Chilli plants vary considerably in size, appearance and heat. Capsicum frutescens is a short lived perennial shrub that lasts for 2-3 years. Capsicum frutescens has pointed oval leaves that are tear shaped and have firm woody stems, growing to 1 – 2 metres high (3 – 6 ft). They are usually grown for 2 – 3 years. The chilli pod is a many seeded red berry (10-20 seeds) with a shiny skin that comes in a wide variety of shapes, colours, thickness and spicy heat.
The aroma and flavour of fresh chillis is distinctly capsicum-like, with a hint of sweetness. Their pungent bite comes from the levels of capsaicin present in the fruit; capsaicin causes the brain to release endorphins and so feelings of wellbeing. To make dry chillis, the fresh chillies are dried indoors at 20-25C (68-77F) to allow them to fully ripen, then they are dried outside on concrete floors, roofs of buildings or woven mats. At night they are heaped into piles and covered with tarpaulins to protect them, before being spread out again during the day. It takes roughly three days for the moisture content to be brought down to 10% from 70-80% when fresh; as an approximation, 100kg of fresh chillies yields 25-35kg of dried chilli spice.
With the popularity of Indian and Mexican cooking in the UK, we have become very fond of chilli in our food, whether dried or via a table sauce. I am forever adding some heat from a sauce to add some spice into insipid and bland chicken, soup or vegetables. Why not also make a simple sauce by adding 3 or 4 fresh chillies or dried organic Birds Eye chilli to a bottle of sherry for a few days, then adding it to food as and when needed!
- Flavours: Very hot
- Cuisines: African, Asian, Thai
- Ingredient features: Organic, Salt free, Sugar free, Vegan
- Values per 100g:
- Energy 111kCal; 472kJ
- Fat 0.5g
- Carbohydrates 13.6g
- Protein 13.1g
- Values per 0.7g teaspoon:
- Energy 1kCal; 3kJ
- Fat 0.0g
- Carbohydrates 0.1g
- Protein 0.1g
We stock a vast and comprehensive selection of Steenbergs Organic herbs and spices, for all you culinary needs. You may like to try Organic Crushed Chilli Flakes, and Organic Chilli Powder, along with many others…
Birds Eye Chillies