How To Grow Chilis & 5 Weird Ways To Use Them
Not only chilis add zest to any meal, from breakfast to barbecues and beyond, they’re incredibly nutritious and offer properties that can boost your health from the inside out and the outside in. So if you love adding different spices to your food, then you definitely need to add chilis to the mix.
Chilis are primarily used in cooking, as a spice added to a variety of dishes and sauces. Some of the most popular varieties include habanero, jalapeno, cayenne, and serrano.
One of the reasons these peppers are so healthy is because they contain a bioactive plant compound known as capsaicin.
Let’s see how you can grow chilis in your own garden!
Choose your chilis.
There are three general types of chili peppers to consider: hot, sweet and ornamental. All have some level of spice, but sweet chilies, as the name belies are the mildest. Hot chilis are known for the intense spicy flavor, and, ornamentals come in wonderful shapes and hues.
We advise you to do some research online, or visit your local nursery to find out which varieties do well in your particular region.
Starting with seeds.
Prepare the seeds by softening them. To do so, place a damp, folded paper towel into a plastic bag, and then place the seeds inside the paper towel. Leave the bag in a warm, dry place for several days. Once you see them start to sprout, they’re ready to plant. Fill each container with soil, and then place a single seed in each one, about a half-inch below the soil’s surface. Water the seeds well, and then give them enough water every day in order to keep them moist.
Your growing seeds should be placed in an area that gets lots of sunlight together with plenty of heat.
When to plant outside.
Carefully watch your seeds, as the sprouting can happen between several days to a few weeks. When the “true leaves” sprout, start planting outside.
Determine your planting site.
Chili’s love the heat, so choosing a sunny, well-drained site where peppers haven’t grown recently is a must. It’s best to pick a plot in your garden that gets full sun or mostly sun for the majority of the day. Be careful with watering, as excessive amount of water will drown out your peppers, and cause them to grow less fruit. If potassium is not already present in sufficient amounts, then you’ll notice a significant growth boost by increasing the amount of potassium in the soil.
You want the soil to be deep and rich – if it’s not, it can be amending by adding an inch of compost.
Hardening your seedlings.
The final step before planting your pepper seedlings outside is to harden them off by gradually exposing them to outdoor conditions.
To harden them, place your plants in a sheltered location outdoors, such as next to your house in the backyard, for several hours every day for 3 to 4 days. Then, gradually extend the time they spend outdoors.
It’s best to set your peppers out on a cloudy day to reduce stress. Plant them individually to avoid crowding, spaced 12 to 20 inches apart, depending on the variety. Dig small holes, that are slightly deeper than they were in their containers. After you put the seeds in the ground, replace the soil over the top of each one, so that about a quarter-inch of soil is on top of them.
Caring for your plants.
Throughout the growing season, it’s important that your chilis get at least 1 inch of water every week. Chili peppers will thrive when their soil is moist, but not soaking wet. In very hot, dry regions, adding a thick layer of organic mulch can help the soil to retain moisture.
Pinch off the first blooms for larger fruit later.
As hard as it might be to do, you should really pinch off any early blossoms that appear on the plants.
Time to harvest varies depending on the particular species of peppers, but you can generally tell when they’re ready by their size. If you wait for them to turn their mature color they will be sweater in taste. Don’t pull by hand as it could damage your plants.
Weird Ways To Use Your Chili Peppers:
Chili offers incredible pain-relieving properties. There are several ways you can use your chilli peppers to help your health.
You can make a pain relieving paste by combining a tablespoon of cayenne pepper and 5 tablespoons coconut oil. Mix this together and massage it on areas where you have felt pain.
Another way you can use your chili peppers is to plump up your lips. Simply mash the peppers into a pulp and add coconut oil to look like salve. Apply on your lips using a cotton ball.
You can also make a detox drink by combining a juice of one large organic lemon and 2 small limes, a teaspoon of raw honey, one-tenth of a teaspoon cayenne pepper and 8 ounces of filtered water. This drink will detox your liver, colon, and kidneys.
Or, you can rub chilies onto your face for more glowing skin. This face mask will help your face tighten and make it more glowing and healthy. To make the mask you will need: you’ll need 1-1/2 cups whole milk or coconut milk, a tablespoon of fresh-squeezed lemon juice, a pinch of cayenne pepper, a quarter teaspoon ground cinnamon and a half teaspoon raw honey. Add the lemon juice to milk in a pan over medium-high heat, just before it reaches the boiling point. Once it’s curdled, separate the milk fat until it becomes smooth. Once cooled, you can use the mask on your face, by applying it with a cotton ball.
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