Monday, November 24, 2008

Christmas cactus blooming and Bhut Jolokia pepper taste test

The so called "Christmas cactus" is in full bloom before Thanksgiving. We put it outdoors last summer shaded from the afternoon hot sun by a maple tree and despite the pale looking plant parts it obviously has thrived. This is the most blooms it has produced since we first bought it several years ago.

The long awaited Bhut Jolokia Taste Test.

Well, I finally worked up the courage to give the world's hottest pepper a taste. I was cutting the peppers in half this weekend to speed the drying and cut a small sliver the size of 1/2 a grain of long grain rice. I popped it into my mouth and almost immediately spit it out as I could feel the burn happening. The burn continued to migrate to every part of the mouth so I'm glad I didn't try a larger piece or kept it in longer. The burn lasted a good 10-15 minutes. I made sure I cut the piece out of the wall of the pepper and not the placental membrane to which the seeds are attached - purported to be the hottest part of the pepper.

So it lives up to its reputation even when grown in less than ideal conditions in New Jersey. I would guess that smaller than grain of rice piece of Bhut Jolokia was the equivalent of a whole tiny round chilipiquin pepper. It also tastes much like a Habanero.

Interestingly, although the NMSU The Chili Pepper Institute mentions that the Bhut Jolokia pepper produce only very few seeds, but the peppers I grew have about 30 seeds in each pod. I expected about 5 seeds for each pod after reading the TCPI article.


Blogger Les, Zone 8a said...

And what will you do with the rest of the pepper?

6:48 PM  
Blogger Entangled said...

That would definitely liven up a batch of hot sauce. You could freeze them and just shave off a bit when you need a pepper for cooking.

4:57 AM  
Anonymous Jan said...

Are you going to save the seeds for planting in the spring?
It is amazing that so much heat came from such a small piece. That is one hot pepper!

Always Growing

5:11 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Les,
I'll dry and grind them. We sprinkle hot pepper flakes on almost everything we cook but I hope we'll remember to use less >:O Want to try growing them? I'll send you some seeds.

Hi Entangled,
I don't like the mushy quality of frozen peppers so I'm drying them instead. Though the peppers seem thin walled, as I was cutting them open with a pair of kitchen scissors the walls were quite wet and the scissor blades were stained with the pepper juice. It's taking quite a long time to air dry them too. We loaned our food dryer to someone who hasn't returned it yet so I put it in a sunny window (when we have sun which has been in short supply lately) but it still is leathery and supple. Let me know if you want some seeds. Since I didn't grow any other kind of peppers this year the Bhut Jolokias will probably breed true.


Hi Jan,
I was surprised it had so much heat. Usually the peppers we grow aren't that hot. I'm saving the seeds for spring planting. Now I know how to grow them, I'll prob. start early in a sunny window with supplemental bottom heat. Since they don't need too much direct sun in the early stages it's a perfect pepper to start early in pots.

Want some seeds?

8:51 AM  
Anonymous Zach said...

wow! That's a lot of blooms! Congratulations! I'm looking forward to my buds opening soon, but I don't have near that many.

9:23 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Zach,
Thanks. I think being outside all summer long helped the plant tremendously. We usually place the Jade plants outside too but didn't this year and the plants are noticeably weaker. So some fresh air and sunshine does wonders for indoor plants. We also put out the false Aralia plants under the oak tree and they respond very well to the outdoor treatment. Seems to keep the scale insect pest in check too.

4:33 PM  
Blogger Stacy said...

Oh my that is a gorgeous Christmas cactus! I never saw one with so many blooms!

11:07 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Stacy,
This is the most it's ever bloomed. I attribute that to the time spent outdoors. We normally keep it in for the entire summer but decided to do a little experiment to see what would happen. Unfortunately most of the blooms are withering already and it looks like a mop with pink strings. ;) Thanks for your comment.

4:12 PM  
Blogger lisa said...

My houseplants all enjoy "summer camp" too (except my Norfolk Island Pine, and only since it got over 4 feet tall). Sounds like that hot pepper enjoyed your accomodations...careful how you use it! I bet a little goes a really long way. Yikes.

12:21 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Lisa,

We usually send the jade plants outdoors for the summer but didn't this year and they have suffered. The leaves are small and very green with large gaps in the plants. So...we'll have to remember to put them outdoors next summer.

I touched the almost bone dry BJ pepper with my dry finger and put the finger tip on my tongue. Amazingly just that little contact made my mouth hot for at least 15 minutes. This is a serious pepper!!!

5:11 PM  
Anonymous troy said...

BJ pepper? Thats not even funny!!
I am going to try growing these this year alredy got my seeds from "Pepper Joe's"

9:52 AM  

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