Are you a chili grower? Do you like your peppers hot? If that’s true, then 101 Chilies to Try Before You Die by David Floyd is for you. Floyd is a chili expert (www.chilefoundry.co.uk) who has written about chili peppers and experimented with chilies for the last 20 years. He’s dabbled in selling his own chili products (including chili ice cream) and reports in his introduction to the book that his career took him on many trips to California, “where it was deemed fun to try to kill the Brit with the hottest Thai and Mexican food that they could find.”
101 Chilies from Firefly Books, LTD. is divided into sections ranging from Sweet and Mild to Superhot, from the 0 Scoville Unit Jimmy Nardello to the Carolina Reaper which peeks at 2,000,000 SU. You can read each 1-page description and see a photo on the facing page. The book is comprised almost entirely of these plant profile pages with short descriptions, Scoville unit ratings, and where to find the seeds. It also lists alternate names for each pepper variety, and includes a fair amount of heirloom and open pollinated varieties along with their origin story or historical data.
Floyd gives a brief description of common chili species and shares a short glossary of terms regarding F1, Open Pollinated, and the origins of an amusing term, “Hangjiao.” There is no index in the back, but the book is grouped into heat classifications with an index page at the front of each section. Varieties are not listed in alpha order, so you’ll need to scan for your pepper or just read through quickly. It’s easy to navigate through each section, as those index pages are color coded (indicating the color your face turns as the Scoville units go up) while the rest of the book has a white background. It’s an attractive book and the photos make this mild pepper enthusiast want to venture out more.
My eyes suffered a bit from the 8 point font, but I understand publishing enough to know that you have to fit everything into a set number of pages in order for it to be profitable. 224 page is the magic number. The hardcover book fits into a large pocket so toting it out to the greenhouse is easy.
The final pages of the book list seed and seedling suppliers with their websites and country of origin. Floyd lists suppliers from all over the world, so if you get mail, you can get these seeds. This book is perfect for experienced pepper growers. Newbies will want to research basic chili growing techniques before diving in, as some can be difficult to grow.
Now for the fun part. One lucky Gardenerd will win a copy of 101 Chilies to Try Before You Die. Post your favorite pepper below in the comments section before Wednesday, July 6, 2016 and we’ll choose a winner randomly and announce in our next weekly update on July 7th. Good luck, Gardenerds!
Update – and the winner is: Shannon A.! Thanks to everyone who posted.