I helped out at my daughter’s cub group last week. It all sounded easy enough, supervising a table of cubs making model aeroplanes. Until, that is, they dropped the bombshell that the cubs would be cutting bits of balsa wood with a scalpel. Yes, a scalpel.
And although I felt like I’d aged several years by the end of the evening (not helped by the fact that I was supervising a table of raucous boys with no regard for personal safety), everyone managed to make it to the end injury-free.
Before that evening, I’d been hesitating about whether to mention the fact that we’ve been stringing chilli peppers at home, ready for drying. Hesitating because stringing hot chillies with a sharp needle doesn’t sound the most child-friendly project. But after spending an evening playing with sharp knives, it seems positively tame in comparison. So here goes…
We harvested most of our chilli peppers a week or so ago and my daughters have been busy stringing them ready for drying and, eventually, making our own chilli powder.
We’ve grown a few different chillies this year and our biggest harvest by a long way was ‘Demon Red’. We had six plants, all well-behaved and compact, and although the individual chillies are fairly small, the yields per plant are high. It’s a hot little chilli, as the name suggests, so stringing them together for drying is definitely a job for older children (I can report that 9 and 12 year olds coped with it well).
A couple of tips to ensure your chillies don’t slip off the thread:
And obviously, don’t forget to wash your hands as soon as you’ve finished handling the chillies