Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Taste review Rocoto mini red

After my last Rocoto, I expected this to be a mild chilli without a really strong taste. . .
Well, think again. . . Surprises surprises, what a lovely chilli!

First, this plant again has amazing flowers, and them hairy leaves and stem.
This plant however does not grow like mad, its gets flowers, drops a few, and gets fruit.
It really is much faster than the other ones. and stays within 60-70 cm wide ( approx 2 foot )
But then the ripening, it takes ages and makes you wonder if anything is wrong. And no, there is not.
These plants are really a bit odd you know, they hate full sun, and like a bit of shade. Not too much shade, but a bit. Full sun all day is a no no. So if you have a spot where you don't want to place chillies as it is a bit in the shade, this is the place for a Rocoto plant.

Now this one is hot, really hot, but not as hot that you can not get the taste. Again this watery hot is strange, take a little bite and your mouth is watering and hot all over in seconds. The taste is odd and lovely, makes me think of a wild chilli. Not a really strong taste, but certainly 3 steps up from the Giant red Rocoto. It makes me think of a Roma tomato, soft and almost creamy. Then it starts giving more and more tastes. Its got both tomato and apple taste in it, and a general taste of fruits. But that taste is almost contradicted with herbs and the taste of berries. It is slightly sour, making me think of that tomato I said before, but also of Juniper berry with the slight bitter it has.

In short a fantastic Rocoto that you can grow in a pot, with such good flowers and a very complex taste. Now mind, it is not a superhot, but the heat builds if you cook it. And due to its instant spreading in the mouth of the heat, your fist bite rocks !

Yours sincerely,

Bart J. Meijer

Monday, 26 November 2012

Pruning and making cuttings from chillies

If you prune a chilli plant, or if a branch breaks off, nothing has got to go to waste.
You can eat the leaves, stir fry the leaves, or boil them like spinach.

But that, my good readers is what we are not going to do. No we are not going to waste a good part that can be used to make a new plant or clone if you like. A lot of readers would ask why on earth would you take a clone from a plant that is being regarded as a annual plant. It is soo much easier to seed is spring and not bother with cuttings, rooting medium and rooting hormone.
Then again, if you have a plant that is great, is pure, and tastes like heaven. .
But the plant is 1 meter high, your wife could say yes to a cutting and no to half a rainforest.

Now how to go about things. There is rooting hormone available, good and pricey, and works like a charm. It is also said that Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) works like a charm, and the answer is no, it helps the plant not to mould. Honey diluted in boiling water, and cooled would work too, and again the answer is no. Both honey and aspirin are antiseptic, so they keep the cutting from moulding and rotting, and this might result in the cutting to be healthy enough for time to get it to grow roots by its own. Chopped willow leaf is told to be a great rooting hormone, and again it is not, as even willow leaves do not grow roots. Even worse, leaves do have a hormone in them, to keep roots from growing and get roots to accumulate sugar for fall.

What does work as a charm are willow branches, they root like crazy in nature, and that is not strange.
Salix (Willow, Osier and Sallow) Salix Alba (White Willow) Weeping willow, or any willow that shoots a root easy, ones not to use are the goat willow (Salix caprea and Salix caprea pendula) and peachleaf willow (Salix amygdaloides). These are the varieties that are grafted normally.
The branches have Salicylic acid (natural Aspirin) with the antiseptic properties, and the growing ends of the branches have Auxins in it. The Auxin in this case is Indole-3-acetic acid, a hormone promoting rooting, which is an ingredient of the store bought rooting powder. Taa and the circle is round again. Now chew a piece of this years willow branch against the headache from reading this last bit and chop the rest up in small pieces. Soak the chopped branches without leaves for several days and you got brilliant rooting agent. The longer you leave the branches in, the better it works, up to 9 days. If you want to be faster, poor boiling water over fine chopped branches including the very fine ends of the branches. Do it this way that the chopped willow branches are just about covered. Let it cool over night and you can use it within 24 hours. Both "tea's" can be stored in an air tight container 2 months if cooled and dark in the fridge.
For those of you that like using dried coco peat or coir, you can soak it with this tea, and you won't have to bother dipping the cuttings. Just plunk them in the coir !

So how to go about making cuttings? Get yourself a good cutting or crafting knife. As you can see I have 2, one from carbon steel to do woody stems and one stainless for if they are soft or medium.
If you have a broken branch, of if you have pruned your chilli plant, you can put the branches in this willow root hormone, as you in the second picture. The will already get some of the hormone and will not dry out.
Then make cuttings from a piece of stem and at least one node with a leaf. Cut a fine strip from the bark and stem lengthwise down, and make a sort of wedge at the end..

Now you can soak them in the willow root hormone again. In my case I still had store bought root hormone powder, so I dipped them in that. Need to finish that stuff, or it is a waste of money.

Now you might notice, I cut one of the leaves off, and left the leaf stem. Now that I do, in order to keep the cutting from drying out. Plus it is a good way to see if the cutting is picking up. If it is doing well and getting roots, it will drop that stem from the cut leaf.

Now as I work with a double tray, a bottom and a rootcell plate, I fill a bit of water in the bottom for I will keep it on a heated spot. This water will keep the cuttings from drying out.
For the picture I took off the cover.
Now the warm place I use is the computer. I have the rooting propagator on top of my workstation. And as it rather early for cuttings, they need a warm place and some good light. So I have a 8 Watt 6500 Kelviin daylight fluorescent light above it for 14 hours. And that works like a charm! Keep the cover on for 14 days at least ! After signs of rooting you can take it off.

You can use this method with all kinds of plants and bushes, even with pot plants and cannabis!
No go out to get some willow !

Yours sincerely,

Bart J. Meijer

Taste review the Chocolate Cherry chilli

This is one stunning chilli, and odd. This is a cherry chilli that grows upright, not hanging, still it is an annuum, so direct family from the paprika. This chilli is from Hungarian origin, and is used in pickles and fresh. Weird as I have never seen a cherry chilli grow up, and looking cute and this chilli has a real chocolate colour. It is not super seedy, in the inside it really looks like a mini paprika, and is very easy to clean,
All in all the appearance of this plant and its fruits, it makes soo much advertisement for itself that I was sure they would taste like. . . . . .  not so good as they look.

However, the taste is stunning, overwhelming. Not its heat. It took me some time to get how to describe this chilli. It has a very deep and dark paprika taste, so would looks deceive me, no it really has that. It has a very rich and herbs like paprika taste, very strong without the bitter, and the heat of half a peppadew or a thrird of that from a Satan's kiss. Then after eating half and chewing it for about 20 seconds it starts to build a sweet taste like that from light roasted malt before brewing, or like that from chewing wheat in the field. You know for making chewing gum from wheat, what we did like kids on vacation.

Now how can I explain the deep and dark paprika taste? It has at least the taste of 3 times a paprika, but different. You know if you have tasted the yellow and the red bell pepper, and maybe a roasting pepper that is much darker? Well, if there would be a next step, like a black paprika, this is what it would taste like. That and just a lovely mild heat, makes this one stunning cherry chilli !

Yours sincerely,

Bart J. Meijer

Friday, 23 November 2012

Taste review Goats Weed chilli

Now, just yesterday I told you about these hairy chilli plants called Capsicum pubescens.
Other than the pubescens or Rocoto chillies, there should be no other hairy chillies, and as always there are exceptions to almost every rule. Pubescens are hairy, and this Goat’s weed too, and it is not a pubescens, it is an annuum.
Annuum is most known is this part of the family for the bell peppers and a good few chillies, but not for hairs. This exception however, is one beautiful one. This plant is one stunning looking one carrying a load of chillies that are upright, and very odd. The fruits colour from black, green and red sticking out of the plant almost. And I could imagine a goat just grazing off the peppers without harming the plant, but I don’t know if the goat would like them.

There is one odd thing with this plant, I found so many names it is silly. Still to all the worldwide discussions it is not really sure if they are the same, or not. Minor differences are mentioned, but not really big ones. So are they the same, I don’t know, but here are the names I have found so far. Goat's Weed, Black Cobra, Chile negro de Arbol or Black Dragon.

Now, with a lot of ornamental chillies the taste is either boring or bad, but is this an ornamental? It certainly looks like one, and I wouldn’t mind having it in the garden. I’ll bet you it will stop a lot more people to look at my front yard if it would be there. This is one stunning plant that almost looks like the mist has frozen over this plant, and made these lovely crystals of ice covering it.

So I was a bit puzzled when I was asked several times to taste this chilli, as I really thought it was an ornamental one. I even got them send from Holland and from the USA to taste, in various colours, to even try the different stages of growth and colour. Now ok, I am not that difficult, so I tasted and was amazed.
Green it tastes like green Bell Pepper, herbs and has a very prickly heat, a lot of heat.
Black it tastes really in between, and does have a great taste herbs and greens, pins and needles heat.
Red the heat seems to be a bit less, and less pins and needles, but a flash burn that dims out to an overall heat. The taste really is nice, Paprika, herbs and only very faint fruit tones. I like it, a lot! It is a scary hot chilli pepper with taste to match and the looks are superb.

Naturally ripened or cured I tried as well, as, if you have the plant you will not be able to keep up and eat them all. So if you have this plant, you will need to dry a few at least. Dried they have a stunning herbs taste, with the background taste that you will get in natural cheese and natural. The herbs are more outspoken dried, having a touch of bay leaf and liquorice, and its heat is overall stingy but not unpleasant.

Jolly great show this plant, and tasty too, but watch it ! It is HOT !

Yours sincerely,

Bart J. Meijer

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Taste review C. Pubescens "Rocoto Manzano Grande"

Some of you must have gotten tired after reading the title, that name is one mouthful!
The Capsicum pubescens is one of the oddest chilli families there is, I think. The name pubescens means hairy, not that the chillies are, the plant is hairy. These chillies also are called tree chillies, and are known to get over 15 years old, and as big as trees. These pubescens or Rocoto chilli plants are not grown a lot by commercial growers, and that always made me wonder.

Rocoto or pubescens chilli plants are a bit hard to grow, or at least to get them to fruit. As they really are no annual plants, the second year they will do much better. Now that is a bit hard as the can handle a very mild frost a bit, but with our normal winters they will die. So you have to overwinter them in the house. There is a trick to have them carry fruit, and that is to prune them. Cut the end of a branch when it has a good couple of flowers. What is also done, to get the fruits to colour faster, is binding the branches up, so the fruits will get more sun.

Now the plants are odd and beautiful, and some grow to be huge in one year, they start to flower early, but only later on they will get fruits. The flowers are stunning to say the least, purple and purple with white, almost bell like. I have enjoyed growing these plants, for their appearance only, what a stunning plant!
The fruits are odd too, they are huge compared to other chillies and have black seeds. This is stunning, think about a Sambal with black seeds! The burn off the fruit is different too, the heat spreads like thin oil on water, and will be all over your mouth in no time. The burn in these chillies are overall different, and people react on them in a different way. Some say they are much hotter, some say the burn is different, or both.

The structure of the fruit also is different, both in build as in mouth feel. Now as this actually is a taste report, I will get in to the the taste and mouth feel. The skin is less thick and easier to bite through, the flesh is less crunchy and much thicker than any chilli I know. Although the flesh is less crunchy, it isn't unpleasant, and has the mouth feel of a nectarine almost. It is very succulent and moist, and feels fatty when you chew it, even your mouth feels like eating something with fat.
Mind, this is a little one !

Now this one, the Rocoto Manzano Grande or Giant Red Rocoto is not very hot, I almost think it is rather to the mild side. However if you cook with it, it feels like it is getting hotter, weird. The taste is a bit like cucumber, and some paprika, not really sweet. If you want to turn in into a pepper paste, almost everything can be used, if you take the seeds out. The fruit doesn't really have ribs or seedlists, but has walls dividing it, with a sort of heart on top. Everything is soft in it, even the heart. Fresh eaten in a salad, I would suggest using it with some black pepper and some salt, nothing more. Traditionally they are eaten stuffed and boiled, or steamed with the stuffing in it. If you have a hotter version, the traditional way to get them milder is to take the inners out, and fill them with milk. Leave overnight and use the next day. Works like a charm !

To the experts, the red Rocoto's are the least tasty ones, with a few exceptions. So the other Rocoto's coming up are really a step up, or more ! Exciting !

Yours sincerely,

Bart J. Meijer

Sometimes tasting is hard

Dear readers,

Sometimes tasting is hard, and having my head bent over an other chilli a full evening, laptop next to it with not a word typed. I felt rotten all night. Really, I didn't get any taste, I could not compose it to a story.
So I started to get stressed, did want to have a story out tonight, and it was just not going to happen with this chilli. So I tasted an other, and no, not a drop off inspiration. Then you start to doubt, is it the wrong time, am I having a cold? Is this a boring chilli, is it me?

When I took a break, I thought about next weeks Monday growing article I wrote yesterday. Before I can publish it, I need to take pictures. So for that article I read in for about 3 hours, composed an article in 2 hours, read it through and made corrections for about half an hour. Then I sorted what pictures I needed to make, and wrote that down or made notes rather. That is the time some articles take, and I still have to make the pictures.

Its not only that, but also the tasting, it takes time.
Maybe an apology is in order, for it might be that I make tasting sound so easy at times, or composing a dish. Sometimes it is, but most of the times it is not at all that easy. I know that some sauce makers take over a year to compose a sauce they are really happy with, tasting and re tasting. Adapting it a bit, tasting again. And they don''t give up but make a brilliant sauce at the end. One recipe I had took me a year to make it perfect. 3 years later I made it different, with a totally different approach but the same ingredients, and only then it was superb, and finished. You should have seen the faces here! "What have you done with the original recipe???" And all off them loved it.

So sometimes making a story, tasting some things is ever so easy, and sometimes the taste needs to ripen and the story shelved, just waiting for an other day.

Yours sincerely,

Bart J. Meijer

Monday, 19 November 2012

Overwintering a chilli plant

Some weeks ago I told you about pruning a chilli plant for overwintering. Now I have a good few plants in the house at the moment, all doing fairly well, I am pleased. So I was in the process of tasting chillies again. Now that does take a bit of time as I do have to do some research as well, to try and tell you the most I can. Now with my head in tastes, with the accidental burn at times, I am trying to find words.
At times it is hard to describe a chilli, same as you tasted something new and had to describe the herbs. When I look at Hell’s Kitchen from Gordon Ramsey, I find it most amusing to see wannabe chefs that cannot pick out tastes like peanut butter. Very funny to look at Chef Gordon’s face as well. Sorry I am drifting off topic again.

So when I was staring out the window to get a grasp at a taste, my eye started to focus on a plant..
Good grief, I killed a plant, and then remembered my own tips and tricks. Please excuse me for killing 2 plants in fact, now you see an experienced grower makes mistakes too.

In a post before I told you about the hormone system of a plant. If a plant has ripe fruits, especially a chilli plant, it thinks it is done for the season. So if you pick the ripe fruits, it will ripen off the rest of the fruits. If all fruits are picked the plant will start to flower again, getting in a growing and flowering state again. Now that is all done by the plants hormone system. In fall and in winter it is much the same, with one major difference. If a plant has a ripe fruit on, it will start to die in winter, as it has done its task. How can I forget? Well with my head up the clouds. . .
A plant with black/purple fruits should be observer very good.

So other than the regular tips for your overwintering plant, like don’t overwater; don’t leave ripe fruit in the plant. Now it the plant starts to get in flower mode again, it might drop all its flowers. Now that is a shame if you want to have good chillies early in the year. The main reason for flower drop is low humidity, and there is an easy fix to that. If you do get flowers and the plant is over a radiator or other form of heating, put some water in a pot on top of the heater.
If the flowers open, give the plant a little tap at times or a bit of a shake. The male and female parts are so close in the flower, as said in my post about isolating flowers, it will self-pollinate. But as I do so certainly hope there is no wind blowing through your house, give the plant a shake to imitate the movement of the wind.

Yours sincerely,

Bart J. Meijer

Friday, 16 November 2012

Taste report the French chilli ”Doux de Landes”

I have been looking for French chillies for some time, and never found them. There are chillies from the different regents like Landes or the Basque a regent in France. In France they use different non pungent or very mild chillies in their meals instead of black pepper; even in restaurants they have salt and chilli powder on the table instead of salt and pepper! In the Basqu their chillies have an Appelation d'Origine Controlee, which means a sort of quality and origin controlled certification mark, and this certification mark is not taken lightly. These are heirloom chillies that are cultural heritage, protected and all! They are very expensive to buy either whole and dried or in powdered form, and seeds are very very hard to get.
Now guess where I got them from, I got these seeds from the US, from Dilly's Chilis Seed Co., isn’t that nice?

Now this Doux de Landes, which means “Sweet of the Lands” is from the Landes regent. First time I tasted it, I tasted it together with my son Bram, and I ate the first bit, and felt no heat at all. Bram didn’t get any heat at all, and when I looked again, he had eaten it in total seeds and all. He just smiled and say: Dad, that was one sweet lovely chilli, the best sweet chilli I have ever had! And man did he have a huge smile! I couldn’t be mad at all.
Some days later he said: I have eaten the others too, will we get more soon? Now I did get worried, and had a chat with him.
He understood, no worries, but I had a bit of a problem. There were only 2 others, and I needed to guard them, and took the last plant carrying, in the house.

Now I finally tasted the second last one. Just as I remembered, that is one chilli you need. It is fruity, and paprika like with both herbs and fruits, with the sweets not being over the top. Hot darn, I love it, and only got one fruit left. I got the seeds from Dilly's Chilis Seed Co. and this again is one superb chilli! These are stunning, and I almost start feeling guilty for saying one of his last chillies was not good. But hey I am not a salesman, what I don’t like I tell. But this one is superb really. The kids urged me to buy new seeds, for they want to take these chillies as a snack, or should I call them peppers for they have no heat at all. I don’t care, they are fantastic, and I want to see my kids taking them to school next year. Imagine them eating chillies at lunch on school, I bet they will get more than a few surprised looks !

Yours sincerely,

Bart J. Meijer

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Taste review, Ciliegia Piccante or Baccio de Satana (Satan’s Kiss)

This Italian Heirloom variety was on my “need to have” list last year, one with a growing popularity in the Netherlands. So, got it and grew it. I do have to say, the promise of not too hot, and the words Satan’s kiss triggered to buy them too. Just would love to have a funny little cherry chilli with a bit of a kick.

Beautiful pant and jolly great show and all, but this is not a candy. The first time I bit one in half, I did everything but sing. Good grief, this one lovely looking chilli has a stingy heat and really is more than mild. So I tried this chilli over and over again to get what is so special about them. And I am afraid to say, if found nothing special in them taste wise. It is just your regular boring chilli, that looks superb.

We have tried them with peanut butter filled, with cream cheese, and with anchovies making them a load better. But they are small and full off seeds, so it does take a bit of trouble to be able to use them. I for one will not grow them again for tastes, but will grow them for keeping this heirloom alive. If you do have the patience for cleaning the seeds out, I bet they are wonderful in a pickle or brine. Do use a good herbs and a good bit of garlic and salt to get them some flavour.

It is a stunning looking chilli with a good bit of heat but not a special taste.


Bart J. Meijer

Monday, 12 November 2012

Taste report Ethiopian Brown

I am ashamed to say I don’t know who offered me those seeds, but I do have to say thank you !
The name got a bit puzzled and I had to see what came out. There are 2 varieties that closely resemble each other, the Ethiopian Brown and the Berber Hot chilli. After the fruits started to form, it was obvious; it really is the Ethiopian Brown as the pods form hanging down. The Berber hot, is growing up, so got that covered and the name has proven to be right.

This plant forms irregular, a bit wrinkled pods that slowly sort off fold out to a point you might think they will get totally smooth, but they don’t. Funny looking chillies that stay green a long time, then start to slowly show some brownish red or reddish brown. If the sun is covered with clouds, they really are brown, but if the sun gets to them the red shines through the brown. Stunning, almost looking like a chestnut that just dropped with the husk split showing the lovely colours inside. I tried to catch this colour in a photograph, and this took me a long time, but they are beautiful.

It seems to be a rather rare chilli and it is huge. Most measure 12/15 cm and 3/4 cm wide. Unfortunately I can not find too much about them, other than being used in the Berber kitchen. Stews and such, slow roasts pots and being roasted they seem to have multiple uses.

When digging in, I noticed this is a complex chilli to taste and describe. I never go for looks, and try not to be fooled by appearances; I am not the best looker either even though I got good taste. This chilli without any doubt has dark tastes, combined with good sweets, and even a hint of chocolate. Now this said, I started to doubt myself; did I get fooled by the looks? You know, the association one has with looks, so tasted it again. I was pretty sure, but as a check gave my wife a bite, without telling what it was. She doesn’t know too much about chillies but her first comment was; is this chocolate chilli?
So, she had the same idea, without knowing what it was. The basic tastes this chilli has are: sweets, fruits, herbs, ground tones and a slight but very pleasant bitter. This is why I had the idea of chocolate, milk chocolate, the bitter you find in chocolate and sweet coffee.

The one down-point from this beautiful chilli is its skin; it is rather tough or hard. Looking at the taste and its odd but beautiful appearance, it is a need to have chilli I would not mind roasting and peeling. In a mortar it would make a great pepper paste, adding a bit of sea salt and a touch of garlic.
This chilli is great dried as well, with its taste not changing that much, so would make great flakes or powder.

Sincerely yours,

Bart J. Meijer

Sunday, 11 November 2012

I had a dream

Hot is not a taste, and it is not all what chillies are about.
The constant hammering about hot hotter hottest, keeps a lot off people away from chillies.
And some people just don't seem to get this. Growers, bloggers and seeds sellers keep hammering on the heat.
People do not want pain, but excitement both in taste and experience. That is what a chilli should be, and has been in the past, in history.

So I had a dream, I wanted to get some taste to the world of chilli.
Now that sounds presumptuous, but I started all this, getting sick of all the hot hotter hottest chilli.
Really, if you ask how a chilli tastes, the answer normally is: Hot, hotter or hottest. Now excuse me, but that has little to do with taste, it is only one aspect. Have you ever given website selling chilli seeds a good look? Did you ever see one with a satisfying taste report to it?

So I had a dream, to taste as many chillies that I can, so if people would ask, they can put a real taste report on their sites.
Now I am working myself through chilli after chilli, and some I had to taste another time again. Had a cold 2 times, so was not able to taste. Still I did a good bunch and writing down as much as possible, some 30 taste reports pending.

Then being almost winter and so, I started to look at the "need to taste" list for next year. This year I had 110 varieties, so what am I going to do this coming season? Looking over varieties, it started to dawn on me, it will be hard to succeed. There are around 4500 varieties, I tasted some 180 this year, getting send from all over the world. So if I get to taste 200 next year, it will take me 22,5 years to taste them all. Ok, so why was I rushing? Can I keep this dream for the next 22 odd years?
So after this epiphany about tasting, I took a 4 days break from tasting, made a good picture while checking seeds with an antique loupe..

About good taste:
Video reviews do soo seldom get my and keep my attention. Low quality with loads of background noise, and nothing else to show for. A lot of them are utter useless, not describing any taste, or have like a 5 minute trailer and 1 minute or so with something that might say something about taste. There are also video's on Youtube about most silly tricks like sticking chilli powder up your nose. Or even tasteless video's about challenges eating 10 chillies, where just one would be enough to spice up a whole cow, with throwing up and all.
Now subscribe to my youtube channel? No! Are you serious ?
Or worse, former car sellers selling the next worse chilli, talking it to heaven with a mouth full of chilli, mentioning certain websites that sell them over and over again. Who is going to believe that? Booho I want to see taste !

So I made 2 episodes of chilli video reviews, that are out of this world silly! I tried to copy the Young Ones from the BBC a bit. Soooo:  Subscribe to my channel !
Really subscribe to my channel !

I mentioned a few video reviewers that I did like in a former post, but I have to tell you it was a huge relief to get pointed out a week ago to the video reviews of Tmudder, and Volker Berlin together with Felix from Pfefferhaus.de
These guys do have taste, and thank God for good video reviews. Rant is over, and I will get back to tasting again soon, please do excuse me for the dip I had.

Yours sincerely

Bart J. Meijer

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Taste review Monkey Face chilli

The Monkey face chilli was a medium hot chilli everybody talked about last years, so it was a need to have chilli for me. It was a bit of a slow starter, but that might have been me. I was sort off sold, when I heard it would be a great base chilli for sauces, so well a had to have. Now the plant has a lovely form, grows a bit like a tree. I like that, but I am not in this for looks, I want taste.
It is supposed to have sort of a Monkey Face in it, and I did see a few good photographs, but I didn't really get a good one. So not really a monkey face. Still the somewhat odd form and looks make it to be a great looking odd chilli. Sure I do like a good looking chilli, but I love to have a good taste as well. Now I heard that it was a good one to over-winterer as well, now that were all the pro's known to me.

So I had it grow for a year and last month I had one to taste. It taste is a bit complex, and I had to taste a few before I got it. The heat is direct, no surprises no build, no. You know what you are eating the first bite, so that is good to work with.
Basically it has sweet, a touch of bitter some herbs, fruit, and a wood like tone. Some say it would taste like mango, but then I would rather say a touch of pineapple as it has that wood tone as well. In my terms I would say, it has the sweets of a yellow bell pepper, the pleasant light bitter a red bell pepper has, and some herb with a wood like tone. Herbs between Coriander seeds or Turmeric. It is odd, this is a complex chilli with both fruits and herbs, lovely indeed. Now at the time I don't really know what to combine it with, so I left them to dry.

Dried they are a different ballpark, whole new story indeed. If you have them sundried or very slow natural ripened, they are out of this world !
They will get the sweet taste of sundried tomatoes, the sweet will also start to top over to the liquorice taste that you get in slow natural ripened chillies. The taste will stay complex and lovely and make you wonder what it is you are tasting. Really stunning, like this they can stand on their own making a great powder of flakes, or add them to your table salt grinder. The pleasant taste will linger on for at least 10 minutes, just lovely.

Yours sincerely,

Bart J. Meijer

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Getting and keeping the best seeds from your chillies

In my midsummer article about getting pure seeds, I told you about isolating flowers and plants to get pure seeds. Now, I hope you all had a great tea while reading it, and got to isolate some flowers. If you did not, all hope is not lost. Peppers and chillies do self-pollinate mostly, but can get crossed with other peppers and chillies if there are bees or ants around.
Still, as the capsicum family has a fruit with one ovule for every seed, there is a good chance of getting pure and crossed seeds from one and the same fruit. So with peppers, paprika and chillies 1 grain of pollen and 1 ovule make 1 seed. With the chance of cross pollination being low, non-isolated flowers will bring fruits having 90 or more pure seeds per 100 seeds.
So it is worth saving all seeds, isolated or not. So, here a post about saving seeds.

Capsicum, paprika and chilli, are a strange family off plants I think. They have flowers that mostly self-pollinate, so they don’t need bees or even another plant. They can do it all themselves. Even odder, these seeds you get from them don’t even need a dormant period, which most plants do need. You can seed seeds directly from a pod, and they will live happy ever after. I even do see the plants from fresh seeds grow a lot faster in the start.

Now to be 100% sure to get pure seeds, you need to isolate the flower, no doubt about that. There are too many crosses as it is. I am already tasting myself through chillies for over 2 years, and I did not cover more than 10% of all chillies that exist in this world now, so I don’t need more crosses or I will never be ready tasting.
But hey I am wandering off again.
So pollination is covered, now you need to let the fruit ripe as long as possible. With some thin walled chillies, you can sundry the fruits, and have them give you the seeds when you want and use the dried pod in a whooping chili. Not all chillies can be sun dried, only the thinner walled ones. For any of them, the fruits need to be as ripe as they can, leaving them on the plant as long as possible.

I do dry a lot of seeds, but tend to use some seeds from my last fruits, fresh out of the pod.
If you want to use your seeds later however, you will have to dry them. For selecting seeds there are various ways. One is the rinsing method, get your fresh seeds out of the pod and put them in water. The empty ones will float, but this does not work always, so try it and have a good look. I have learned that with some varieties this method does not work. Then again, if you have a good look at the seeds, you can see which are not good, or empty. Any discoloured seeds, ultra-thin seeds or deformed seeds need to be discarded.

Now if you don’t dry the pod in total, you have to dry the seeds. That can be done very easily in a coffee filter, as simple as that. Give them good time to dry, give them at least 3 weeks. If you put them in ziplock bags after these 3 weeks, they will be fine for one or 2 years if kept at a constant temperature. If you can get your hands at small silica gel packets, you can add them to your seeds, the dryer they are the longer they will keep. The constant temperature is important too, if you want to keep them for more than 2 years.
If you are interested, I have seeds for sale.

Yours sincerely

Bart J. Meijer

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Simply stunning simple Asian fusion fried rice

Dear people

Here is a very simple but stunning Asian fusion dish everyone can make.

The taste is out of the world and due to the use of Szechuan pepper or Sichuan pepper,the spice they say the west missed. The Sichuan or flower pepper of China you will get a strange, tingling, buzzing, numbing sensation that is something like the effect of carbonated drinks or of a mild electrical current.
It is neither irritating nor unpleasant, but sure gives the food an other dimension.
Get the best, not the stuff with seeds in, smell if you can to see if it is fresh.

So, what do you need?

350 gram Moksi Meti bacon from a Orient supermarket.
3 husks of Flower Pepper red
1 Clove of garlic
250 gram leek
250 Gram carrot
250 gram green beans
2 good no brilliant chillies, Naga Jolokia Purple or one with herbs taste in it. They should not be too hot.
3 tomato's
5 fresh leaves of Sesame Leaf (Perilla frutescens) or 10 pickled Sesam Leaf Ssam
2 tablespoons of Soy Sauce
a dash of rice wine vinegar or white wine vinegar
1 cup of good broth

3 cups of rice

This is a fast recipe. Put the rice up in water, adding no salt or broth.
Cut green beans leek and carrot fairly fine, crush and slice the garlic

 Take the skin from the Moksi Meti bacon and slice in thin slices, put the skin facing down in a frying pan or wok with some oil, and add the slices.

 Grind or crush the flower pepper husks and the sliced chilli a bit with a mortar, add 2 spoons of soy sauce and a dash of  vinegar. Leave that standing until later.
Add the beans and the carrot when the bacon is starting to lose a bit of the fat. Add the garlic crushed and sliced. Put a lid on the wok for 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes add the leek and the cup of broth to have it steam for a bit. The rice should be almost done now, and you need it when it is slightly under done.
When the rice is almost ready, add the tomato's and the cut sesame leaf.
Then add the rice, to soak up the moisture in frying pan.

Serve with a good sriracha sauce or Sambal.

Enjoy, and leave a message to tell how you liked this!

Yours sincerely,

Bart J, Meijer

3 chilli products one should not buy !

A friend of mine from Moldavia pointed me out to some bad drink.
Looking at it I remembered it, I have had it, a drink called Mixxed Up.
It is a sort of an energy drink, with chilli added to it.
Told him I didn't bother to write it down.
But actually I should I thought a moment later, as one should not buy this drink.

So, this stuff is energy drink that has cranberry and chilli flavour, or at least it says to have.
The stuff however tastes like sugar water with a fizz and half rotten elderberries, and has a light but awful burn only in the back of the throat. It really tastes like artificial aroma, chilli extract off the worst quality and elderberry. So low and behold, it contains no cranberry at all. It has sugar in it and a load of sugar, citric acid, Carbonic acid (fizzzz),Trisodium citrate, Elderberry concentrate, aromas and artificial flavours and the regular energy rubbish.
I would say these guys are really Mixxed Up for making this, and would suggest making something either with real cranberries and real chillies, or not at all.

Next, the Grillmeister sauces from Lidl.
Most of the times I am excited about the products of Lidl, so I saw these and had to try them. First the Roasted Garlic, that stuff has garlic for sure, chem like gastric garlic like there is noo tomorrow. This stuff would kill a family of ants, if you use one drop. I was soo sorry for trying a spoonful.

The Smokey BBQ then.
Brr, that stuff tastes like licking a flue. This is crazy! It really tastes like someone washed out the stainless steel flue of his wood stove that has been burning on painted wood. Good grief, well it is smoke, but really very artificial and bad. Try some good smoked products, and use those. Do stay away from this!

Yours sincerely,

Bart J. Meijer