For hot pepper lovers and adventurous newcomers interested in tantalizing their taste buds, the University of Delaware Botanic Garden’s will offer its selection of hot pepper and heirloom tomato plants at the annual spring plant sale on Friday, April 27th and Saturday, April 28th as well as Thursday, May 3rd and Saturday, May 5th.
Popular chili peppers can be used to make everything from sultry salsas to flavorful dishes. Spiciness is essential to gastronomic pleasure and without chili peppers, dishes would lack Capsaicin—known as that mouth-watering spicy kick—which may play a role in increasing blood circulation, lowering cholesterol, improving digestion, and preventing cancer.
The UDBG plant sale will also feature the hottest chili pepper in the world, as the Capsicum ‘Carolina Reaper,’ which was recognized as the world’s hottest chili in 2013 by Guinnes World Records, will be available.
Heat is measured on the Scoville scale with bell peppers coming in at zero, or no heat, and the ‘Carolina Reaper’, rated at 1,569,383 – 2,200,000 in Scoville units.
Some of the UDBG’s other selections include ‘Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Red’, rated the second hottest pepper in the world, ‘7 Pot Douglah,’ an extremely hot and rare chili characterized by its dark brown to deep purple skin, and ‘7 Pot Brain Strain’ which many growers consider to be the hottest of the red ‘7 Pot’ varieties.
Incidentally, the ‘7 Pot’ varieties, native to the Caribbean, are named for the ability of 1 pepper to spice “7 pots of stew.”
For those who aren’t fans of hot peppers, the sale will also feature pepper plants for every palate. The selection of 42 cultivars ranges from sweets such as ‘Violet Sparkle’ and ‘Topepo Rosso’ to familiar, mildly hot peppers such as ‘Hot Cherry’ and ‘Corbaci’, to Scorpion, Ghost, Scotch Bonnets and the ‘Carolina Reaper’.
A full list of pepper and tomato plants, including tomatillos, can be viewed on the UDBG’s website at http://ag.udel.edu/udbg/.
Tomatillo ‘Amarylla’ is a key ingredient in many mild to hot salsas and therefore a perfect growing companion alongside pepper and tomato plants.
The UDBG only has a limited number of some varieties, so come early for the best selection.
Article by Rachel Hutchins