Available from D. T. Brown as young plants last season, the world's hottest chilli pepper - Carolina Reaper - is now also offered as seed for the 2017 season by the specialist kitchen garden supplier. It packs a volcanic punch of more than 2,200,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU), which is why the company's Tim Jeffries recommends gloves should be worn when handling the plants and fruits, which should always be cooked and never eaten raw. "It really should be treated with the utmost respect. The fruits are incredibly hot, not for the faint-hearted, and should be used only very sparingly in dishes", he says. A packet of 10 seeds of Carolina Reaper costs £3.99.
But, as Tim explains, Carolina Reaper is not simply about intense heat. "It has a sweet, fruity flavour with chocolate and cherry undertones. All super-hot chillies are a challenge to grow from seed, as they need to be sown early and require real warmth to get started. A heated propagator set at 28-30°C is ideal, because the hotter the chilli the more time and heat it needs.
"We have seen a surge of interest in growing very hot chillies by our customers. Chilli seed sales were up 21 per cent last season on the previous year. When we introduced Bhut Jolokia, the 'ghost chilli', which at the time was the hottest we had sold, in its first season it accounted for more than 10 per cent of our total chilli seed sales. Similarly, Our World’s Hottest Chilli Plant Collection was also a great success in its first year last season, and is offered once again for 2017".
D. T. Brown is also listing seed of Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Red (£3.49 for 10 seeds), the world's hottest chilli until superseded by Carolina Reaper, and Bhut Jolokia (£2.49 for 10 seeds). To request a copy of the new Fruit and Vegetable Grower's Seed and Plant Catalogue 2017, write to D. T. Brown Seeds, Bury Road, Newmarket CB8 7PQ, telephone 0845 371 05 32, or go online www.dtbrownseeds.co.uk
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