Growing chile peppers started out as (and still is) a hobby of mine. Back in 2015 I grew my first habanero plant and made hot sauce out of it. I got a great kick out of eating the fruits and sharing them with daring friends/family. Every year since then I've expanded my arsenal of seeds and collected all kinds of different varieties from all over for tasting and growing. I started this small business in 2017 with the hope to share that love and interest in peppers with the community.
My name is Frankie Caruana, and I grow peppers here in Sparkill, NY.
We grow all kinds of pepper plants here every year, ranging from poblanos and jalapeños up to the super-hot ghost peppers and carolina reapers. Every year the grow list changes, so stay tuned each April/May to see what plants we have. Plants are for sale in the Spring, peppers are sold when in season (late Summer-Fall), and seeds are available year-round.
You can email me at the company email, firstname.lastname@example.org, to chat directly with me about the business. Is something wrong with your plant and you want my advice? How hot should you expect a certain pepper to be? What should you do with your peppers now that you have them? How can you calm down the burn? These are all great questions and I'm happy to hear from you. I enjoy talking about this just as much as I enjoy learning new things from those who also love the hobby.
Things you can do with your peppers
I get asked this question all the time. "What are you going to do with them all?" The truth is you can do tons of things with them, more than you can do with tomatoes, corn... any other fruits or vegetable basically.
Peppers can obviously be turned into salsas, pico de gallo, and used in stir frys, as we all know, but they have other uses too. Peppers can be dehydrated in a food dehydrator or on a chile ristra (google for really pretty pictures), and rehydrated later for use in a sauce. The dehydrated chiles can also be ground or processed into flakes and spice rubs as well as pastes. You can ferment them in a brine to add complexity to your sauces/salsas (Tabasco is a fermented sauce), you can pickle them, and you can of course make your own special hot sauces out of them. There are endless possibilities!
How to calm the burn
Never eat a pepper on an empty stomach - you will probably get cramps. Capsaicin cramps ("cap cramps") are caused by capsaicin diffusing through your stomach lining into the muscle surrounding your stomach, causing painful contractions. The best thing you can do before eating a hot pepper is eat something with dairy or some fat in it. I usually eat a banana with peanut butter spread on it or a PB&J sandwich. Having this before a pepper will protect your stomach much better than if you have nothing. I've heard that some people even have special smoothie recipes they drink before eating any super-hot peppers, but that's not necessary. Something fatty, like peanut butter, will go a long way.
To put out the burn, something dairy like milk will help, as well as yogurt, cheese or some ice cream (even better because it's cold). Don't chug too much milk as it can make you nauseous. Some burns take a long time to go away. Another good tip is to drink some water with lime juice squeezed in as the acid in that will stop the chemical reaction on your tongue and temporarily calm down the burn.
Capsaicin (the chemical that makes peppers spicy) is not water-soluble, so drinking just water will not get rid of the burn; in fact, it may make you feel worse temporarily. If you absolutely must have water, trying mixing in lime juice for the reasons stated above. The most important thing is to try to enjoy the experience and relax - when you bite into anything hot, it's going to take you on a ride. If you stick it out, you may experience a "chile high," the rush of endorphins your brain releases to help cope with the pain from the burning. It's not uncommon to feel tingling, light-headed, energetic and overall good after eating a pepper. In fact, this is why many people purposely eat the ultra hot peppers - they are chasing the dragon.
My favorite pepper: the Firecracker
My all time favorite pepper is the Firecracker (pictured left). This pepper is delicious raw on sandwiches and pizza, even better when dehydrated into flakes and mixed with salt, and also delicious when chopped and submerged in oil. Use these peppers on your omelettes, sandwiches, pizzas, etc. or make a tasty sauce with them. They pack a nice punch at about 30,000-50,000 Scoville and have a great flavor. The plant itself is very beautiful and produces tons of peppers; I have an estimated 200-300 on just one of my plants. I got seeds for this pepper on a whim when I saw it on Pepper Joe's website for seeds, but he has since taken it down. I'm not sure why it's gone. It is an incredible pepper, and is loved by everyone who I convince to try it. I am not able to find anything online about the firecracker except some stories linking it to the pequin pepper (a wild pepper that grows on its own in Texas and Mexico), and the flavor and heat are definitely similar. Since it has been discontinued, I will continue growing this pepper for many years, as I feel that no one really knows much about this pepper, and it should be shared with as many people a possible. If you would like seeds you can order them from the seed shop!
Information on Capsaicin
Capsaicin is the active chemical in chile peppers, and is the reason you perceive a burning sensation when your skin or mouth comes into contact with it. While it may feel like it's causing harm to your body, capsaicin will not do any real or permanent damage to you unless you have a severe allergy to it (which I have never heard of or seen). Capsaicin does not cause actual burns. It is a chemical that conveniently fits into the nerve receptor (called "TRPV-1") that tells your brain something is hot - it is tricking your brain into thinking there's a burn when there isn't really one. Your body's response to these nerve signals can vary, but people typically start with a runny nose and tears in their eyes, flushed face and/or sweating, and if you eat something very spicy, you can feel your heart rate increase from the adrenaline, and you may also experience a "chile high." A chile high is your body's natural response to the pain associated with the burn the pepper is giving you. You may feel a tingling sensation in your body as your brain sends endorphins to relieve the heat, and some degree of dizziness/euphoria after pushing your limits with heat. This will wear off in about 20 minutes.
Enjoy, and never eat an entire pepper raw unless you know how hot it is beforehand. Always start with small slices first! Don't learn the hard way!