Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Wild Chillies, chillies gone wild?

Wild chillies, chillies gone wild?

I have rambled a bit before about rather tasteless chillies.
And in fact, there are more than a few rather tasteless chillies, if you ask me.
Especially if you have been surprised with really good chillies that have a certain herbiness or flavour that amaze you.

Sure there is the difference between water grown chillies "hydrophonies", and the ones that have had a real life in soil. I love organic greens for sure, for they have much more flavour.
So as they are way too expensive for me, I grow them myself now.

In the years, since I moved out with my parents, I learned to cook and appreciate flavours.
My mom was not the best cook mind, so I had to learn from scratch.
Hard in the start, but the best way to learn I’d say.
But having others eat my food, and done more than a few taste sessions for wine, I learned that I have more than just great palate.
Capsicum Eximinum flower.

So I boasted to one of the lads at www.wildchilli.eu that I have great palate and would love to taste wild chillies.
That after I have noticed that none had a description of taste, and nobody did really seemed to know how they tasted. . . .
So I was challenged, and I do have to say I was surprised about the taste.
Really, in the wild chillies you can find the mother of tastes for all chillies and peppers.
First off, I got 3 sorts to taste, and wrote about it in a post.
A question of taste!! The readers loved it, and I loved tasting them.
I got loads of readers there, and got more and more chillies to taste.
Dried berries I had to taste, minute things, with loads of taste that surprised me.

I am picking 2 to describe and will tell you more about others in posts to come.

First off, was one that sounded great, the Capsicum galapagoense.
A species endemic to the Galapagos Islands, doesn’t that sound posh?

First taste is sweet and lovely, and a fruit like..
I would say bell pepper like, without the bitterness?
I loved it, so I licked a little piece from my hand, but it got stuck to my upper lip.
Got just a bit of direct heat but not sure about the taste, so I popped in another with it. . . .
Licked my lips as well, still not feeling any heat.
Definitely sweet bell pepper, the yellow one, even though this berry is red.
Sweet and lovely without the bitterness, I loved it !
The heat started building a bit after the taste faded out, and kept on building.
Not in the nose at all, just tongue and throat
Good grief, I really started sweating, having a real heavy reaction.
My lips started burning hard, and so did my mouth.
My ears even felt like I was going deaf or coming down from high altitude.
They started ringing even.
After 10 minutes the heat was calming down, also on the lips, still sweating though.
I hate this one, for having this fierce afterbite, and yes I am bitten by this one.

This one is weird !
20 minutes now, and the heat is almost gone and I have come to hate this one.

I have had this before with certain chillies, but for the life off me I would not know which one.

Chris Fowler heard of my quest to find the mother of tastes. So he was so kind as to send me a first timer.
He sent me a really fresh wild chilli, a Capsicum Eximium. An end of season fresh, Eximinum, perfectly round about 4 mm, dark red.

I opened it with a knife, and there was only one seed in it.
But this berry was very fleshy, thick skinned, and really looked like a berry.
Not a lot of air or open space, just like a blueberry or fox berry.

So, let’s go, my first fresh wild chilli ever !
I hoped to get some taste with this ini mini berry.
First taste was sweet, and then whammaaa the heat kicked in.
Most of the heat faded really really fast, weird.
As soon as the heat started to vanish ( in seconds really ) my mouth was able to taste.
A crazy sensation of a total overload in tastes, so hard to describe really.
20 or 50 times as much taste as the dried one for sure!

So I was sitting there with this mouth full, or more, with taste from this tiny berry in utter amazement really.
Just mumbling and being amazed, I sat there.
So my wife asks: Are you all-right luv, or are you burning away?
I just nodded.

After 5 minutes the taste slowly died, or I got used to it.

Sweet, fruity like apple maybe, berries, liquorice, almost overblown by the other tastes.
Definitely salt or umami as an after taste, broth like.

The only way I can explain how much taste, and how blown away I was, is this.
If one imagines an astronaut’s pill with everything in it, it is this berry.
In one pill the taste of:
5 apples
a handful of berries,
a small piece of Liquorice,
a pinch of salt
and some meat essence.

Crazy, so much taste!
I will never eat one again for fun, but could imagine me putting just one in a glass of tomato juice ( horrid stuff )
That mini berry, just one, would make tomato juice more than drinkable.

Now, seeds for wild chillies are not widely available.
Then again, I told you about the hippy like share culture amongst chilli lovers.
If you join a forum or a facebook group for chillies, share and re-share.
Do ask; maybe someone loves the wild chilli as much as I do, and shares.

Yours truly,

Bart J. Meijer

Courtesy to Chris Fowler  for the images!

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