Saturday, September 22, 2012

Bishop's Crown and Bird Chillies

This is a chilli pepper post as I end up harvested two kinds of chilli peppers today; the Bishop’s Crown pepper, which is a cultivar of Capsicum baccatum, and the Bird Chilli pepper, which is a Capsicum frutescens.
Bishop's Crown chilli peppers (Capsicum baccatum var. pendulum) from the balcony. Only the centre part of this chilli is hot, the wings are sweet. They are also known as Friar's Hats or Monk's Hat peppers.
Capsicum frutescens, cili padi
Bird chillies - they are of moderate heat, and can be dried easily. I prefer them pickled in vinegar, which is how these will end up.

The fruits on both of them have all turned red (well almost all for the Bishop’s Crown peppers). As the amount of peppers produced is small due to weather and severe spider mite attacks, I had left them on the plant since the ripened fruits add colour to the plants in the balcony instead of picking them off as they ripen. Now that almost all of the chillies have turned red, it is time to remove them to get them to produce the next flush of fruits (and deny passing birds a quick meal on the 13th floor).
Bishop's Crown peppers, Capsicum baccatum, Monk's Hats
From greenish yellow to orange to red - Bishop's Crown peppers under different stage of ripeness.
Capsicum baccatum Bishop's Crown
The Bishop's Crown chillies before being snipped off the plant - a bit like flying saucers hovering around the mother ship. If you want to see how the flowers look like, please click here.

The bird chillies will be pickled in vinegar, which helps to kill some of the heat of the peppers, thus making it more palatable whilst the Bishop’s Crown peppers will be seeded and dried. When dried after reaching ripeness, Bishop’s Crown peppers have a nice sweet, fruity taste.
Capsicum frutescens, cili padi
Enticing birds in the neighbourhood - red bird chillies (Capsicum frutescens) for grabs on the 13th floor.
Capsicum frutescens plant, pokok cili padi, cabe rawit
The Bird Chilli plant sans the ripe fruits. It won't be long before the next flush of flowers comes out.

The taste of dried Bishop's Crown peppers is somewhat akin to that of dried Goji berries but with the sweetness of dried tomatoes. After all, they are all members of the Nightshade family (Solanaceae) – Goji berry belongs to the boxthorn family of Lycium, tomatoes are now a Solanum (together with potatoes and aubergines), and chilli peppers are Capsicums.