Field Notes

Tips for Planting Peppers in Your Garden

Spring is in the air, and that means it is time for most of the country to start setting up your garden. Whether your tilling your compost, putting up your fences, or picking out your seeds, spring is in full bloom. If you are chili head like us here at The Chili Lab, then your garden must be chock full of peppers. 

The reason we celebrate chili peppers at The Chili Lab is that each fruit has a unique personality. Peppers have individual flavor profiles, Scoville rankings, and can compliment dishes in their own ways. Fostering this individuality begins with planting the pepper. That is why we are sharing secrets on planting peppers in your garden that we use in our Chili Flake blends

Tips for Planting Chili Peppers in Garden Blend

Our Garden Blend Chili Flakes is the newest of the bunch.

It has a very robust flavor profile. Not only is there a hint of berry and citrus in our Garden Blend, but these flakes burst with earthy tones with a touch of heat. That's much in thanks to these three delicious chili peppers. 

How to Plant Jalapeños

Jalapeños are slow growers. If you want them to flourish outside with the rest of your harvest, pot them indoors from 8 to 12 weeks before transplanting outside. 

These Mexican peppers flourish in the heat. They like full exposure to the sun and temps of 80° F to 85° F to produce the most exceptional yields. 

Scatter the seeds or transport potted soil 14 to 16 inches apart. Also, allow two to three inches per row. You can expect the jalapeño plants to sprout to about three feet.

Since the pepper is in the sun all day, keep the soil moist. However, don't overwater. Too much water can lead to root rot.

How to Plant Calabrian Peppers

These Italian peppers are tiny with a ton of personality. By personality, we mean heat. They are responsible for the bite in our Garden Blend. However, they also lend a bit of zest and brightness to the mix. 

Calabrians enjoy exposure to full sun and thrive with nutrient-dense soil. Plant eight to ten inches into the earth with the weather of no less than 60°F. Cover the area with mulch to retain water and nutrients. You want an NPK ratio of 12-12-12. Stop fertilizing after July. If temps dry too low at night, the extra nutrients may be a breeding ground for disease. 

How to Plant Green Hatch Chili Peppers

These big peppers are perfect stuffing...or for making Garden Blend Chili Flakes. While Green Hatch Chili Peppers thrive by planting indoor first, they are hardier than other peppers. Therefore, it's not necessary.

To get the highest yield, Green Hatch Chilies thrive in 85° to 90° F weather. Just make sure you don't plant outdoors if your nighttime temps hit 60° F. These plants do well indoors, so bring them in. Just make sure they are placed near a south-facing window for ample sunlight all day.

Tips for Planting Chili Peppers in Forager's Blend

The Forager's Blend Chili Flakes is our most popular.

It has a sweet kiss of a berry infused with a smoky bite that lingers long after you finish eating. Trust us, that's not a bad thing! There are three chili peppers in the Forager's Blend. Here are some tips on how planting them.

How to Plant Guajillos

Guajillos are popular in Latin cuisine. While they bring the heat, they also need the heat. Wait until the soil is around 70° F. Dig holes around the size of the guajillo root ball about 1.5 to 2 feet apart and place into their respective spot.

Water your plants after placing into the ground. From there, only water about two times per week. Be sure to use a spray nozzle even to disperse the water. By drenching the leaves, the guajillo plant becomes susceptible to mold.

If your plant becomes brown, stop watering for a couple of weeks. You will know the pepper is ready for harvest when all signs of green are gone, and the pepper boasts the bright red hue present in the Forager's Blend. 

How to Plant Chipotle Pepper

Chipotle peppers are actually dried out jalapeños. So, follow the growing process in the Garden Blend Chili Flakes section. However, don't pick these chilies while they are green. Wait for them to turn red.

From there, you want to smoke the jalapeños until they have a black and leathery exterior. After, dry them out. You officially have chipotles you can toss into a soup or sauce, or grind into a coarse powder. 

How to Plant Pequin Peppers

Pequin is one of our favorite peppers. In fact, our most popular Chili Salts are crafted with this zesty fruit. This Tobasco pepper produces a large yield. They just need full sun and well-draining soil. 

These peppers grow more efficiently if they are potted inside six to eight weeks prior to transplanting into the ground. Fruit will be ready to harvest around 80 days after planting.

Be sure to water the plant at least once a week with one to two inches of water. Pequins like plenty of nitrogen. Fertilize lightly up to eight weeks after transplant.

Tips for Planting Chili Peppers in Grove Blend

The brightest of the bunch, our Grove Blend Chili Flakes live up to their name.

They enliven every dish added to and cause you to pucker your lips in delight. These flakes are tangy, juicy, and hot. This complex dichotomy is much in thanks to these three mouth-watering peppers.

How to Plant Habanero Peppers

Unless you live in a subtropical climate, start your habanero peppers indoors. Put outside two weeks before the last frost is set to happen. 

Place your habanero seeds or plants 1/2 inch deep and 18 inches apart. These plants need infrequent watering. However, when you do water, make sure to go deep. You also may need to cover these peppers to avoid them from cracking and drying out from the sun.

You can start to pick when they are green or wait until the pepper matures to a shade of red. The longer you wait to harvest, the hotter these peppers will be.

How to Plant Piri Piri Peppers

Also known as the African Red Devil, Piri Piri bring some genuine heat with a touch of smoke. As you'd imagine, they flourish in hot temperatures. 

Make sure the piri piri gets plenty of sun. Only water once or twice a week, going one to two inches deep each time. Keep an eye out for rot on the leaves because the plant is susceptible to growth during rainy seasons. These plants grow up to two feet tall and are mature when bright red. 

How to Plant Anaheim Peppers

This crisp pepper brings a bit of sweetness to our tangy blend. Anaheims are refreshing with a mild heat. While their bite isn't the hardest, they need hot temperatures. Anaheims thrive in 90° F.

Plant your Anaheim peppers 18 to 24 inches apart. Funny enough, they should hit about 18 to 24 inches at maturity. Speaking of, you can expect the Anaheim to reach maturity around 74 days.

Give Every Meal a Chili Kiss

While there is nothing more rewarding than growing your own food, we do live a fast-paced life. That's why we turn toward convenient items like Chili Flakes to bring flavor to our meals. 

Do you think these three blends sound good to be true? Well, don't choose between them. Try our Chili Flake Trios and get a sample of each flavor.

A little goes a long way when you are looking to transform your meal! 

St. Patrick's Day Recipes...with a Kick!

At the end of every rainbow might not be a pot o' gold, but this St. Patrick's Day you may find a pot of peppers. Whether you are looking for St. Patrick's Day appetizers recipes or traditional Irish St. Patrick's Day food, we have it all for you. And you know us, we even have a make your own hot sauce recipe. You know we can't resist. 

Corned Beef Stuffed Peppers

Image via Chili Pepper Madness

It wouldn't be traditional Irish St. Patrick's Day food without corned beef. And it wouldn't a Chili Lab post without chilies! So, we married the best of both words...or actually, Chili Pepper Madness did with these Corned Beef Stuffed Peppers.

Ingredients:

🌶 2 bell peppers
🌶 1-1/2 cups shredded cabbage
🌶 1 small onion chopped
🌶 1 habanero pepper – or use a milder pepper if desired
🌶 2 cloves garlic
🌶 Dash of olive oil
🌶 10-12 ounces cooked corned beef chopped or shredded
🌶 ½ cup shredded Swiss cheese
🌶 3-4 tablespoons Thousand Island Dressing plus more for serving

Get the recipe via Chili Pepper Madness

 

Guinness BBQ Sauce

 

Guinness BBQ

Image Via The Messy Baker

As the makers of the Homemade Hot Sauce Kit, we felt pressured to deliver on a St. Patrick's Day make your own hot sauce recipe. Well...has does a HOT BBQ sauce sound? The best part? You can alter the heat to your liking. 

Ingredients:

🌶 1 tablespoon canola oil
🌶 1/4 cup green pepper, finely chopped
🌶 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
🌶 2 garlic cloves, minced
🌶 1 1/2 cups Guinness
🌶 1 cup ketchup
🌶 1/3 cup brown sugar
🌶 1/4 cup molasses
🌶 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
🌶 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
🌶 1 teaspoon ground mustard

🌶 salt& pepper

Get the full recipe via The Messy Baker.

 

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie

 

Vegetarian's Shepherd's Pie

Image Via Delightful-Delicious-Delovely

Sure, this might not be the most traditional Irish St. Patrick's Day food. However, this vegetarian recipe gives a new spin on an old classic. Plus, it features the  jalapeño pepper...which we love. 

Ingredients:

"Meat" Filling

🌶 1 block of extra firm tofu that has been frozen, then thawed, and shredded to the appearance of ground meat
🌶 1 large onion, chopped
🌶 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
🌶 1/4 teaspoon of thyme
🌶 1/2 teaspoon of ground coriander seeds
🌶 freshly ground pepper to taste
🌶 3/4 cup of walnuts, toasted and chopped
🌶 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
🌶 2 tablespoons of soy sauce

Veggie Layer:

🌶 3 carrots, diced
🌶 10 Brussels sprouts, chopped
🌶 1 fennel bulb, chopped (optional)
🌶 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced (optional)
🌶 olive oil 
🌶 salt and pepper to taste

Jalapeño Mashed Potatoes:

🌶 2 large Russet potatoes
🌶 3 jalapeño peppers (or to taste)
🌶 4 T butter
🌶 4 oz cream cheese
🌶 salt and pepper to taste
🌶 more butter for browning 
🌶 parsley, chopped as garnish 

Gravy:

🌶 3 T butter
🌶 1/4 cup flour
🌶 1 1/2 cup vegetable stock
🌶 2 T soy sauce
🌶 1/2 tsp pepper

Get the full recipe via Delightful-Delicious-Delovely.

 

Creamy Potato Casserole with Bacon and Poblano Peppers

Creamy Potato Casserole

 

Image Via The Heritage Cook

You had us at creamy potato casserole. Throw in some poblanos and we're sold! Then, bacon? Come on now! Oh, and this is dish and gluten-free too. So, creamy, delicious, and traditional Irish St. Patrick's Day food all in one. Check it out!

Ingredients:

🌶 6 to 8 strips of bacon, cooked until medium-crisp, drained and crumbled
🌶 4 Poblano peppers
🌶 4 large Russet (or Idaho) potatoes, scrubbed and peeled
🌶 1 tbsp organic olive oil
🌶 Kosher or sea salt
🌶 Freshly ground black pepper
🌶 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or Italian parsley
🌶 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
🌶 1/3 cup heavy cream or half and half

Get the full recipe via The Heritage Cook.

 

Potatoes O'Brien

 

potatoes o'brien

Image Via: Savory Experiments

When it comes to traditional Irish St. Patrick's Day food, potatoes take center stage...even at The Chili Lab. However, we make sure we find recipes with chili peppers in them. Case in point, this take on Potatoes O'Brien. The name was created by an Irish cook who was tired of the same ol' fried potatoes. If you're tired of the same ol' too, give them a new type of seasoning with our Garden Blend Chili Flakes.

Ingredients:

🌶 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
🌶 3 large red potatoes chopped into 1 inch pieces
🌶 1/2 cup red bell pepper chopped into 1 inch pieces
🌶 1/2 cup green bell pepper chopped into 1 inch pieces
🌶 1/2 cup onion chopped
🌶 Fine Sea Salt & Pepper
🌶 1 T Worcestershire sauce

Get the full recipe via Savory Experiments.

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with The Chili Lab. Tag us in your posts on social media. Want a hot sauce for every occasion? Check out our Hot Sauce Field Guide to make your next get-together a bit more flavorful.

 

    Peppertizers - Easy Pepper Appetizers That Everyone Will Love

    Here at The Chili Lab, we encourage you to do more than just make your own hot sauce. We want you to go beyond heat and enjoy the chili pepper for the unique fruit that it is. That is why we like to showcase ways you can use peppers to entertain your audiences. If you are looking up easy appetizer recipes, look no further than these pepper side dishes. They take little work on your end and will be the talk of your gathering.

    Cream Cheese & Sausage Stuffed Tribelli Mini Peppers

    Cream Cheese Stuffed Mini Peppers via That Skinny Chick Can Bake

    Image via That Skinny Chick Can Bake

    What we love about this peppertizer is how easy it is to make a lot of them. These mini peppers come in bulk in many produce aisles. So, for just five bucks, you'll have a bunch of bases. While we love our chilies, this stuffing is where the gold is. After you read this recipe, you might want to get a couple of bags of mini peppers!

    Ingredients:

    🌶 8 Morita Chili Peppers
    🌶 1 pound fresh Divine Flavor Tribelli peppers (sweet mini peppers)
    🌶 1 pound mild Italian sausage, cooked, crumbled, drained of fat
    🌶 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
    🌶 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
    🌶 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    🌶 Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

    Get the full recipe courtesy of That Skinny Chick Can Bake.

    Bell Pepper Pizza

    Bell Pepper Pizzas via Peas and Crayons

    Image Via Peas and Crayons

    You had us at pizza. But then you go and throw bell pepper in there, and we're definitely sold. This recipe is another take on stuffed peppers but with everyone's favorite topping...pizza. Wait, isn't the pizza supposed to be the one with the toppings? Well, it still can with this peppertizer!

    Ingredients:

    🌶 8 Morita Chili Peppers
    🌶 1 large bell pepper
    🌶 1/4 cup pizza sauce or spaghetti sauce
    🌶 1/4 cup grated cheese
    🌶 a pinch of red pepper flakes
    🌶 a pinch of basil or parsley
    🌶 as many toppings as you can fit

    Get the recipe via Peas and Crayons.

    Mini Hummus & Roasted Red Pepper Phyllo Bites 

    Mini Phylo Bites via Cook in Canuck

    Image Via Cook in Canuck.

    This vegetarian appetizer will have the carnivores salivating. It has the vegan marriage made in Heaven: roasted red peppers and hummus. Roasted red peppers and hummus is the new age peanut butter and jelly, trust us. 

    Ingredients:

    🌶 30 Athens Mini Fillo Shells (2 boxes), defrosted 
    🌶 3/4 c + 3 tbsp hummus (I use Sabra)
    🌶 1/2 c diced English cucumber
    🌶 1 roasted red pepper (2 halves), diced
    🌶 1 1/4 oz. (1/4 c) crumbled feta cheese
    🌶 2 tbsp minced flat-leaf parsley

    Get the recipe via Cook in Canuck.

     Blistered Shishito Peppers with Sriracha Aioli

    Blistered Shishito Peppers with Sriracha

    Image via Savory Simple.

    Sriracha and Shishito? Both sides of our mouths are watering. These peppertizers are mild with a hint of heat that will make your guests keep coming back for more. So, be sure to set some aside for yourself!

    Ingredients:

    Sriracha Aioli

    🌶 1/4 cup mayonnaise
    🌶 1 tablespoon Sriracha, or more to taste
    🌶 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
    🌶 1 clove garlic, grated or minced (see notes)
    🌶 Kosher salt if desired

    Blistered Shishito Peppers

    🌶 8 ounces (approximately 4 cups) shishito peppers; Padrón peppers may be substituted
    🌶 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (grapeseed or canola oil are also good options)
    🌶 1/2 medium lemon (approximately 1 tablespoon juice)
    🌶 Kosher or sea salt to taste

    Get recipe via Savory Simple.

    Really Good Jalapeño Dip

    Really Good Jalapeno Dip

    Image Via Inspired by Charm

    Every party needs a good dip. Why not kick this dip up? Literally! Sure, many people turn to the jalapeño for the tried-and-true jalapeño popper. However, there are many other uses for the jalapeño. For instance, why not give this favorite pepper the center stage as the kick needed in your dip?

    Ingredients:

    🌶 2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese softened
    🌶 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
    🌶 1 envelope dry ranch dressing mix
    🌶 1 large red pepper finely diced
    🌶 5 jalapeño peppers seeded and finely diced
    🌶 1 bag Tostitos Scoop chips

    Get the recipe by Inspired by Charm.

    Learn more about the chilies you've seen today with our Hot Sauce Field Guide!

    Pepper of the Week: Morita Pepper

    The Morita Pepper is one of the most popular chili peppers in Mexican cuisine. Typically used died, Morita chili peppers pack a lot of heat. While Morita chili peppers have a kick, they back up the bite with a ton of flavor.

    Morita Pepper

    A Morita pepper has a nutty profile that boasts a lingering smoky afterbite. Popular with the Aztecs and with a long line of fanatics today, let's shed the spotlight on the Morita Pepper. 

    What is a Morita Pepper?

    Morita chili peppers received their name as a loose Spanish translation to "pepper black berry." Many liken their looks to that of a mulberry. These resemblances are much in thanks to the dried chilies' dark red/purplish hue. Like the mulberry, the Morita has a bit of a sweet flavor. This fruity nuance bursts through the initial heat you experience when biting into a Morita pepper. 

    While it may look like a berry and have citrusy nodes, the Morita Pepper is actually a member of the jalapeño family. These fruits develop their chocolate-like aromas when they passed the ripening stage, becoming red. At its highest heat, the Morita pepper can boast a Scoville level of 10,000 SHU. 

    How to Use a Morita Pepper?

    Being such a celebrated staple of the Mexican community, you can use the Morita pepper in a litany of tantalizing dishes.

    Morita chili peppers are typically used in:

    🌶 Moles

    🌶 Stews

    🌶 Hot Sauce

    🌶 Salsas

    🌶 Adoboes

    🌶 Soups

    As you can see, the versatile flavors of the Morita pepper offer this fruit as a great accompaniment to any dish. Here are some of our favorite recipes involving the Morita pepper.

    Pork Tenderloin

    with Morita Chili Pepper Salsa

    Pork and salsa? This is an authentic Mexican dish made to make your mouth-water. The spiciness and fruitiness of the salsa bring great balance to the juicy pork tenderloin. Check out the recipe courtesy of Que Rica Vida.

    Pork Tenderloin

    🌶 8 Morita Chili Peppers
    🌶 3 Garlic Cloves
    🌶 2 cups of Water
    🌶 1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
    🌶 1 tsp Ground Cumin
    🌶 2 tsp Powdered Seasoning
    🌶  Sea Salt, if necessary
    🌶 3 lbs Pork Tenderloin
    🌶 1 T Olive Oil
    🌶 6 Slices of Pineapple

    Get the recipe via Que Rica Vida.

    Smoky Spicy Amaretto

    After a long day, a stiff drink is much needed. A great way to unwind is to sweat out the stress. Enjoy the decompression process with this biteful, spiteful, and delightful drink! Courtesy of Well Preserved

    Amaretto

    Ingredients:

    🌶 Chili Syrup
    🌶 1 cup of Sugar
    🌶 2-3 Dried Morita Peppers 
    🌶 1.5 ounces Amaretto 
    🌶 1 ounce Chili Syrup 
    🌶 1 ounce Lemon Juice
    🌶 Ice
    🌶 Thin Slices of Lime, Lemon, Morita Peppers

    Get the recipe via Well Preserved

    Celebrate the Morita Pepper

    Can't get enough of the Morita pepper? We don't blame ya one bit! That's why it's our Pepper of the Week. Join us on Instagram @TheChiliLab. We'll cover all things Morita Pepper including how to make your own hot sauce. 

    Want to take your love for food to the next level. Try our DIY Hot Sauce Kit. This Hot Sauce Making Kit has everything you need from bottles, strainers, to chili flakes. Artisan hot sauce...but homemade!

     

    Pepper of the Week: Raja Mirchi

    #POW

    Pepper of the Week

    Raja Mirchi/Ghost Pepper

    We're used to going bold each #POW, but this week we just went bolder. It's the ghost pepper, Raja Mirchi.

    This pepper commands respect from foodies...and their taste buds. Once dubbed the "hottest chili pepper in the world," people keep coming back for more.

    Why are they hooked on the ghost? Let's dive a bit deeper in the Raja Mirchi, ghost pepper. 

    What is a Raja Mirchi Pepper?

    This beautiful pepper means a lot to many cultures. The Raja Mirchi brings a delicate heat to so many Asian delicacies. From curries to chutneys, the Raja Mirchi's spice is slightly offset by the fruit's sweet flavor. That complexity is the charm that keeps the locals hooked on this ghost pepper! 

    Raja Mirchi

    Image via Down to Earth

    The popularity of this chili pepper has earned this fruit many monikers. Therefore, you might see these peppers in specialty produce stores...and might not even realize you're looking at them!

    The long list of names for the Raja Mirchi Pepper includes:

    🌶 Naga Jolokia (Serpent Chili)

    🌶 Bhut Jolokia (Ghost Chili)

    🌶 Bih Jolokia (Poison Chili in Assamese)

    🌶 Raja Mirchi (King Pepper in Hindi)

    🌶 Pasa Kala (Chief Chili in Mishmi)

    With such revered names, you can see this scorcher is well-respected. So, why does the Raja Mirchi command such respect? Let's look a little closer this week's #POW.

    Characteristics of a Raja Mirchi Pepper:

    🌶 Heat intensity: Hot

    🌶 Size: 2 -3 inches 

    🌶 Scoville Units: 800,000 to 900,000 SHU

    🌶 Flavor Profiles: Subtly Sweet, Grassy Nodes

    As you can see, despite the heat, the Raja Mirchi has quite a nuanced flavor. Its subtle sweetness makes for a burn you can long for. 

    History of the Raja Mirchi Pepper

    This pepper's history is far entwined with Indian culture and cuisine. While natives have long heralded the heat that comes from the ghost pepper, the Raja Mirchi didn't rise to foodie prominence until the early 2000s.

    Raja Mirchi Pepper

    Image via The Better India

    A London, England-based restaurant called the Cinnamon Club carried a dish known as the world's hottest curry. This meal is brandished the Bollywood Burner.

    The lamb-based dish contained seven of the deadly hot peppers in its creamy gravy. Those who chose the dish have to sign a waiver before being served!

    Since its debut in the mainstream, the heat behind the Raja Mirchi has come to light. In fact, Indian military is tinkering with using this pepper in their weapon arsenal! In the meantime, this aromatic fruit is also used as a deterrent to protect elephants and crops in Asia. 

    Raja Mirchi Pepper Recipes

    Think you can stand the heat? Then get in the kitchen. There are so many ways to use King Pepper in your everyday life. Here are a few!

    King Chili Chutney

    Chutney is such a versatile tool in the kitchen. You can use it as a glaze for your meats. However, it's also a great accompaniment to toast in the morning. What's fun about chutney is you can add a little spice to the sweetness. To make it even easier, we just happen to have this recipe courtesy of Roots and Leisure here

    King Chili Chutney

    Image via Roots and Leisure

    Ingredients:

    🌶 1 King Chili Pepper (Raja Mirchi)
    🌶 1 Large Tomato
    🌶 1 Clove of Garlic
    🌶 Salt to Taste

    Look simple enough? Get the recipe courtesy of Roots and Leisure here. 

    Naga Style Pork Raja Mirchi

    Perhaps no other meat complements the complexity of Raja Mircho more than pork. It's flavored get lost within the pork's fibers, bringing out more nuances with each bite. Your mouth-watering yet? Then check out the recipe courtesy of First Post here

    Pork Chili

    Image via First Post

    Ingredients:

    🌶 1 T Salt
    🌶 Pork
    🌶 1 Raja Mirchi Pepper
    🌶 4 Dried Red Kashmiri Chillies

    🌶 8 Cloves Garlic
    🌶 1 tsp Salt

    To get the complete recipe, check out First Post here.

    Celebrate Pepper of the Week

    Don't ghost us all week long on the ghost pepper. Follow us on Instagram @TheChiliLab as we celebrate all things Raja Mirchi Pepper.

    These recipes get your mind turning? Try making some sauce at home. It's now easier than ever with our Homemade Hot Sauce Kit.