Chilli, while not being everybody’s favourite food item is certainly popular all around the world. We’ve discussed preserving and processing chillies before but we’ve never looked at the varieties of chilli that are available to grow. There are many and I mean many varieties of chilli. The list runs at least into the hundreds of varieties. What we want to look at are the most popular chilli varieties in the world and domestically. So let’s get into it.

Bird’s eye

I’m not sure if the bird’s eye chilli is so popular in Zimbabwe because it grows easily here or it’s because people just love it that much. The bird’s eye chilli has wide appeal both in Zimbabwe and internationally. It is extremely versatile as it is sold fresh, dried, powdered and processed into sauces. It has very good yields in Zimbabwe while not being extremely demanding in terms of inputs. The only downside of growing bird’s eye chillies may be that they are widely available.

Florina

The Florina pepper, originating from Greece is a favourite of European cuisine in general and Mediterranean cuisine in particular. Florina’s take a very long time to mature with harvests taking between 18 and 20 weeks. These popular peppers will do better for an export-oriented set up though you will likely find some demand for them locally.

Ghost pepper

The Ghost pepper is very popular internationally. Particularly found in Indian cuisine as well as Latin American cuisine this pepper grows very well in Zimbabwe. It’s a very hot pepper so it may not enjoy wide popularity with everyone but there is a demand for these peppers. Used fresh or in cooking, sometimes even in sauces, you will find many uses for these peppers.

Chipotle

Chipotle peppers are not known to most of the world enjoying most of their popularity in Latin America. That said the chipotle pepper is a unique pepper that can be grown in the Zimbabwean climate. You will most likely find these best for export markets. The most popular use of these peppers is after they are treated and smoked or dried. That said this is a very popular pepper and worth looking into growing.

Jalapeno

Another favourite of Latin American cuisine the Jalapeno has international appeal. This pepper goes into sandwiches, salads, cooked and baked dishes. There is demand for them both as fresh or preserved peppers, usually through pickling. Jalapenos are very similar to Chipotle peppers. They are particularly thick peppers that do not go overboard when it comes to how hot they are. These grow very well in our climate and growers can expect great yields.

Cayenne pepper

The cayenne pepper is truly international. Found in cuisine all over the world it has an appeal all over. Though they only take around 3 months to mature that is considered long in the world of chillies. If you choose to grow Cayenne you will have a choice of both domestic and international markets. Cayenne peppers are enjoyed fresh, dried, powdered, in sauces and salads.

Serrano

The Serrano is a popular pepper variety. Serrano is expected to mature in around 70 days, fairly long in the world of peppers and chillies. Serrano is not a particularly hot pepper and that works in its favour. They are thick and fleshy peppers with multiple varieties within the Serrano family. Useful in sauces, cooking and even used fresh you will find healthy demand for Serrano peppers.

Scotch Bonnet

The Scotch Bonnet is a small hot pepper that is popularised in Jamaican and Caribbean cooking. The Scotch Bonnet also grows very well in Zimbabwe without much effort. They take around 120 days to mature which as you have gathered by now is longer than many others on the list. Scotch bonnet is a very hot pepper and a favourite among chilli enthusiasts. You would expect to have both local and international demand for this pepper.

The world of chillies is a fascinating one and there’s no reason to let this list be all that guides you. These are the most popular peppers you can grow in Zimbabwe.