Two years ago, Him Indoors decided to plant a variety of chillies. We love eating spicy food and it was a new project for him. So he ordered the seeds and was so excited when they arrived. He printed and made some labels with their descriptions and the level of hotness for each variety. Some of the chillies were Jalapenos Hungarian Wax, Serrano, Aji Amarillo, Scotch bonnet, Habanero, cayenne pepper and Bhut Jolokia or Naga Jolokia – from 2,500 to 1million Scovilles.
It was still winter when he started so he germinated them in the house, in a sort of incubation boxes, then moved them near the window sills where the sun shined. They started growing. We watched them grow, some faster than the others. He looked after them, watered them and fed them. Soon, he transferred them to some pots and as the weather improved, he moved them out in the garden.
When they were a bit bigger, we gave some away to friends as presents, so they could also have their chilli plants. They were delighted to receive them. We harvested them when they were ready. It was a delight seeing a variety of them in different colours and sizes – orange, purple, red, yellow, green. We cooked curries, salsas, jerks, arrabiatas, and add a fresh chilli or two every time we prepared our meal. We dried some of them by putting them in our airing cupboard and some were made into chilli sauce by adding some lemon juice, oil and pasteurising them. He used goggles and hand gloves when he made the sauce. We had to open all the windows as he cooked them. They were too hot to handle. Or sometimes, I cycled or walked out of the house, did some errands so I didn’t have to experienced their vapours.
One time, he was making a sauce of the hottest variety, the Bhut Jolokia (1,001,304 Scovilles – now, truly the hottest chilli pepper around). He took all the precautions, by wearing eye goggles and hand gloves. The kitchen became too hot as he was cooking them and he was getting uncomfortable and sweaty. Not thinking properly, he took his goggles off and wiped his brow with his gloved hand, but oh boy, he regretted that. Too hot to handle – he quickly washed his eyes and face with cold running water, muttering some swear words under his breath. Poor Him Indoors, what an experience with his chilli plants.