Circle of Life #10: Dicing with Death

I wrote to the Chili Godfather, John (Cor) Leone, and asked him if he could identify the yellow chilies growing in my garden (pictured below) as discussed in yesterday’s post.

yellow strangers:

John originally provided me with two-dozen rare varieties of chilies at a cookery class last year. I dried them, seeded them, mixed all the seeds, and planted some “potluck” last summer. Yes, whimsical, unscientific, but exciting. If you are a regular reader of my blog, this is all old news. Hello…? Are you still there…?

Here’s his reply: “If they are hot then they are probably Yellow Habaneros. If they are not hot then they are Numex Suave Yellow Habaneros.”

I just went out into the garden and picked the ripest fellow I could find.

the victim:

What to do? I took a bite.

here goes:

Yes, I know, definitely a stupid/daring thing to do.

you've got to be kidding Kurma:

They were very, very hot. My lips are still on fire half an hour later even though I spat it out, washed my mouth and doused my tongue with yogurt.

The things we do for love! Ok, well we know what they are. Yellow Habaneros! And quite large, beautiful, fragrant, tasty hot specimens.

Furthermore, John added “This picture (below) is of red fruit and is therefore not a Burkina Yellow Scotch Bonnet{as previously thought} because the Burkina is yellow. This is … a Red Savina or Caribbean Red Habanero.

My Big Red Friends:

So there we have it. We have Red Savinas (or Caribbean Red Habaneros), and Yellow Habaneros.

Wikipedia states:

“The Red Savina pepper is a cultivar of the habanero chile (Capsicum chinense Jacquin), which has been selectively bred to produce hotter, heavier, and larger fruit. It is also commonly known as the Dominican Devil’s Tongue Pepper or the Ball of Fire Pepper in Guyana.

While samples of Red Savina have been measured as high as 577,000 Scoville units, many chilli enthusiasts growing the Red Savina have been unable to reach this level of heat, even with certified Red Savina seed. The Chile Pepper Institute at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico, conducted an extensive field trial to test the Red Savina. In this scientific growth trial the Red Savina was unable to reach 250,000 scoville units.

In February 2007 the Red Savina chili was displaced in Guinness World Records as the hottest chili in the world by the Naga Jolokia pepper. The Red Savina held the record from 1994 until 2006.”

Needless to say, I didn’t try biting my second-hottest-in-the-world Red Savinas. At half a million Scoville Units, just a micro-shaving is enough to set my mouth on fire.

If you haven’t guessed, I find this all fascinating, especially since I am not a particularly proficient gardener. Hello? Is that snoring I hear?

There’s a third variety of chili growing in my garden at the moment – a small purple variety that is desperately trying to survive the vicious struggle for existence.

purple haze:

Each time it blooms, the flowers drop off before turning into fruits. A small specimen has survived this chain of events. I am waiting to see if he grows up, or is struck down in his prime like all his poor little purple brothers. Life is cruel. Let’s see.

Posted by Kurma on 15/4/09; 9:17:08 AM

Life and Travel

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