Nathalie on French Chilies

Where the seeds came from
This type of chili is from the southwest of France. It’s grown in a town called Espelette. My sister game me some chilies and I decided to grow them here. That was three years ago.

How to grow
Around April I would normally put the seeds in moist cotton wool to make them germinate. When they reach between 2-5 centimetres, with small leaves, transfer them to compost. They start germinating pretty quickly, within a couple of weeks you will start seeing the shoot coming out of the seed. When the plant is strong enough and has built a root system, then you can transfer them into compost. They don’t need manure in the early stages because it might burn them. Transfer the plant when it’s about 10 cm and it’s got enough leaves, into bigger pots, and then add manure. Just water. Either from the top, or just leave some water in a little reserve at the bottom. You can start seeing fruit end of July, but they’re still green. The fruit will probably turn red end of August or September. They are ready as soon as they’re red.

Nathalie on French Chilies

A chilli requires heat and sun. In the southwest of France they are perfectly happy outdoors. Here it’s safer to grow them indoors. They don’t require a lot of maintenance or attention. They are pretty easy to grow.

I dry them for cooking. The taste is sweet, not too spicy. I use them to replace pepper, just to give that extra kick. It could be in a curry or any fried dish.

How to save seed
Once they’re dried, I will cut them open and remove the seeds. Put them in a little jar and store them in the cupboard.