The Complete Chilli Pepper Book by Dave DeWitt and Paul W. Bosland

by Hot Juan on October 22, 2009 · 0 comments

in Book Reviews

The Complete Chilli Pepper Book: A Gardener's Guide to Choosing, Growing, Preserving, and Cooking

The Complete Chilli Pepper Book: A Gardener's Guide to Choosing, Growing, Preserving, and Cooking

This book as been written by two of the great names in the US chilli world Dave DeWitt and Paul W. Bosland.  It provides a complete introduction to the world of chillies, if a little US centric (well that was the target market for this book).

The main chapter headings of the book are as follows:-

About Chiles

This section provides a quick overview of the Botany, History of its domestication and dispersion of the chilli.

Top Hundred (or so) Chile Peppers for the Garden

Here they describe the different species of chillies, covering their identification and common features, before looking at some 100 individual varieties in more detail. This produces a shopping list for the grower with almost too many varieties to tempt the prospective gardener.

Capsicum Cultivation

The cultivation chapter contains a wealth of information on the whole process and some interesting diversions including bonsai chillies, but there are extensive sections on producing healthy seedlings and planting schemes.  Some of the photographs are a little on the industrial scale for the home gardener, but the commercial gardener will find lots to help here.  The section on diseases and pests could cause nightmares.

Processing and Preservation

This chapter is where the cook in me starts to get interested, as it covers some techniques for roasting and peeling pods, freezing and making sauces and pastes to preserve your crop.

Canning chillies is not a process I have tried before. It does not need a tin can but uses glass jars and a pressure cooker. If this sounds a bit OTT there is a number of interesting pickling recipes that I will use over and over again.

In the past I have dried my chillies in a domestic dehydrator, and the basics of Dehydrating and smoking chillies are covered here as well as showing how the professionals do it.

Then we get on to the unusual ideas such as Juicing Chillies or how about Candied Chillies?  The chapter ends with making chilli vinegar, oils and jellies etc

There are lots of ideas here that should keep you busy for the next few years.

Cooking with Chile Peppers

This tends to be the hardest section in a US based book for international markets as the ingredients names and measures are different, and while you may have to make some substitutions for some of the ingredients a quick search of the internet will provide a conversion from cups and ounces.

Just remember cilantro is Coriander, and we have a recipe for Chipotles in Adobe if you need them. Some of the harder to find ingredients can be found online at companies like The Cool Chilli Co, Hot-Headz etc


This is an excellent book that held my attention; it is clearly written with good descriptions of the many processes involved and makes a welcome addition to my chilli reference library.

You can order your own copy from Amazon for £15.75 ( last time i checked) or via your local book shop;   it would make an ideal Christmas present for any chilli-head.

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