- Is the Worlds Largest Chilli grown on Dartmoor???
The Megalapeno is the brainchild of Phil and Kay Palmer from Dartmoor Chilli Farm which is situated on the edge of the Dartmoor National Park in Devon.
Kay with a Megalapeno chilli
It measures a whopping 83cm in length by 15cm wide.
Dartmoor Chilli Farm near Ashburton
A report from geologist Ria Follop from the British Geological Survey has indicated the natural background radiation from the granite tors of the region has contributed to creating these amazing specimens.
Haytor Rocks are just 5 minutes up the road from the Dartmoor Chilli Farm
The formation of the Dartmoor tors started about 250 million years ago as the granite forming Dartmoor cooled and solidified from molten rock at a temperature of around 1000 degrees centigrade. The minerals which make up granite crystallised and formed the hard rock.
Slow cooling of the granite maintained the temperature within, producing large crystals. Then a layer cooled forming a capping which trapped molten magma with volatile gases and hydrothermal liquids beneath. Gases escaped through joints and fissures to the surface, rotting the granite in areas, weakening the granite as it altered minerals to secondary forms.
Feldspar minerals comprising some 30-40% of the granite formed the white clay, kaolin, which millions of years later has lead to ideal soil conditions for growing specialist crops within the region.
With the chemical nutrients in the soil and natural fertilisers and a nettle feed made on site, the pods produced have a shiny texture rather like a tomato.
Dartmoor therefore seems to have the perfect soil for growing large chillies. As to the flavour of these huge pods, they taste good. They have the flavour of a regular Jalapeno with the bonus of being 500 times larger in volume!
"Cut in half, fill with feta cheese, chopped onions and tomatoes and then fry in rapeseed oil is my suggestion", said Phil Palmer. "The only problem is finding a pan big enough!" he added.
The pods, which are awaiting official ratification by the Guiness book of records dwarf other large varieties such as the Numex Big Jim, Anaheim and even the new Chinese Space chillies.
The plants are similar to regular Jalapenos. However they grow to over 8ft high in ideal conditions. Each plant produces around 20-30 pods over the growing season.
One pod is enough to cover the tops of 500 regular pizzas!
Kay Palmer said "We have been working on developing a new variety for several years. You need to isolate the strain and it takes many seasons to get a stable seed base. Keeping this hush-hush has been difficult!"
More information on Dartmoor Chilli Farm can be found on their website at www.dartmoorchillifarm.com
See the Megalapeno at the chilli farms open days here :