The bird's eye chili plant is a perennial with small, tapering fruits, often two or three, at a node. Also called the Piri Piri Chilli, the fruits are very pungent and perfect for a home made Peri-Peri (or Piri Piri ) sauce. The bird's eye chilli is small, but is quite hot, measuring around 100,000–225,000 Scoville units.
The Scoville scale is a measurement of the pungency (spicy heat) of chilli peppers such as the jalapeño, the bhut jolokia, and the world's current hottest pepper, the Carolina Reaper, or other spicy foods as reported in Scoville heat units (SHU), a function of capsaicin concentration. Capsaicin is one of many related chemicals, collectively called capsaicinoids. The scale is named after its creator, American pharmacist Wilbur Scoville. His method, devised in 1912, is known as the Scoville Organoleptic Test.
|When to Sow||Sow indoors January to April.|
|Where to Sow||Sow seeds 0.5cm (1/4in) deep, in modules or trays filled with moist compost and place in a warm light position such as a south facing windowsill or where temperature is 18–21°C (65 to 70°F).|
|Likes a sunny position.|
|Prefers well drained soil that must be kept moist.|
|What to do Next||When the seedlings are about 15cm (6in) high, transplant to their final growing positions in a pot and keep in a warm and light position.|
|Give a nitrogen feed once 2 to 3 chillies have appeared.|
|Harvest||Harvest in 18 to 20 weeks, from July to October.|
|African Birds Eye chillies have a heat rating of up to 150,000 to 200,000 Scoville Units.|
|Wash your hands immediately after handling chillies.|
|All chillies are better grown in a pot or container because the soil can warm up quickly.|
|If you have only one chilli growing and you see no others forming, pick it, this will encourage more to grow.|
|Companion Planting||Hot peppers like to be grouped with cucumbers, aubergine, tomato, okra, Swiss chard and squash.|
|Nutritional Information||Chillies are rich in antioxidant plant compounds that have been linked with various health benefits. Most notable is capsaicin, which is responsible for the pungent (hot) taste of chilli peppers.|
|Serving Suggestion||Used extensively in Thai, Lao, Khmer, Indonesian, and Vietnamese cuisine.|
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