Elinitsa Chili (Greece)
These prolific hot peppers are named for the remote Village in Greece that they come from. They are a long-standing heirloom which has been grown in this village for more than 95 years.
The peppers grow on squat extremely productive plants, so they grow very well in fairly small pots and urban spaces. Starting off a yellow color, their fruits ripen to a deep red and they grow vertically up towards the sky, making them easy to pick. They mature before jalapenos, habaneros, and most other hot peppers. Moderately spicy and delicious at any phase of ripening, with an excellent rich flavor that goes much beyond the spice.
In Elinitsa they are often made into hot sauce, pickled to preserve for the winter, or strung and dried. If you like peppers with a moderate kick but delicious flavor then you will quickly fall in love with this variety.
Elinitsa is a small mountainous village in the Peloponnese section of Greece. Residents of this lush area fled during wars with Turkey as well as World War 2. Most resettled in the USA, Australia, or Athens. A small group of families remained in the village during the 1900's and continued to farm terraces and small fields scattered amongst the hills. Wildfires in the 1990s caused another major disturbance to Elinitsa. Villagers worked together to rebuild and preserve a small ancient town center and museum.
Adam, who grew these, has ancestral roots in this village. Only about 15 people remain and 95-year-old Giorgios is one of the last farmers in Elinitsa. Giorgios is the seed keeper who has preserved this variety for his entire adult life and he was kind enough to pass on a few seeds to Adam. Giorgis was thrilled to share these seeds and he hopes their story and cultural diversity is preserved. He uses these peppers in briam (a traditional Greek summer vegetable dish) as well as in soups, stews, and even in grilled meats for the summer festivals.
50% of sales will go to support Together for Better Days - A project providing crucial life-saving assistance to refugees arriving to the Greek Islands.
Days to maturity: 60-85 (depending on what stage you pick them)
Seeds per pack: 25
Germination rate: 98% on 01/27/2023
Planting / harvesting notes
Start seeds indoors 8-10 weeks before the last frost and transplant into garden well after the danger of frost. Keep seedlings moist but do not overwater. Transplants should be initially watered in well, and plants will be most productive with regular irrigation and full sun.
Seed keeping notes
Peppers are generally self-pollinating, though we isolate different varieties of the same species by at least 50 feet, in hopes that flying insects will not cross pollinate them unexpectedly. There are several important species of peppers, so check your scientific names! Pepper seeds are ripe when the fruits have turned their final fiery color - in this case, fully red. Cut the fruit, scrape out seeds, and lay them out to dry on a labeled screen or paper product in a ventilated place away from direct sunlight for a week or two. Drying the peppers before seed extraction can slightly lower your germination rates, but works fine for home seed saving as long as the peppers do not rot.