Sunday, March 20, 2005

Bio-Chemical Warfare I Love

It doesn't matter who you are, or what you've done, or think you can do. There's a confrontation with destiny awaiting you. Somewhere, there is a chile you cannot eat.

- Daniel Pinkwater, 'A Hot Time in Nairobi'

Last year the chillies I planted were overall so so, with those that I was curious about, like Habanero, failing miserably to fruit though tantalising me with an unfulfilled promise through some fragile blooms, while those that I was rather blas√© towards, like Bird’s Eyes, virtually went wild with a very bountiful harvest.

This year I place the plants in a sunnier location, and with great delight I have finally harvested some Habaneros. This baby has been rated the hottest chilli, with a Scoville scale of 580,000. And I can certainly testify to that claim, requiring several cold beers to mitigate my first exposure to the tongue scorcher. Best of all, it also possesses a marvellous fragrance.

Now it seems another claimant to the title of the ‘fieriest’ has asserted its status – the Indian Tezpur from Assam which rates over 800,000 on the Scoville scale. The power of this Indian babe is just sheer staggering, especially after my experience with Habanero. I must try to lay my hands on a few of these plants (Moses' burning bush?).

Chillies originated in South America and were taken to Europe by the Spaniards in the 15th Century, and from there to the rest of the world by European traders. The conquistadors might have been murderous bastards but we have to thank them for giving the world this wonderful fruit.

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