It's been a strange year in the suburban home garden. Honey yield in the state is reported as 85% down on previous years. That's a worry for a start. The avocado tree, the pride of the garden, will not offer anything this year; small fruit was blown away in several storms and then the heat polished off the rest. Nashi pears are not too bad, tomatoes, woeful although those that made it were superb.
Any excess is with the figs and something we don't use much, chillies. Oh, they are handsome, robust, plentiful and handsome. The punnet of three assorted seedlings was a mistake as we're not sure what we have. A brief tasting with our Bhutanese garden helper identified "birds-eye" (very hot), long and thin (hot) and cute and chubby (benign). I urged her to take away as many birds-eyes as possible.
The heat of a chilli was "codified" by Wilbur Scoville, an American, in 1912. The pungent heat comes from capsaicin and is measured in SHUs (Scoville Heat Units).
To illustrate, your basic red or green capsicum is at zero SHUs whereas Police Grade capsicum spray is around 16,000,000 SHUs.
Some approximate SHUs
Espelette 1,000 Poblano 1,000
Jalapeño 3,500 Serrano 15,000
Cayenne 30,000 Tabasco 30,000
Scotch Bonnet 150,000 Habanero 300,00
At left, the Carolina Reaper, the world's hottest chilli as of 2019. It's the result of selective breeding and world record holder since 2013. It comes in at a whopping 2,200,000 SHUs! Check YouTube for blokes (yes, sorry, it is mainly men) who sit around with other blokes and suffer, cry, groan, and writhe, the huge dose of capsaicin tearing through the delicate tissue of their innards. (Then, they do it again.) The following day must be terrifying. Seeds are probably available online but you have to to admit it's one hell of an evil looking dude!
My chillies (in a Tunisian couscous bowl) from the top and clockwise...
Birds-eye, I think - very hot, next, long & thin - hot, finally, plump and fruity and totally benign. (Can you identify?)
The heat thing is something I simply don't understand. I want flavour and a "small" kick. Too much is just not gastronomically delicious. There, I've said it. Anyway, in the interest of using up some produce, today I make a fig and chilli chutney. I use a tried and true fig jam recipe and simply add a fair amount of fresh garlic and some chillies. The result is not too bad.
I'll now give myself heartsease and make a cake.
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