When to pick Chillies in the UK
Today I made a second harvest of Chillies. I harvested some about two weeks ago, and today picked some more, for no other reason than that they were ripe, and it was the optimum time for these Chillies to be harvested. Not doing so would have meant that they would have gone past their prime. Picking them too early would have meant they would not have developed to their full potential.
There is no hard and fast rule when to harvest Chillies in the UK. You can start at any time, provided the Chillies have ripened. In certain Chillies, that may mean they have changed from green to red, orange, or yellow. Other varieties may start off yellow and ripen to orange, or even begin purple and then turn red. The variations of ripening are endless
The important thing to remember here is that you should only pick Chillies when they are nearly fully ripe. Unlike tomatoes, Chillies will not ripen much more once they have been harvested .You can of course pick them when they are still green, but don’t expect them to be as hot as ripe Chillies
Luckily, many of my Chillies have started ripening, but there is a long way to go yet. Many still need to. Some are still yellow, and others are green. This means that between now and the end of November, when the first frost will arrive in the West Midlands (where we live), I need a lot more ripening to harvest while they are still outdoors.
The ripening of my Chillies this year has been a lot better than last year. This has mainly been because we had a hot summer. The Chillies grew quickly, which in turn means they can ripen more quickly. Hopefully this will happen. However in the UK, because of the short growing season, there is always a dash to get Chillies ripened before the first frost
How I am using the Chillies
Home-made hot sauce
Because I have had such a successful season, the question now needs to be asked what I will be doing with all these Chillies. I will be freezing some, but I want to make Chilli sauces, jams, and preserves with the rest. I also want to dry some to make Chilli flakes
I have decided to use the Chillies I harvested today to make a recipe for a homemade Chilli sauce from the Delicious from Scratch website. It is the first time I have made this sauce, and I am quite excited to find out what it will taste like. Especially as I will be using Patio Fire Chillies. I have had an extremely bountiful harvest from the two bushes I have. I have managed to harvest at least fifty Chillies from these bushes today, but about two weeks ago I harvested at least another fifty pods. I used those to make Peri- Peri sauce
If the rest of my Chillies don’t ripen in time before the arrival of the first frost, I will use grow lights in the same way as last year to ripen them. I will bring them indoors into my garage and mount the grow lights on some sort of bracket above them. I will also use low wattage tubular heaters to keep the temperature in the garage at about ten degrees Celsius. It’s not the ideal way to ripen Chillies. The sun does that best; however, it is an alternative when it gets too cold outside
The seed to maturity period for Chillies varies according to their variety. Some C Annuum Chillies, like Early Jalapenos, have a seed to maturity growing period of 60 to 75 days, while others of the C Chinense Chillies, like Carolina Reapers, can take as long as 180 days or longer. This means that some varieties will ripen earlier in the year than others