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«Out hot, in hot, not hot». In keeping with this Ugandan proverb, we’d like to recommend a special fruit for hot summer days – the chilli.
This is because the heat of chillies increases blood flow to the outer layers of the skin, making us sweat more. Result: warm blood + damp skin = cooling by evaporation.
If you have chilli plants in your garden or your home, we can give you some tips on harvesting them. Anyone who thinks it’s easy to harvest chilli without some basic knowledge is making a mistake. If you like your chillies good and hot, then you shouldn’t pick them too early or too late. Here we explain when chillies are ripe for picking and what influences the quality of a chilli harvest. The time from emergence of the pods to maturity is up to 120 days in some cases, since the right time to pick chillies depends on several criteria such as their flavour, colour and heat. Only after 70–100 days, when the seeds are fully formed inside them, do the pods begin to change colour. After the colour change, it’s advisable to wait about 5 days (but not longer than 10 days) before picking the fruit. As some chilli species do not lose their green colour or are at their hottest while green, the following signs can help determine the right time to pick:
- Small, dark spots appear on the skin of the pods (these are not signs of disease in the fruit, just part of the natural pigmentation)
- The flesh of the fruit is soft and can be pressed out easily
- The skin contracts
Before picking, it’s a good idea to test a few of the fruits to see if the chillies’ flavour has fully developed. Testing is the only way to determine the right time to pick. For example, habaneros have a fruity flavour and should usually be left longer on the plant to ripen fully. Jalapeños however have an acidic flavour and taste better while green.
Have fun working in your garden!
Fiery-hot wishes from Waibstadt
The T.I.P. Team