They like a warm climate and high humidity, so are ideally grown in a greenhouse or on a sheltered, sunny patio in containers. Yellow, black, white, red and purple-fruited cultivars are available but for the kitchen stick to F1 hybrid black-fruited types.
Sow seed indoors at temperatures of 21-30C and prick out into pots when the seedlings are 5cm tall. Once at the fourleaf stage, they can be put in their final position. Outdoors, cover with cloches or fleece. In June, remove the main tip/ growing point when 30cm high. Feed with a high potash fertiliser once the third fruit has set (first fruit outside).
Ensure indoor plants do not dry out. Mist foliage with tepid water to discourage red spider mite.
When five or six fruits have set, remove other flowers. Cut fruit from August onwards when they're about 15cm long and the skin is still shiny.