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Are Chillies in Season in December?
Chillies are in season year-round, but we should expect a reduced supply during the winter months. Summer is the peak season for chillies in Australia.
When is Chilli Season?
Chilli season in Australia peaks between January and March. Thanks to favourable conditions in the north of our country, fresh chillies are available year-round, but supply is reduced outside of the typical chilli harvest season in summer.
Based on its harvest time chilli is a summer vegetable, although it is technically classified as a fruit due to being the product of a blooming flower. The optimal chilli planting season is after the last frost, and for maximum yield a chilli growing season in Australia should last five warm months.
If left in a suitable environment chilli plants are actually perennials, but most growers in Australia plant chilli as an annual crop.
Red Chilli Season
The most common varieties of red chillies are in season during summer. Red chillies are left on the plant longer to fully ripen and develop stronger colour and spice. Due to the later harvest, they have a slightly longer growing season than green chilli.
Green Chilli Season
Green chillies are in season during the warmer months, from late spring to early autumn. Most varieties of green chillies are simply plucked from a red chilli plant before they are ripe, so the peak season for green chilli is before red chilli season. Given most green chillies are from the same plant they come from the same growing areas and conditions as red chillies.
Habanero chillies are in season from late spring to early autumn. This is similar to most other chilli varieties, but habaneros are usually harvested slightly later to develop more of their bright orange colour and spice. Habanero chillies are famous for their higher heat levels and the longer a chilli is left to grow for, the more spice it can develop.
Jalapenos are in season from late spring to early autumn. They are usually grown and harvested around the same time as standard red and green chillies, though they require enough time on the plant to develop the higher heat levels and unique flavour. Most jalapeno chillies are green which means they are harvested slightly before they are fully ripe.
Where do Chillies Come From in Australia?
The best chilli growing areas are tropical and subtropical regions. The plant is native to South America so thrives in warm and humid climates. Chillies require plenty of sunlight and a frost-free environment, while excessive rainfall can affect their growth.
93% of Australian chillies are produced in Queensland and Western Australia. The northern parts of these states offer the most favourable conditions for chilli growers in Australia. In a typical year up to 30% to 40% of fresh chillies may be imported, mainly from our neighbours in New Zealand.