Alternative Uses For Chillies

New To Growing Chillies?

If you’re new to growing these multi-talented crops, then a great place to start would be our Chilli Growing Guides.

Chillies Are One Of Our Favourite Things To Grow!

Chillies are a multi-talented crop that do much more than turn up the heat of a dish. You can use them as medicine and even make your own natural pesticide. Here’s our favourite interesting ways to use your bumper chilli harvests.....

Natural Pesticide

Chillies can be used as a natural pesticide to repel pests such as aphids and other soft bodied insects from feasting on your produce.

Step 1
Chop up about 8-10 chillies and include the seeds. Before you start stick on some gloves and avoid rubbing your eyes!

Step 2
Pour 1 litre of boiled water into a jug or jar, and add the chopped chillies along with 1 tbs of soap flakes.

Step 3
Mix thoroughly then cover and leave to stand for 24 hours.

Step 4
Strain the mixture and transfer into a sterilised spray bottle. We recommend labelling it so you know what it is!


Top Tip
Birds can’t taste the heat from chillies. Add hot sauce to bird seeds to keep cheeky squirrels out.

This pesticide is safe to be used on all plants, including fruit trees, vegetable plants and herbs. The soap flakes help it stick to your plants, so be sure to thoroughly rinse your fruit and veg before eating.

Medicinal Uses

About 12% of chilli is made up of capsaicin (the compound makes chillies hot). It’s also where most of their medicinal properties come from. Capsaicin is an amazing compound that can be found in many pain relief medications.


In Victorian England, chillies’ warming properties were utilised for treating arthritis, chills, rheumatism, sprains and depression. Chilli is good for the kidneys, spleen, pancreas, lungs and heart. It can also help defuse the pain from arthritis and diabetes, and when inhaled it can even provide pain relief from headaches.

Luckily gobbling up chillies also has lots of health benefits (no need to start experimenting with homemade chilli medication!) Munching on chillies can boost blood circulation, as the body naturally reacts to their heat as pain, and sends new blood to these areas. Chillies can also lower the risk of the body developing blood clots by stimulating the body’s blood-clot-dissolving system.

Did You Know?
Capsaicin triggers the release of endorphins, which are the body’s feel-good hormones.

If that wasn’t enough, our fiery friends can also encourage heart activity without increasing blood pressure. In fact, chillies actually help to lower blood pressure - They help dilate arterial walls and cut through mucus in the veins. You can even rely on chillies to speed up metabolism, which is great if you’re trying to lose weight.

Hot Sauce

We Recommend
Take a look at this Hot Sauce Recipe Book, packed full with 60 recipes for you to try your hand at.

Chilli hot sauce can spice up some chicken wings, give your morning eggs a kick, or even create a Mexican hot chocolate (that’s a new one!)

Here’s a quick and easy hot sauce recipe for you to have fun with.

Step 1
Simmer about 4 ounces of #fff chillies in boiling water for 20 minutes. Then drain and add to a food processor.

Step 2
Process for about 2 minutes until the chillies have turned to a paste and the seeds have broken up.

Step 3
Next transfer the chilli paste to a blender along with 1 + 1/2 cups of distilled vinegar, 2 tsp of salt and 1 tbsp of brown sugar. Use a high-speed blending mode for 5 minutes, until the peppers and their seeds have been finely ground up.

Step 4
Strain the sauce, removing any seeds and bits of skin. Make sure to draw out all of the liquid by pressing on the paste. Finally pour the sauce into bottles for storage.



Pickled chillies are great as an antipasti alongside olives and nuts, and they also make great platters and starter dishes. Pickling is quick and easy so you can always have a jar in the fridge ready to enjoy. Why not try this simple recipe to fill a sterilised storage jar or two?

Step 1
Use a sharp knife to cut the stalk off the end of your chillies and carefully slit each chilli from the stalk to the tip. Use the handle of a spoon to scrape out any seeds, depending on how hot you like them.

Step 2
Place the chillies in a shallow dish as one layer with a couple of bay leaves. Pour boiling water over them and leave to stand for 5 mins. Drain well.


Step 3
Add 6 black and 6 pink peppercorns, along with 1 tbsp of coriander seeds and 1 tbsp of salt to a sterilised jar. Next add in your chillies and bay leaves.

Step 4
Heat 4 tbsp of caster sugar and 600ml of white wine vinegar or rice vinegar over a low heat until the sugar dissolves. Wait for the mixture to get hot, but not boiling, and add into the jars. Leave to cool and put the lids on.

Store for 2 weeks before using and they should keep for up to 4 months.


Drying Chillies


Air Drying
Air drying is an ancient effective method of preserving crops, which intensifies flavours and enables you to use your home grown and foraged produce all year round. String them together on some strong thread with a few inches between each chilli. Hang them in direct sunlight.

Oven Drying
If you don’t find yourself in a climate hot enough for air drying chillies, you can use an oven instead. Wash your chillies to remove any dirt and cut them in half, by length to expose their innards. Place your chillies on a baking sheet and bake at about 100-130°C. It can take several hours for chillies to dry so be sure to turn them every few minutes. Keep in the oven until the moisture has been baked out of them.

Freezing Chillies
For whole chillies, simply pop them in a polythene bag or plastic container and place in the freezer. Easy! You can also prepare your chillies before freezing. Cut them lengthways and remove the stalks, seeds and membranes. They can be left as halves, or chopped and sliced instead. Place the chilli pieces on a baking tray and open-freeze in the freezer until they are firm. Freezing them this way means they will not stick together. Next pack them into a polythene bag or plastic container.

Need further help?

Our Gardening Angels are here to help you grow strong, healthy plants with bumper harvests. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with any questions on 0845 602 3774 or drop us an email at We’re always here to help!

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