It’s getting chilli around here….


Please be careful when grinding up last season’s chillis to make pepper – I haven’t been able to stop my eyes or nose running for the last half-hour….


Certainly my newly-acquired coffee/spice grinder comes in handy for such things. Just cut the chillis off their string, place in the grinder and let it rip!

Voila! Instant cayenne pepper!

From this ...

From this ...

... to this!

... to this!

Uses for Cayenne Pepper

Well, you can use them for cooking obviously. Sichuan cooking (southern province of China) incorporates these chillis whole; but they are used in many recipes requiring the flavour and heat from chillis. I find that drying them on a string and then grinding into powdered form is a wonderful way of preserving them. The powdered form means it can then be mixed with other ground spices to make a ‘curry’ of your choosing.

What creates the heat from chillis in general is a compound known as capsaicin, which is found in all fruits of the Capsicum variety – cayenne chillis are generally regarded to be a variety of Capsicum annuum – which are all part of the Solanaceae family (“nightshades”, along with tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, belladonna and tobacco).

Capsaicin is said to reduce platelet aggregation in blood and help relieve pain. It is also said to contain vitamins E and C, and carotenoids.

In Chinese Medicine Dietetics, it is considered Hot, and so can counter col, especially in cold climates and seasons. It is also Pungent/Acrid, and so will assist in dispersing qi up and out, which is often why pungent foods/herbs are employed in cooking to help sweat out a cold/flu. However, too much of a good thing can also be harmful, as the heat in this little cracker will dry up the yin/fluids. Those who constantly eat hot-spicy foods often present clinically with a lot of heat in the Lung and Stomach with some manner of yin-deficiency.

I find that adding a very small amount of cayenne gives you the flavour and a little heat, without a meal becoming over-poweringly hot. At the end of the day, if something is soooo hot you can’t taste the other flavours, then you may as well have just eaten the chilli on its own.

Surprisingly, our chilli bushes are still alive, even in this cold weather. The Jalapeno is still throwing fruit, as are the Topino Rosso. Even the miniature Sweet Chocolate Capsicum is alive. I haven’t noticed the Cayenne bushes producing anything, but then I haven’t looked.

Now that we’re in august, we are planting the seeds for spring growth – mainly greens still at this point. But in the next couple of weeks, we plan to start putting in more carrots, swedes, turnips, some more brassicas (the possums ate everything we had in!), celery, tomatoes, eggplants, zucchini, etc. The snow peas are growing slowly, and I’ve noticed the first green shoots from the potato bed. Winter has been harsh, with everything growing really really slow – and anything that was going well was eaten by possums (I wonder if I can use the infamous ‘Snail Ale’ to use here…..? LOL).


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