Yellow rocoto chilli

Capsicum pubescens, piment rocoto, Rocoto, manzano, chili úll geal

There’s no doubting the botanical name, but after that things become a little debatable… Some sources hold that manazano and rocoto chillies are the same, whereas others state that they are different varieties of the same species. Are manzanos the squatter ones and rocotos the longer ones? Either way, the ones I’m growing are yellow. One thing that is definite: although they grow on a large shrub, they aren’t “chile de árbol”.

What makes these different to other chillies I’ve grown are that 1. they’re perennial, 2. they grow on a large shrub 3. the type of heat and 4. their preference for the cooler weather.

Hmm… two shapes on this one… (unripe fruits)

I bought a plant a few years ago, and it never came to much, even when I put it in the shade house. It grw tall, but not bushy, and produced a solitary, small fruit. Persistence has paid off, as well as planting them (I grew another from a cutting) down the side of the house which is shadier.

Trying a green one – the first that came to any size – there was no spice to be had. Ni nada. Then, a few weeks later, they started turning yellow. It was as though I could feel the heat enveloping my fingers when I cut into one. Tasting it produced a look of, “Ayayay! These ones are HOT, mamacita!” apparently. I think that would sum up the feeling of total mouth burn.

About 20% of the total expected harvest. Small, but it’ll last.

Yes, a different type of heat that doesn’t just affect the part of the tongue that comes into contact with the fruit, but the whole mouth cavity. One alone in a feijoada was enough to provide spiciness without feeling you were eating a mutant vindaloo. And no five-minute tears, either. Yep, I like my spice, but not chilihead contest levels.

The seeds are very dark and the walls of the fruit are quite thick; I read that they are difficult to dry. These will be sliced and de-seeded, then frozen for later use.

re the spelling… I’ve left chilihead with one ‘l not because it’s Christmas, but I believe the expression came from that side of the Atlantic. Also, the Irish name is my invention. As always, I’m open (gratefully) to correction.


Pearl and rose fibre

fibres de perle et de rose, Perlen- u. Rosenfaser, fibras de perla y rosa, snáithíní péarla is rós

It was rose fibre that initiated this blog, or rather the lack of information about it on the internet. Wondering why nobody had written anything led me quickly to the conclusion that someone has to be first, of course. That was a few years ago and there is now more information on this and other regenerated fibres (cellulose-based) to be found. While the pearl fibre is described by most sources as “pearl-infused cellulose fibre”, there doesn’t however appear to be any clear description of the rose, i.e. are the fibres chewed up, spat out and spun bamboo-style, or is the process more along the lines of “infused”?

So why has it taken me so long to write anything myself? I mislaid the 100g of rose fibre that was part of a birthday present and didn’t want to buy any more in the meantime. I since have both bought more and found the original – more to play with!

Pearl (top) and rose; laceweight, 2-ply

The rose fibre is very silky and slippery and spins into a a soft yarn with plenty of shimmer and drape. The second lot of fibre produced a yarn that was also a little golden in colour a bit like tussah compared to mulberry. The first is a lot whiter. It was bought from one of my favourite shops, but at a time when they seemed to have changed ownership; I wasn’t happy with several parts of the order, but as none of it was fondled/spun for some time, it was too late to return. I just hope that the original is indeed rose. Fun to spin with, anyway, and the feel is the same. And the shop? The current owners are fantastic and provide top customer service, ’nuff said.

The pearl fibre has a more cotton-like feel and appearance. It affords slightly more grip, so would be easier for a beginner. The yarn is soft, but not as sleek, and doesn’t reflect the light as much. Still worth having/using? Certainly! Both yarns were spun on a 15g Turkish spindle and plied on a larger one.

As with other regenerated fibres, I reckon both would blend well with natural fibres on a pair of carders. Depending on where they’re purchased, they can cost significantly less than silk, with the rose especially offering a similar effect and feel. My intended use? Watch this space (but don’t hold your breath)…