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By Jim Duffy
I am writing here about the rare and elusive "Trinidad 7 Pot" or "7 Pod" chile simply because nobody else has! My name is Jim Duffy of Refining Fire Chiles and I am a certified chilehead. I grow chiles both hydroponically and in pots, and I strive to grow the rarest and the hottest. My passion for chiles helps me to support underprivileged youth in eastern San Diego County. Last year I bought seeds from all over the world. The 7 Pot was one species I was after. I was rewarded this year with all these new chiles. Now I grow these rare varieties for seed stock for sale, as well as fresh chiles. My goal is to make these rare chile varieties available to my fellow chileheads here in the United States as seeds, plants and fresh chiles. Believe me, you don’t want to stay up as many nights as I did, on the web and making expensive overseas phone calls.
The Trinidad 7 Pot hails from the Chaguanas region of the Island of Trinidad, which is just Northeast of Venezuela. Now this is what I have read, but it's not the entire story. My friend Krishna Toolsie is a university professor who was raised in Trinidad. He tells me he was raised eating hot peppers, but the two superhot varieties—Trinidad 7 Pot and Trinidad Scorpion—are rarely found in the local markets. Krishna says you will find Congo Red and Yellow habanero, Scotch Bonnet and Congo Black (chocolate habanero). Other Trinidad favorites are the small Bird and long Trinidad Bird peppers. Krishna’s mom would use all these peppers in her cooking. The Congos were used in sauces and stews. The hot Bird peppers she would make into a paste with garlic, ginger and other spices and spread into the body cavity of a fish. She would then grill or fry the fish slowly and the chiles and spices would permeate the fish from the inside out to make a delicious meal.
Now that Krishna had me hungry I asked him about the 7 Pot and Scorpion. He told me that these are not farmed on a large scale in Trinidad, but that many people in the rural interior grow them in their yards and small farms. He remembers his mother putting too many of them into a curry, and then nobody could eat it! I guess that’s why they call it the 7 Pot because, one pepper is rumored to be able to add heat to 7 pots of stew.
Additional research led me to call the agricultural ministry of Trinidad, also know as CARDI (Caribbean Agricultural Research & Development Institute). I spoke with a man named Herman there in January of 2009. I was inquiring about Trinidad 7 Pot and Scorpion seeds. He called me crazy. He said almost nobody eats them. He said they are grown for military-grade mace and marine paint. Marine paint? “Yes, it keeps the barnacles from growing on the boats,” he said.
Now I've learned that chiles are great for eating, have health benefits, are warfare weapons and they protect boats! If that’s the case, maybe chiles will get me another wife someday. After all, anything seems possible with chiles! So I told Herman that we chileheads were using Naga Morich and Bhut Jolokia in food applications, so why not Scorpion and 7 Pot? At that point, Herman's national pride kicked in. "The Trinidad chiles," he said, "are the original superhots. Years ago people took them to India and now they claim they have the hottest chiles. We have the hottest chiles!" I guess I hit a nerve.
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