How to harvest and use chillies

Chillies are so versatile and can lift any dish to gourmet status! They are good for your health, speeding up your metabolism, clearing toxins from your body and lowering the risk of cancer and diabetes(according to the research published in the British Medical Journal.)


Harvesting :

Bottled chilli
Bottled chilli
  1. Pick any time whether big or small, red, green or black ripe or already dried. Perfect for a lazy, impatient gardener like myself!
  2. It is better to cut and not pull or twist  them off as you would lemons.

When you are ready to work with your harvested Chillies:

  • Chop very fine, white seeds as well and set aside.
  • Add to your dish when the cooking process is complete  immediately before you serve.  Do not cook chillies. You will enjoy maximum flavour and you will receive the full therapeutic value of the active ingredients with no irritant factor.  (maximum antiviral and antibacterial properties)

    Chilli fresh, dried and powdered
    Chilli fresh, dried and powdered
  • Make chilli sauce – select only the firm, shiny chilies with no blemishes or scratch marks. Pop them in a blender. Whiz till the consistency you require with as much olive oil as is necessary. Put in sterilized jar. Cover with olive oil and refrigerate. Lasts 12 months in the fridge. When you use it make sure you top up the olive oil to cover the chilli in the jar. If you don’t it will go mouldy and you lose your crop.                    Bon Appetite!

Correct storage:

  1. Finely chop, place in glass jar, cover with olive oil and then add a tablespoon tamari. Store in a  dark cupboard.  Use every day with every meal.
  2. Store your whole chilies  standing up like soldiers in a glass jar covered with  olive oil. Wash and dry before bottling.
  3. String them together and hang them up to dry. Will last all year.

Growing conditions:

Chilli growing in a pot
Chilli growing in a pot
  • They  like a well drained warm sunny spot.
  • Easy to grow in pots.
  • Can be  harvested from early Summer to last Autumn.
  • Water regularly to avoid blossom end rot.
  • They are susceptible to root knot.
  • Always practise crop rotation or repot every season.
  • Companion plant with marigolds is helpful.
  • In frost zones, prune after harvesting then dig out of the garden and pot. Keep under cover and replant after the last frost.
  • Do not overfeed with high nitrogen fertilizer. You will end up with a green wimp with huge leaves and no fruit.

Some chilli facts:

  1. The chemical that makes them taste hot is capsaicin. It is a neurotoxin that stimulates the adrenal glands giving you an energy rush.
  2. The plants grow and produce fruit all year round in frost free areas.

Hot tip:

If you happen to take it a little too much and your mouth is on fire, drink milk and not water.

For more information on Organic gardening download your Low Budget Organic Gardening Guide PDF

Other pages of interest include: