CAPSICUM annuum 'Big Chile'( Longum Group)
Plant Common Name
Big Chile Pepper, Chile Pepper
The large, abundantly produced, relatively mild-flavored fruits of 'Big Chile' are borne relatively early in the season, making it an excellent choice for areas with short summers. Like many hot peppers, it is a member of the Longum group, which encompasses poblanos, serranos, jalapenos, cayenne peppers and various other chilis. These annual vegetables descend from varieties that were grown and selected by Native Americans for thousands of years.
The bushy, knee-high plants bear thin, oval, dark green leaves on stiff brittle stems. Inconspicuous white flowers appear in warm weather, followed by pendent, conical, 7-inch (17.5-cm) fruits with medium-thick, pungently flavored, medium-green flesh that ripens to red. The hollow, chambered interior is divided by spongy ribbing that holds many small, flattened, rounded seeds. Most of the heat comes from the pithy ribs, inner lining and seeds of the pepper, so keep this in mind when cooking with them. Fruits are best harvested green.
Full sun, warmth, ample spacing, and fertile well-drained soil are required for this pepper variety to grow and produce well. Harvest of green 'Big Chile' peppers begins as early as 60 days after seedlings are planted, with fruits ripening to red about 15 days later. The fruits are do not dry well and are best right off the vine, roasted whole or sliced into salads and stir-fries. Harvest continues until hard frost, or into winter in frost-free conditions. Vascular wilts and fungal diseases can be a problem in subpar conditions.
Pinch off early flower buds to encourage stronger branching and roots. Heavily fruiting plants may break apart under the weight if not staked for support. Harvest ripe fruit daily to encourage new blossoms to form.
Hot peppers get their heat from the compound capsaicin – the higher its concentration, the hotter the pepper. Capsaicin concentration is measured and expressed in Scoville units. The Scoville rating of 'Big Chile' is 1000 units, in the "mild" range. For more information about the Scoville Scale see http://www.chilliworld.com/FactFile/Scoville_Scale.asp