Saving Manzana chilli seed

Chillies and capsicums (‘peppers’ in the USA) belong to the Solanaceae family, along with tomatoes, eggplants and potatoes.

While the most common types of chillies belong to the Capsicum frutescens genera, ‘Manzana’ chillies (Capsicum pubescens) are an altogether different beast, having purple (not white) flowers and black (not cream) wrinkled seeds. Manzana chilli leaves are covered with a light fuzz, as its Latin name indicates (Reference: Seed Savers Handbook).

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Of all the chillies one can grow on the Adelaide Plains – and I’ve grown over a dozen different varieties – Manzana chillies have become my favourite. As a perennial, one bush is all one generally needs if you’re an Aussie, and this one bush will provide chillies pretty much all year round, especially in spring when other annual chillies are still just seedlings. Manzana chillies are hot but not deadly (3 out of 5), and the bushes survive the heat and poor watering with ease. This single bush (below) has been under-watered to the point of neglect, but keeps on hanging in there year after year. It needs staking and regular pruning to keep it looking respectable.

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Saving chilli seed is a dangerous business best carried out in a ventilated fire-proof bunker in full protective clothing, face mask and breathing apparatus! Don’t touch your face and eyes while saving chilli seed, as the burning sensation that follows is right up there with the pain more often associated with knee capping and having your finger-nails pulled out with pliers. Wear rubber gloves, at least. I should.

To save the seed, chop up the chillies and place them with water in a blender, where they are minced up at the slowest speed, allowing the seed to settle to the bottom (with a bit of help). Sieve the debris if necessary, then pour the seeds out onto an absorbent paper towel and let dry in the shade before storing.

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5 comments:

Gaston said...

Hello Andrew!! I'm from south america currently living in adelaide. I've grown up eating this chilli, in my country the name is "Locoto", I really would like some info about where to buy plants of this species or how to germinate the seeds. I managed to get some seeds but I just can make them grow..

maybe you can post a comment here so we can get in touch.

Thank you very much

Gaston

Andrew said...

Hi Gaston
Leave me an email address here, and I'll get in touch that way. I have Manzana chilli seed, and would be happy to propogate some for you.
Cheers for now
Andrew

Anonymous said...

Hello Andrew,

So sorry I took so long to see your answer! I was out of town and very busy...
my email is gaston.antezana@gmail.com

Thank you so much for answerig, I'm looking forward to your e-mail.

G

Anonymous said...

Hello Andrew.

My name is Scott and my partner and I are trying to grow chillies on our balcony in pots. We both love hot, spicy food. Do you know where we can find chillies that we can grow and store seeds for future seasons. We are looking for a wide range in variety, colour, heat and flavour. This is our hobby (growing chilli on our balcony) which started in South Korea. My email is sbeckingsale@yahoo.com.au

Anonymous said...

Hi Andrew,

Great job! I tried to grow this plant in a pot twice before.The first time I left it on the sun in summer and was badly burnt, the second time I killed it with a home made remedy to kill white fly.
Do you grow them in pots in the begining? What type of pesticide you use? Any advice You can give on the type of soil?
I can swap some advice for a couple of good recipied to make with this chillie :) if you are interested.
Thank you for posting this useful information and the photos as well.

Kind regards

Dora

doragonzalez@live.co.uk

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