Monday, September 5, 2011

Summer Heat

A little summer heat
As if summer all over the country has not been hot enough, here's something to add a little extra spice to that heat.  Although this pepper plant did not come with a tag, I'm 99% sure it's a Serrano pepper.  Serranos are pretty hot, in fact, they are 5 times hotter than a Jalapeno.  The heat of chili peppers is measured in Scoville heat units (named after a chemist by the name of Wilber L. Scoville).  A sweet bell pepper comes in at 0 on the scale; a Serrano is anywhere from 8,000 to 22,000; a Red Savina Habanero registers up to 575,000; and the grand daddy of them all, the Trinidad Scorpion, can reach a whopping 1.4 million.  Someone call the fire department!

The degree of heat of a particular pepper depends on the growing conditions, the soil, and the weather.  So the range for the Serrano can be explained by those factors.  Also, Serranos will change color on the stalk depending on how long you leave them there.  Mine turn red but others might turn brown, orange, or yellow.  I use mine mostly to make salsa, along with tomatillos that I also grow.  If you need to turn down the heat a little, you can always remove more of the seeds and the membrane from inside the pepper--that's where most of the heat is. 

If you've gotten in over your head, heatwise, there are a few ways to get immediate relief.  Some proven remedies are:  drink milk; drink sugar water; drink alcohol.  Some folk remedies are: eat cucumber slices; eat a raw carrot; and, get this, eat more of the same pepper (really??).

Hot peppers are annual in my zone so I'll have to replant if I want more next year.  Also, they like full sun and you can easily grow them as a companion plant in a mixed container. 

Bookshelf:  Container Gardening Books


Anonymous said...

Hi, very interesting article. I have now my first balcony in the city, I was so happy last spring to start putting seeds in my pots and see the aromatic herbs, alpine strawberries and cherry tomatoes grow. I have a plant of lemon drop chili (this chili type is from Perù)... I could not find the level of heat on the link you suggested.

Miriam said...

Dear Orchidea: Thanks for writing. I hope your balcony garden was a success this season. I did a little online research about your Lemon Drop chile pepper. All the sites that I checked were in agreement that it's a very hot pepper with a heat index of approximately 30,000. Wow! Have you tried any of them yet? If you live to tell about it, I'd love to hear. --Miriam