By: Tara Feld – Landscape Designer
Contributor’s website: Tara Feld Design
Late summer to early fall is a great time to spice up your life with peppers. Thriving in full sun, pepper plants are perfect for any gardener and or culinary connoisseur who enjoy grilling and eating spicy foods. Los Angeles residents love eating a diversity of spicy cuisine from Oaxaca, Guatemala, El Salvador, Ecuador, Japan, Thailand, Korea, Vietnam, China, India and Pakistan. This L.A. melting pot of culinary delights inspired me to create a new gift item this month, a sensational pepper container garden.
Featured above on the left is a beautiful Sedona clay pot in chocolate brown planted with a selection of five pepper plants ranging in flavors from mild to crazy hot. The image on the right is a detail of the first and mildest pepper in the collection is a Japanese Shisito pepper. Shisito peppers are wonderful to grill in the spring or summer time. Simply harvest your Shisito peppers, wash and dry them (for the best results) skewer (soak skewers in water first) and then grill to perfection (slightly charring them). Shisito peppers can also be prepared by frying them in hot oil, or by broiling.
The second pepper in this ‘some like it hot’ container garden is the Jalapeno hot pepper. Spicy and delicious! These shiny dark green to brilliant red colored peppers are tapered in shape (with vertical brown lines called corking) and average in size from 1 – 2 1/2 inches in length. Peppers mature to a red color in 65 – 75 days. Jalapeno pepper’s can be enjoyed fresh, pickled (with vegetables), grilled, baked, or fried (typically stuffed with cheese). Jalapeno peppers are great raw or quickly roasted over a hot flame (charred and peeled) and wonderful when added to a fresh homemade salsa or made into jelly. Jalapeno peppers are fantastic when blended into cold or hot sauces used to season meat or fish dishes. The Scoville heat scale rating for the Jalapeno (Capsicum annuum) pepper is 2,500 – 5,000.
The Thai hot culinary pepper is the third pepper featured and it is a scorcher! It is five times hotter than the Jalapeno pepper. The thin 3 1/2 inch in length peppers are light to dark green and mature to a deep red color in 70 days. The Thai hot pepper plant is incredibly study and a prolific producer of over 150 upward growing peppers. From the origin of Thailand, the name for this pepper is ‘Pring chee fah’ which literally means ‘pointing towards sky chili’. Thai hot culinary peppers are enjoyed raw, dried, and or frozen. Used in Asian cuisine this pepper sparks a bold heat and is delicious in salads, curries, soups, and noodle dishes. The Scoville heat scale rating for the Thai Hot (Capsicum annuum) pepper is 50,000 – 100,000.
The fourth pepper in this collection is famous in Thailand. Named ‘Prig kee nu’ these dwarf Thai hot peppers are considered the hottest of the pepper family. These tiny peppers are green (with purple blushing) and mature to a bold red color in eighty-five days. One inch in length, these darling Thai hot peppers are ridiculously spicy! In Thailand these peppers are harvested in very large quantities and are preserved for years by freezing them. For those of us who can’t take the heat, remember that you can always enjoy these dwarf Thai hot pepper plants by planting them as an ornamental color element in your garden.
The last and hottest pepper of the ‘some like it hot’ container garden is the Hot, Hot, Hot, Habanero heirloom pepper! Habanero peppers are 1- 2 inches in length, are lantern shaped, and range in colors of orange to salmon, and sometimes red. Harvesting in 85 day, these peppers can be prepared raw (with the seeds) in cold sauces to add intense heat and flavor, whole (asado, grilled till slightly wilted, charred and sliced), or mashed (with lime and salt juice) for making spicy hot sauce condiments. Habanero peppers can also be enjoyed as a desert when blended into gourmet ice cream. The Scoville heat scale rating for the Habanero (Capsicum chinense Jacquin) pepper is 100,000 – 350,000.
Here are the seven hottest peppers in the world according to the Muscovite heat scale. The scoville heat scale begins with the Bell Pepper which is rated 0 and ends with the Trinidad Scorpion rated at 900,000 – 1,463,700. Common Pepper Spray is scoville heat scale rated at 2 – 3,000,000. Police Grade Pepper Spray is scoville heat scale rated at 5,300,000. See the scoville heat scale list below to see for yourself why these seven peppers are so wickedly dangerous and legendary all around the globe.
Chocolate Habenero – 325,000 – 425,000
Red Savina Habenero – 350,000 – 575,000
Dorset Naga – 800,000 – 970,000
Naga Jolokia “Ghost Pepper – 800,000 – 1,041,000
Infinity – 800,000 – 1,067,286
Naga Viper – 800,000 – 1,382,118
Trinidad Scorpion – 900,000 – 1,463,700 (highest scoville rating – hottest pepper)
It is wonderful to grow culinary and medicinal plants at home. Growing your own peppers either in the ground, raised bed, or container garden is a great way to enjoy your harvest from the garden to the plate. Discover new and exotic recipes by utilizing your peppers all year long. Share your harvest with your friends, family. Exchange fruits, vegetables, herbs and peppers with your neighbors and enjoy your community in a whole new way.
If you are interested in starting your own home garden in the Los Angeles area feel free to contact me, TARA FELD, to schedule a private on site consultation. Custom arrangements: Orchids, ‘The Perfect Gift’ succulent series, vegetable and herb container gardens are now exclusively available by special order. To place an order contact TARA FELD DESIGN directly via email at email@example.com or by phone at 310.924.1125
Special Thanks this month to Diana Lipnick, Micky Hoogen, Kaylie Hogan, Jennifer Dali and Yamaguchi Bonsai Nursery for all of your support of TARA FELD DESIGN. From one gardener to another…thank you Crystal Perez, Jordon Mandel, Mr. And Mrs. Porter, and The Lake Family for so generously sharing your harvest of HOT peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, mint and delicious figs with me.
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Contributor’s website: Tara Feld Design
Images: All images and photography by TARA FELD DESIGN, copyright TARA FELD 2011.