Getting to know the Rocoto Chilli
As mentioned in a previous post . I will be writing a series of posts on growing Rocoto Chillies. These posts will cover everything that happens from the moment I plant the seeds until the plants mature. I will then write about how I use the Chillies in cooking. In other words, rocotos from start to finish. As part a of this I will be learning as much about Rocotos as possible. I want to explore where they are from, what’s the best way of growing them, and anything else interesting that I can find on this amazing Chilli.
The reason I chose the Rocoto for this series is mainly by chance. While researching something else, I stumbled across the fact that Rocotos are widely grown in the United Kingdom. This Chilli is apparently really popular amongst Chilli growers in this country. I did’nt know that. Who would have thought that a Chilli one would associate more with South America, and perhaps Mexico would be so popular here? My curiosity got the better of me ,so before long I was digging deeper into all things Rocoto. What I have learned has been very interesting indeed. Now I am just waiting for my seeds to arrive.
So why is the Rocoto so popular in the UK?
The answer lies in its ability to tolerate cold. The Rocoto originates from the Andean regions of Bolivia and Peru, where temperatures are far colder than other parts of these countries. The Rocoto belongs to the Capsicum pubescens species. Chillies that fall into this species grow best in temperatures between eight degrees and fifteen degrees Celsius. The species needs a clear distinction between night and day, with lower temperatures, mentioned being the night temperature and the latter, daytime.
This temperature range is found in the mountainous Andean regions in Peru and Bolivia, and guess what? These are temperatures that we often experience in the United Kingdom. The Rocotos ability to tolerate cold is one of the reasons I am starting them now. They can go outside earlier than other varieties.
With my other Chillies, I usually wait until temperatures outside are above ten degrees before placing them outdoors With the Rocoto, however, this will be different. I can see them going out as early as April. That is all dependant on the minimum of eight degrees, of course
The original uploader was JoeCarrasco at English Wikipedia./ CC BY-SA 3.0 / via Wikimedia Commons.