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The Complete Chile Pepper Book: A Gardener's Guide to Choosing, Growing, Preserving, and Cooking Hardcover – Sep 16 2009

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The Complete Chile Pepper Book: A Gardener's Guide to Choosing, Growing, Preserving, and Cooking + Hot Sauce!: Techniques for Making Signature Hot Sauces, with 32 Recipes to Get You Started; Includes 60 Recipes for Using Your Hot Sauces + The Hot Sauce Cookbook: Turn Up the Heat with 60+ Pepper Sauce Recipes
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Timber Press (Sept. 16 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0881929204
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881929201
  • Product Dimensions: 21.9 x 2.7 x 21.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #112,555 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"This book will be the standard reference on chile peppers for a long time to come. I give it my three-chile rating, which translates as hot-hot-hot."

"This is the most comprehensive chile pepper book I've seen."

"If one must only have one book on chiles, this should be it."

“A narrow topic, you say? Not with the 100 top varieties covered and 85 convincing reasons for embracing more than just our beloved jalapenos and serranos.”

"This is a nicely done work that will fit well within any culinary or gardening collection and will appeal to both the novice and the expert gardener. Recommended."

About the Author

Dave DeWitt has written or coauthored more than thirty books on peppers and has edited two magazines on the subject. Chair of the board of the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum, Dave is an adjunct associate professor at New Mexico State University. His media company, Sunbelt Shows, Inc., produces the annual National Fiery Foods & Barbecue Show.

Paul W. Bosland leads the chile pepper breeding and genetic research program at NMSU, directs the university’s Chile Pepper Institute, and serves as chairman of the annual New Mexico Chile Conference. He has released more than forty cultivated varieties, including a a habanero chile, ‘NuMex Suave’, which retains the unique habanero flavors without the heat. He also discovered ‘Trinidad Scorpion’, the first chile pepper to exceed 2 million scoville heat units.

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By bachef on July 18 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This beautiful book does not disappoint - it delivers as the title suggests. It is packed with valuable information on choosing and growing peppers. There are not lots of recipes (I wish there were more) but I love the ones I have made including the Ancho Chile Dry Rub, Dry Jerk Seasoning, Chili Powder, Orange Zest Red Chile Butter, etc. There are many more I want to try such as the Oregano-Garlic Green Chile Vinegar, Sichuan Ginger Oil, Piri Piri Oil, Tiger Prawns in Coconut Milk Curry, etc. I love that this book offers some unusual recipes rather than just the usual. One example is Cranberry and Chipotle Tiramisu, Red Chile Pumpkin Chiffon Pie and so on.

There is a very useful section on Diseases and Pests. The Composting chapter is also interesting. Just love the chapter on Drying, Smoking, Powders and Spice Blends in particular. Heck - the entire book is interesting!

The contents are well researched and more complete than anywhere else. It definitely inspires me to research and grow more chiles next year, even in Alberta which doesn't exactly have the longest summers! But I can hardly wait to experiment.

You must get this book if you are obsessed with anything chile related. You will not regret it.
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By milosh on Aug. 13 2011
Format: Hardcover
an amazing book full of beautiful illustrations and packed tighter than a pickle jar, with anything you could possible want to know about chile peppers. Full of very inspiring recipes and preserving methods. I am very glad i bought this book.
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By Rodney M. Plasman on March 31 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you are into growing chiles, this book is great. It covers the various types, how to grow and even some good recipes..
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By Slayden on Jan. 11 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent book, very informative - great gift for chile pepper lovers and growers a like.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 57 reviews
45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
the INcomplete chile pepper book Feb. 4 2010
By robert davis - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
this is a good book for those who are not already familiar with chiles (for which "peppers" is a misnomer), have limited gardening experience and/or reference materials, and who want a few recipes wrapped up into a sort of "one stop shopping" text.

it is also a great book for those who wish primarily to concentrate on chile gardening, and who have exhausted more rudimentary texts.

the book offers a modest history of chiles. the cultivation information is pretty extensive and fascinating, and may prove to enhance my gardening experience this season. the canning and preservation sections are very informative, and if you like a sampling of specialty recipes in something other than a cookbook (which i really do not), there are some good looking ones here.

the section actually cataloging individual varieties of chiles left me flat. here dewitt and bosland have listed the "top hundred (or so) chile peppers for the garden", including a brief description of each. the descriptions are often VERY brief, and uninformative. there is no consistency in what can be expected from them, such as quantified heat levels (expressed in "scoville heat units"), flavor characteristics, sizes, expected yields, and typical days to maturity.

the greatest issue i have with this section of the book is the inclusion of only these varieties, leaving out a number of interesting and flavorful chiles, among them hungarians (indeed the only mention of paprika, was in the similarly incomplete "heat scale for chile varieties and commercial products"), and the "fish pepper" (a chesapeake bay favorite). notably, the "peter pepper" IS included, with two sentences ignoring any horticultural, or culinary qualities, and focusing solely on what some might find an unsavory description of its shape and nomenclature (apparently written to enlighten those who might not infer it).

i accept that buying online leaves one with the responsibility for making semi-informed choices and living with them, and that i could have gone to a brick and mortar bookstore, to peruse the contents of this manual. that said, i would have preferred a more exhaustive encyclopedic reference work dealing with the varieties of chiles, and might gladly have purchased as a separate text, the horticultural and preservation information contained herein (the best part of the book). the recipes could have been included in yet another, more extensive specialty cookbook, at a modest price, which i would not have been inclined to put on my shelf.

on the whole, this book is a well illustrated coffee table entertainment, with a 148 page chile horticulture and preservation narrative grafted into the middle of it, and i probably would not have purchased it as it stands, had i leafed through it.

i guess i mainly take exception to the misleading title, as this is certainly not a "complete" chile pepper book.

do not let me stop you from buying it, though- it may be exactly what you are looking for. the gardening and preservation section alone is probably worth the amazon price.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
A fairly good effort June 2 2010
By mikecz - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Like reviewer Davis, the greatest problems I have with this book are the lack of indications of a range of plant sizes and a range of days-to-harvest for the chiles that they deign to cover. They describe the "top hundred (or so) chile peppers for the garden" in fewer than 50 pages (with quite a few excellent photos, though). The amount and type of information given for each chile variety is too variable. For some, but not all entries, you MIGHT find out how big the plant can get, how big the fruit is, what is the heat level (in Scoville units), is it ever a perennial? Both the authors are professors at New Mexico State University. I would be amazed if they would accept a graduate student's thesis with such a degree of inconsistency.

Because they are at NMSU and author Bosland is the Director of the Chile Pepper Institute, I must give credit for their considerably better than usual descriptions of a good number of the "Numex" chiles. For anyone who doesn't know, these were all originally developed at NMSU, with some going back to the late 1800's! (yeah, they have history!) The "Numex" breeding program continues in several directions today.

The cultivation chapter, the longest in the book, is the best. Based on experiences with commercial growers and home gardeners of variable expertise, the book discusses soil preparation and amendments, seed starting and growing on, water issues, too cold, too hot (? surprising!), too little light or too much (again, a surprise). There are some pages on container growing, and just a few hints about hydroponic, aeroponic, and other soil-less grow systems. There is a very good section on diseases and pests. This chapter also includes short sections on chiles as bonsai (yes!) and breeding and hybridizing chiles.

The chapter on processing and preserving chiles has some good points.

The chapter on cooking with chiles should have been left out to make way for a more encyclopedic listing of more varieties of chiles. Get a book written by Diana Kennedy or Rick Bayless if you want recipes.

I've reviewed this book from a library copy and it should probably be recommended to your library if there are many home gardeners in your area. At Amazon's price, I'll probably get a copy for my own library.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
The "Complete" in the title says it all!! Dec 7 2009
By Constantreader23 - Published on
Format: Hardcover
As an amateur gardener, avid cook and, most importantly, a spicy food aficionado, this book really has it all for me. Reading this late in November made me ready to pull out the seed catalogues and start preparing for spring. The authors provide a wealth of information on the subject of chili peppers. The first portion of the book is devoted to gardening. Without turning into a general gardening book, enough basic information is covered to assist the new gardener. I especially appreciated the in-depth description of pepper varieties, both for spring gardening choices, but also for produce shopping.
In addition to a lot of great gardening information and inspirational photography, it provides botanical information, as well. The graphics and charts really contribute to the very readable quality of this book.
But, my favorite part of the book is the recipe section. A number of easy, unusual recipes are included. The pepper infused vodka is so superior to anything you can buy at the store and was a huge hit at Thanksgiving when I used it to make my marinated cherry tomato appetizer! I brought the Double Trouble chocolate truffles to a party and they were the focus of conversation while they lasted! My family's favorites, so far, are Pasta with Green Chile Pesto and Thai Chile and Artichoke Pasta. But, I have a lot more on my list to try. In addition to recipes, a lot of good information is provided on preservation, including candied peppers, salt substitutes, pickling and canning.
A comprehensive glossary, bibliography and resource list provide even more information.
I appreciate having a book in my collection that covers all aspects of peppers. I know where to turn now for gardening questions, and, of course, really interesting recipes!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The Complete Chili Pepper Book Oct. 14 2012
By Donald L. Gray - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An excellent book detailing the characteristics of home garden grow-able chillies. Nice charts about pepper strength and suggested uses. Also where the chillies grow and how they should be cultivated. I like the recipes and the indication of how hot they are. A good primer for those interested in growing chillies.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Complete Chile Pepper Book review Aug. 22 2011
By dr. gonzo - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Complete...well that's a relative term & I'm not sure if it's possible to have a "complete" book in just one volume, unless it was a massive tome! Nonetheless, this IS a very good book containing much information on the subjects described; even though there are only 5 genera of chiles, there are so many species it's hard to cover them all - but DeWitt & Bosland do a remarkable job covering what they set out to do. It's very informative, helpful & has some tasteful recipes included! I would definitely recommend this highly educational and entertaining book to anyone with a "burning interest" in chiles!