1) General Information:
- Location on property: Hawaiian bird pepper is currently not on the property! We will plant it again!
- Scientific Name: Capsicum annuum longum
- Region of Origin: likely originated in South or Central America.
- Type: Edible
- General History: If you like peppers that pack plenty of heat, then consider growing Hawaiian chili peppers. These pepper plants produce 1 to 2 inch long green fruit that ripens to bright red and have a flavor similar to a Tabasco pepper. The very pungent “Hawaiian chili peppers” in general have yellow fruit that turn red when ripe, and remain productive for extended periods of time. The bird peppers have become naturalized in many islands of the Pacific region and in Asia.
2) Plant Uses:
- As Food: Chili peppers are consumed fresh or in a variety of processed products in
many cuisines worldwide. They add flavor or pungency to dishes when used as condiments or spices. Use in processed products has increased dramatically in recent years. In the U.S., salsa sales now surpass ketchup sales, reflecting on the popularity of Mexican dishes. Bird peppers (such as the popular “Hawaiian” chili pepper in Hawai‘i) can be pickled when green or ripe and the ripe fruit is used in hot sauces or ground and used as a seasoning. “Chili pepper water,” which is consumed as a condiment in rice, eggs, fried foods, and cocktails, is among the most popular uses for bird peppers in Hawai‘i. Bird peppers may also be combined with other milder but flavorful chili pepper varieties to create a more nuanced flavor profile in dishes.
- Possible ways of processing chili peppers include dehydration via ovens or solar drying, the preparation of smoked chilies (such as the popular chipotles or smoked Jalapeño peppers from Mexico) or by pickling, roasting, and in salsa. The Serrano-type peppers are popular for salsa.
- With some of the small hot chili types, the green fruit is used for pickling, while the ripened red fruit is dried for use as seasoning and often used in soup, stew, sausage, as well as in a host of Asian and Pacific dishes. When used as seasoning, peppers are usually dried and ground when used as seasoning. To improve the flavor of some seasonings it is possible to combine the flavor of a hot or pungent chili pepper variety with a milder but more flavorful variety.
- As Medicine or Other Uses: Chili peppers are a rich source of vitamins C and A. Nutritional descriptors for chili peppers used by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration include fat-free, saturated fat-free, very low sodium, cholesterol-free, and low in calories (Bosland and Votava 2000). Peppers also contain vitamin E, capsanthin, zeaxanthin, and carotenoids. With regard to its use as a medicinal, capsaicin, the compound responsible for the pungency in peppers, is used to relieve pain from arthritis and migraines and for cough or stuffy nose relief. It has also been shown to have anti-clotting properties.
3) Growing Instructions
- General: Peppers are warm-season crops with a long-growing season. They are most sensitive to climatic conditions during blossom development and fruiting. Temperatures above 32°C may lead to flower abortion. For optimal production, peppers require between 2–5 cm of rainfall or irrigation per week, depending on the soil type and the stage of growth. In general, peppers require more water after fruiting than before fruiting.
- Prepare the area where your Hawaiian chili peppers will be planted. The site needs to receive at least six hours of daily sun. In the spring, after the soil has warmed, loosen the soil with the cultivator or hoe. Work in compost as you till the soil to improve fertility. For gardeners with clay soil, work in sand to improve drainage. Peppers prefer a soil pH of 7.0. If you have acidic soil, raise the pH with lime. Gardeners with alkaline soil can lower the pH by working in ground bark.
- Harden off your seedlings by keeping them outdoors when nighttime temperature are 60 degrees or higher. Start by keeping them outside two hours a day. After three days, increase the time to four hours. Keep doubling the time they are outside every three days. When the seedlings are outside for a full 24 hours, you can plant them outside.
- Dig a hole in your prepared bed with the trowel or garden shovel. The hole should be an inch deeper and 1 1/2 times wider than the pot your pepper seedling is in. If you’re planting more than one Hawaiian chili pepper, space holes 12 to 18 inches apart. Loosen the seedling from its pot and place in the hole. Backfill the hole with soil, keeping the plant as straight as possible.
- Water your Hawaiian chili pepper well. Keep the soil moist but not wet for the first two weeks, when the pepper establishes itself. Water the plant with an inch of water every week, includes rainwater. Increase watering to 1 1/2 inches during hot, dry spells.
- Fertilize your Hawaiian chili pepper with a low-nitrogen fertilizer within the first month after transplanting. Feed it when flowers appear and again every two weeks when setting fruit. Stop feeding when the plant stops blooming.
- Difficulties with this plant: Protect your pepper plant during hot weather. Although they like warm weather, temperatures above 95 degrees can cause your pepper to stop blooming and even drop fruit. To keep the plant as cool as possible, protect it with screening such as a bamboo screen to block out the majority of the sun. Important arthropod pests of chili peppers include cut-worms, aphids, whiteflies, flower thrips, mites, and the pepper weevil. Root-knot nematodes found in the soil around the root zone are also significant pests. Important diseases of chili peppers include bacterial wilt, bacterial spot, powdery mildew, damping-off, and other root-rots caused by Phytophthora or Pythium. Several virus diseases are also a threat to pepper plants. In general, chili peppers are hardier than the sweet or bell peppers, but they share many of the same pests.
History of this Plant at Hedonisia:
Currently not on the property.
Hawaiian Chili Pepper Water
- 4 -8 small dried hot red chili peppers
- 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
- 2 quarter-sized slices fresh ginger, bruised
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and cut into thin strips (or you can leave it whole)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups hot water (not boiling)
Directions: First, combine the ingredients in a clean and sterilized pint (500 mL) bottle or jar. Pour in about 2 cups of hot water and let the mixture steep at room temperature overnight. Then, refrigerate in the morning.