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  1. [250px \| thumb \| right \| A grand chilli
  2. there](/Image:Chilli1.jpg "wikilink")
  3. These days, we all know about chilli peppers. We have them on pizzas, in
  4. sauces, and even on patios simply as decorative plants. Although very
  5. abundant in hotter countries, chillies really only began to appear in
  6. Irish supermarkets within the last 15 years or so.
  7. ## Growing chillies
  8. ### Germination
  9. The most effective method for germinating chilli seeds in Ireland is the
  10. wet paper towel method. Do this in mid-Spring so that they begin to grow
  11. in time for the rest of the season.
  12. * Fold up a few layers of kitchen towel and wet it under a tap. Wring
  13. it out so it\'s not too wet.
  14. * Open the towel up like a book, and on one half lay out the chilli
  15. seeds in rows, \~2cm away from each other.
  16. * Fold over the other half, so that the seeds are enclosed in damp
  17. paper towel.
  18. * Put the seeds and towel into a ziplock sandwich bag, and put into a
  19. hotpress.
  20. * After 10-14 days, the seeds will have grown a taproot big enough for
  21. transplanting into a propagator.
  22. ### Growing
  23. You need to keep chilli plants in warm environment to promote growth.
  24. This can be a greenhouse or a south-facing window. In around early
  25. April, transplant the seedlings into a propagator or a pot covered in
  26. clingfilm. The compost should not be too wet. When the plants grow their
  27. second set of leaves you can take them out of the propagator (or remove
  28. the clingfilm) and let them continue to grow in the greenhouse or
  29. window.
  30. Chillies like to be treated mean: don\'t overwater and don\'t use any
  31. plantfood. This will allow the heat to build up much better.
  32. If there are a lot of leaves on the plant and very few chillies, snip
  33. off a few leaves. This will allow the nutrients in the plant to go
  34. towards growing the chillies.
  35. ### Harvesting
  36. This is best done in late summer/early autumn. The chillies can be red
  37. or green when harvested, it\'s entirely up to you (and up to whatever
  38. the plant produces!). They can be used fresh, dried, or frozen.
  39. ## Chilli peppers for culinary use
  40. ### Drying chillies
  41. The traditional way to dry chillies is to hang them in a sunlit window.
  42. In Irish weather, this is best done during the summer, and only peppers
  43. with undamaged stalks should be used (broken ones let in moisture and
  44. bacteria and will cause the chilli to rot).
  45. * Tie 2 or 3 fresh chilli peppers together by their stalks using
  46. string or an elastic band.
  47. * Hang the bundle on a hook at a south-facing window.
  48. * In 4-6 weeks the chillies should be dry enough to grind up (if
  49. they\'re not, chop them up and let them dry in the open for a couple
  50. of days).
  51. * If you shake the chilli, you will hear a rattling if it is dry
  52. enough. The noise is made by the seeds, which can be saved and used
  53. to grow more plants.
  54. The dried flakes can be sprinkled into dishes during cooking, or, if you
  55. like a bit of extra heat, used as a seasoning for a served dish.
  56. ### Fresh chillies
  57. When preparing fresh chillies, please note that the capsaicin in the
  58. peppers is an irritant. If you have sensitive skin, wear rubber gloves.
  59. If you decide not to wear gloves, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly,
  60. as the oil from the chilli is difficult to remove. If you touch your
  61. eyes, nose, or any other sensitive part of the body without taking the
  62. proper precautions you will feel the effects for a couple of hours. And
  63. it\'s not nice!
  64. To prepare a fresh chilli:
  65. * With a small sharp knife, split the chilli pepper along its length
  66. into two halves.
  67. * Put each half on a chopping board, open side up. With the knife,
  68. scrape along the inside of the chilli to remove the seeds.
  69. * Chop the chilli halves as required for cooking.
  70. Most people tend to remove the seeds, but if you wish, you can leave
  71. them in, and simply slice up the whole chilli.
  72. [Category:HowTo](/Category:HowTo "wikilink")