning is careful to handle as it is one of the hottest in the world.

Chilli Pepper Apache 1 Plant 9cm Pot

£ 4.99

Perfect choice for hanging basketsSchoville heat rating approx. 80,000shuMild/mediumA very attractive compact Chilli Pepper producing masses of medium strength, bright red fruit. Apache is a very adaptable plant that will grow happily in most container sizes. Apache can also be kept very compact for use as a Bonsai plant.

Chilli Pepper Jolokia Bhut Chocolate 1 Plant 9cm Pot

£ 4.99

One of the HOTTEST in the worldSchoville heat rating approx. 600,000 to 1,200,000. Very Very HotThe king of the Chillies with many names and most commonly known as the Ghost.It is commonly grown in North eastern part of India and is grown more for its medicinal purposes than its cooking. Warning is careful to handle as it is one of the hottest in the world.

Chilli Pepper Apache 1 Plant 2 Litre Pot

£ 6.49

Masses of medium strength fruitSchoville heat rating approx. 80,000shuMild/mediumA very attractive compact Chilli Pepper producing masses of medium strength, bright red fruit. Apache is a very adaptable plant that will grow happily in most container sizes. Apache can also be kept very compact for use as a Bonsai plant.

Chilli Pepper Basket of Fire 1 Plant 2 Litre Pot

£ 6.49

Perfect choice for hanging basketsSchoville heat rating approx. 80,000shuMild/mediumA prolific fruiting variety which is dripping with small hot fruits on a compact leafy semi-trailing plant. The fruits mature from deep purple through cream and orange to mature to a bright red. Basket of Fire's unique plant habit makes it a perfect choice for hanging baskets and containers. The plants have a good tolerance to cooler weather lasting well into the autumn. Harvested fruits are easy to dry as well a

Chilli Pepper Cayenetta 1 Plant 2 Litre Pot

£ 6.49

A good all round performerSchoville heat rating approx. 20,000shuMildCayenetta is a compact branching cayenne type chilli. It has a very neat, attractive habit and produces a large crop of bright red 4 inch tapered fruits underneath the attractive leaf canopy. The fruits are mild in heat. Cayenetta has tolerance to both very hot and cold seasons making it a good all round performer in any garden.

Chilli Peppers - Medium Hot Collection 6 Large Plants

£ 6.99

Tasty Chili Peppers - perfect for cooking Chilli Pepper Apache F1: a medium hot, red Chilli. Great for the patio as it is perfect for growing in pots or growbags. Chilli Pepper Basket of Fire: A prolific fruiting variety which is dripping with small hot fruits on a compact leafy semi-trailing plant. The fruits mature from deep purple to cream and orange to bright red. Chilli Pepper Cayenetta: a compact branching cayenne type chilli. It has a very neat, attractive habit and produces a large crop

Chilli Peppers - Very Hot Collection 6 Large Plants

£ 6.99

Tasty Chilli Peppers - perfect for cooking Chilli Pepper Scotch Bonnet Red: An extremely hot variety of Chilli Pepper producing large red globular shaped fruits. Ideal for sauces and cooking. Chilli Pepper Scotch Bonnet Big Sun: A very heavy cropping, very hot Chilli Pepper, Masses of green fruits ripening to yellow are produced. Chilli Pepper Paper Lantern: Very Hot, Habenero type red fruits are produced in abundance. An early maturing variety.This collection of chilli peppers have 3 different

Chilli 'Heatwave Collection' - 6 jumbo plug plants - 2 of each colour

£ 9.99

Harvest from July to October. Chilli Pepper 'Heatwave' is a fiery mix producing hot fruits in shades of red, yellow and orange. Beautifully ornamental and offering a 'mind blowing' hot flavour experience, this Cayenne is most suitable for greenhouse culture.
Chillis can be easily grown from seed and cultivated at home

Why grow chillies at home?

   Cost - you won't want to pay £1+ for a supermarket bag of 3-4 again once you realise how easy it is to grow them.

   Flavour - as with any home-grown produce, they will be better than anything you get from the supermarket.

   Satisfaction - the intangible joy of cutting a chilli or two from your own plant immediately before adding it to your food instead of taking it from the packet in the fridge. You don't need many plants to be self-sufficient all year round, the first year I grew chillies I had them in the freezer until May the following year, just a couple of months before the next crop were ready, and I get through quite a lot!

Sowing - They should be sown on new seed compost (yes it does make a difference, don't use multi-purpose compost) ideally in a propagator at 18-21C (65-70F), but in a warm position otherwise. They should be sown fairly early in the season, March or April, though February isn't too early as long as you are able to accommodate them once growing and keep them sheltered. Cover the seeds very lightly (their own depth) with compost or vermiculite and provide light as this helps germination.

Cover the pot or seed tray with cling film to keep the compost moist, the compost itself doesn't need to be very deep, 1" (2.5cm) max is fine as long as you prick them out fairly soon after germination which will take 7-14 days.

1st transplantation - Prick out the seedlings when they are big enough for you to handle into individual 3" (7.5cm) pots. Keep them in a bright frost-free place, a greenhouse or conservatory is ideal, early in the year excess heat will make them grow weak and spindly without the light to bring them on, so not a warm room.

Final positions - Give them enough space so they get lots of light and make sure the leaves of adjacent plants don't over-lap. When they have filled the small pot (check under the pot for signs of emerging roots) they can be put into larger pots I use 2L or preferably 3L, though you can put three into a grow-bag. A thin cane for support helps here, tie the plant loosely to the cane.

Chilli plants like sheltered conditions more than they like loads of sunlight, sheltered and bright is better than not-sheltered and sunny. Of course sheltered and sunny is even better (though watch for overheating and scorching). A sunny windowsill will suffice if it's all you've got and you'll get a reasonable crop of chillies from this position, though as the light only comes from one direction, it won't be as good as somewhere that the light comes from all directions.

You may be able to grow them outdoors depending on where you live, if you do, then put them in the most sheltered bright spot you have. I've had them grow tall with loads of foliage outdoors (in Cambridgeshire) but hardly set any fruit, whereas under shelter with less light they don't grow as large but have lots of peppers.

Feed them like you would tomato plants when they start to set fruit with a high potash fertiliser.

They will start to fruit from mid-summer onwards and well into the autumn. Like sweet peppers there aren't green and coloured varieties, the green ones are just unripe coloured ones. To some extent the strength of the chilli builds up with time, it is also dependent on how much light the plant gets (light = energy to make flavour). I suggest you cut and try a green one when it's grown for a while to see what yours are like, though I think that all chillies benefit from being allowed to ripen properly.

Storage - I like to leave the peppers on the plants until I need them and cut them for use, though even if you are moderately unsuccessful you will have more than you can use immediately. They can be left on the plants for a long time, I finally cut all mine off last year just before Christmas, they will start to shrivel and dry out eventually. On the other hand, cutting them when green or when just ripened will encourage the plant to make more chillis while leaving them on the plant will slow production down.

You could dry them but I find that freezing works better. Put them into a sealable plastic container and just take out what you need, they thaw quickly and are easier to cut than when dried.

Drying is the traditional way of storing chillis and you will see many recipes (especially Mexican) that call specifically for dried chillis. I suspect the reason is of convenience rather than anything else. In a hot climate without refrigeration it works well and there really is no alternative. You can try drying easily enough, make sure the peppers are kept whole with a bit of stalk attached so that all the oils and flavours don't escape. Let them dry slowly and naturally on a sunny windowsill, don't chop them before storing them. Store them in an air tight jar or similar and ideally use within 6 or 12 months. Cut them up as needed from dry or soak them in water for 30 mins or so before using them.

Overwintering the plants - Though they are often grown as half hardy annuals, chilli plants are actually perennials and so can be overwintered successfully to grow again next season. They are very sensitive not only to frost, but also to cold temperatures. Keep your best flavoured and most productive plants at or above 7-8C ideally (5C might be ok, but be prepared to learn as you go!) a bright windowsill in a cool room if you don't have a frost-free greenhouse will do nicely. Keep them fairly dry but don't let them wilt and start to water them more when they start to show new growth which will start in late winter / early spring. Too much warmth with weak winter light will make them grow weak and leggy.

Using home grown whole chillis and chilli sauces

I'm not claiming to be a cookery expert here, but I do have a life-long love of chillis and have consumed an awful lot over the last few decades, frequently on a daily basis. What I find is that the best way to use them is (shock horror!) fresh off the plant, next is out of the freezer and then coming up last is the array of sauces. Sauces  however are very convenient and can be given away as gifts to chilli-loving friends and family. I don't use dried chillis myself.

There is a bit of a macho thing that some people have about eating the hottest chillis (usually from young males unsurprisingly enough). The way I see it is that I would rather have a lot of flavour as well as heat and would like to be able to control the heat by adding more chillis if I want to rather than accidentally making my dish inedible as I underestimated the power of the chillis or the sauce involved. It's easy enough to make a dish stronger by adding more.

Whole

Take care when chopping chillis, the scotch bonnets and habaneros I grow are often significantly hotter than any I've bought in a supermarket, if this is what you are used to, then go carefully at first until you know what you have. Don't touch your face with your hands after chopping them and be aware that the heat can stay on your fingers even after you've rinsed them under the tap.

You could wear disposable gloves for this, I tend to go slowly and use another small knife and a fork so that I don't touch the chilli any more than necessary, put the knife between the prongs of the fork when you've finished to wipe the pieces of chilli stuck to it off and wash the chopping board before you forget about it. Touching the outside of the intact pepper is usually fine, but once cut, the heat is released from the oils.

The hottest part is the placenta, the white or pale part inside the pepper that the seeds are attached to, the second hottest part are the seeds themselves. If you want the flavour of the pepper without all of the heat, you could discard these parts, though I suggest you keep them to one side so that you can add them later in case you want more heat after all.

Cooking doesn't affect the heat of chillies, though it does help to spread the heat through the food and avoid biting on an uncomfortably hot piece. Add chillis right at the start of the cooking process so their flavour and heat can dissipate through the dish and avoid hot-spots. Chilli con carne is always best prepared the day before (add 3-4 pieces of dark chocolate to the pan at the end of cooking for extra depth and flavour) then cooled and kept in the fridge over-night for example.

If you do over-do it, drinking water won't help, though dairy does, drink milk or have something like an Indian raita or Mexican sour cream along with your chilli containing dish, plain yogurt is also good too, these add an extra degree of creaminess that enhances the meal.

Sauces

There are a million and one chilli sauces available many with humorous and silly names and a it seems a bit of a cult for some that claim to cause actual pain on the way in or out where you need only the tiniest amount to make a dish almost inedibly powerful. I have yet to understand the point of these.

I use my chillis to make a a sweet sauce which can be used for dipping if you wish and another hotter sauce that I use to add to things like cheese on toast, stir fry etc. where chilli heat and flavour is needed without too much taste from other ingredients.

These two recipes are simple enough to make and work for me and the people I've given the sauces to. The most readily changeable ingredient is the amount of chilli and type of chilli. I suggest you make a small amount to start with and write down what you add so you know next time. It's not that difficult to make sauces that will be declared at least the equivalent of those you can buy. If you really want to impress you could even make your own labels!

Sweet sauce / chilli jam - this is Lorraine Pascal's recipe from her tv programme it worked well for me and there's lots of commentary on the web about how easy and successful it is for others.
  • 450gms tomatoes
  • 2 chillis (minimum - more if you like it warmer)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 60ml balsamic vinegar
  • 250gm granulated sugar
Blitz everything in a food processor then boil 25-30mins until the consistency is right, it may take longer. I use a blender I can use in the pan rather than a food processor, so let everything soften up a bit first in the pan and then blitz it.

I use home-grown tomatoes when they are available so it can also be a very cheap recipe too. The sauce can separate out in the jar somewhat, it won't harm it, just give it a shake before you use it.

Hot chilli sauce
  • 3-6 oz (170 g) fresh chilli peppers (I used less as mine were very hot)
  • 6 oz (170 g) onion
  • 4 oz (112 g) cooking apple
  • 2 teaspoons of mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • a quarter of a pint (145 ml) of rice wine vinegar

Chop the onion fairly finely, peel and chop the apple, add everything to a pan until it boils, blend together in the pan at this point and leave to simmer until it gets to the right consistency (20-40 mins) remember it will be thicker when cold than when hot.

I avoided chopping the pile of very hot chillis by just adding them to the pan and letting the blender do its job (watch for splashes!). I used rice wine vinegar as it's what was in the cupboard, large relatively inexpensive bottles are available in many supermarkets "ethnic" foods aisle, otherwise white malt vinegar could be used.

Varying the recipe - the apple in this basic recipe adds texture rather than flavour, I've also used mango pulp (from a can) and tamarind in the place of the apple, both of which worked really well.

Bottling
You can use almost any small glass bottles/jars that previously had sauces, jam etc. in, anything in the 200-400ml range is good as long as it still has a good airtight lid and is sterilizeable. Add the very hot sauce straight off the cooker into the hot sterile jars (a small funnel is invaluable here), seal and leave to cool. Use as soon as you can, keeping the jar in the fridge once opened. I've no idea how long it lasts other than at least 3 months which is as long as any has lasted so far before being eaten.

Capsaicin

Capsaicin is the chemical in chillies that makes them hot
Chillies belong to the genus Capsicum which gives the chemical its name.

Like lots of plant chemicals that we find tasty, it is actually produced as a deterrent against organisms that may eat the plant, particularly fungi and insects.

Birds can't taste capsaicin
Birds spread the seeds of chillies, they pass through their digestive system intact and therefore viable, mammals often have teeth that crush and so destroy the seeds, so it makes sense for the plant to be palatable to animals that will aid its spread. Capsicum seeds are predominantly spread by birds.

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