I’ll admit it: I am a chilli head. I’m totally addicted to them! They are a staple ingredient in most of our daily meals.
When you go to the shops here in the Netherlands, you will only find one or two varieties of chillies. I think that’s a shame. If you get used to the initial heat of the chillies, you’ll find that there are many different flavours amongst them. Different chillies go with different kinds of food and cuisines. So the only things I could do was to buy them in specialist online shops or to grow them myself. It goes without saying that I choose to grow them myself.
Growing chillies is not very difficult. However, if you want to get a good harvest from a single plant, you’ll need to do some learning. The first year I was as happy as a child with my harvest that counted 2 chillies. Agreed, that was not very much, so I started to read a bit about the subject and a hobby was born. Now many years later, I have over 30 plants and 10 varieties in the garden.
This year was a exceptionally good year. It started a bit slow but by the end of July the fruits started to ripen. Our plants were full of big tasty chillies. We could harvest a bowl full of them every day. The best thing of all is that the season lasted till the end of October.
When you have hundreds of ripe chillies, you’ll need a way to preserve them. Eating them all when they are fresh is not an option unless you are a die-hard chilli head. We dry the bulk of our crop. It reduces the space they take in the kitchen and they keep for ages. It makes is also easier to measure them and to control the heat in recipes.
Another great way is to pickle them. Pickled chillies are delicious with all kinds of food like tacos or even a salmon sandwich. It’s fresh, sour and hot taste helps to balance out fatty flavours.
Pickled chillies keep a very long time. They are easy to make and can make a nice and colourful present for a fellow chilli head.