Harvesting Chillies

Picking ripe Chillies

The best way to harvest

The season is almost over. We are now at the point where we can start harvesting ripe Chillies. All the time and effort that has gone into growing the Chillies will be rewarded with, hopefully, an excellent crop. Now we just have to make sure that we harvest them properly.

The best way to harvest Chillies is not by using a pair of scissors or the like. It is far better to snap the Chillies off at the base of their calyxes with your fingers. Simply hold the base of the calyx between two fingers and pull the Chilli away from it using your thumb and index finger on the other hand. Snipping

Chillies off at the stem instead of using instead of snapping them off can pose a risk to the plant. By snipping the Chilli plant on its stem with scissors, you are creating an “open wound” on it. There is a possibility that the stem will then d ie back and let disease into the plant.  This is something that we want to avoid as best we can.

The method above is best if you want to use the Chillies immediately. Another method of harvesting Chillies is well described in this video.  With this method, Chillies are snapped off with their stems intact at the node. Snapping Chillies off in this way is an excellent way of harvesting when you don’t want to use the Chillies right away. It does however, it still poses a risk to the plant. There is still a possibility that disease can enter the plant at the point where the stem is snapped off. The risk is, however, far less than using a pair of scissors or a knife.

Getting them ripe in time

Prolonging the season

All the Chillies I placed under grow lights to ripen are doing well. The Apache F1 Chillies are now fully ripe. My Thai Demons, Baraks, Scotch bonnet, Trinidad Scorpion Butch T and Chi Chien are ripening nicely, but still have a way to go .

I wish I could say the same of the plants I have outside. It seems there is no movement there. Even the Longhorn F1s, which I thought were beginning to show signs of ripening, are still green.  It is now definitely a race against time to get them ripe before the end of the season.

I have now moved all of these plants, either into grow tents or my miniature greenhouse. I will be switching on the heaters  in these enclosures in the next week or so.  I will do this to extend the season for as long as possible, so that the plants can ripen.  Last year I managed to prolong the season until the beginning of January.  After that, it just became too cold and the plants started dying off. I aim to achieve the same this year in the hope that my Chillies will be ripe by then. Otherwise, I will have a whole lot of green Chillies on my hands. It will be really disappointing if it turns out that way!

Using the harvested Chillies?

Making hot sauce

How will I be using the Chillies I harvested ? I am going to make a small bottle of hot sauce. That is all I have enough for. I have never made a hot sauce with Apache F1s before, but imagine they would do well in something like a milder Peri – Peri sauce

The Apache F1 has a Scoville rating of 80000 to 100000 SHU, so the sauce may have a nice bite. Peri-peri sauce is customarily made with African devils, but there is no reason why it can’t be made with Apaches.

The sauce won’t be scorching. (not as hot as a sauce made with African Devils anyway). I am however hoping that the flavour will be great.

One thing I certainly not be doing is use all these Chillies to make this sauce. I want to keep a couple so I can save seed for next year. I am really impressed with this little Chilli. It is a really pretty plant and is a prolific producer. I will definitely be growing Apache F1 Chillies next year from the seed I save.

My next post will deal with a method that works well to save seeds. Saving seeds is really easy and is something that every Chilli grower should do.


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