Friday, July 31, 2009
Pep Pep Pep Peppers!
We love them... in all shapes, sizes, and colors. There's even a pepper poster hanging in my rec room of hot peppers. There are other Chileheads around the world too -- some make a living out of it like those at Darn Hot Peppers. Peppers are like tomatoes and there are hundreds of varieties to grow. Of course the most beautiful is the Caribbean red -- not really edible (it's hotter than a habanero - 445,000 on the Scoville scale of hotness - a habanero is about 225,000. Compare both to a jalapeno at 5,000!), but oh-so-gorgeous red. One year I grew habaneros. I had 3 plants. Yes, you hot pepper eaters are going ARGH - what did you do with all those habaneros? You can usually only eat one or two a season -- the heat goes a very, very long way. I drug a grocery bag of habaneros to work for a computer intern who said he loves them. He, and a couple of his friends, make hot sauce. And of course college kids being college kids, one of them drank the whole bottle of hot sauce and ended up in the ER. I felt awful! But it certainly wasn't my fault. So there's been no habaneros since then. Instead, we grow mostly bell peppers the past few years and I always grow cayenne to dry and Rick likes a jalapeno every now and then. the cayennes are super easy to grow, dry easily just by pulling the plant and hanging upside down somewhere. Pull the dried peppers off the plant sometime in November, and start grinding. Hubby helps me grind and we have beautiful, hot peppers for on just about everything. Rick's favorite is to put it on pierogies. Not only does it taste good, it's looks pretty against the light-colored dough. I have a new pepper growing this year that has heat in between a yellow banana pepper and a jalapeno. I cut this one up and put in it a salad and it was just right -- hot, but not too hot to eat. But I can't find the variety name anywhere! Its making me crazy. According to my pepper poster, it's a Chawa. It's a little bigger than a cayenne, almost as big as a chile pepper. And yellowish. Yummy. The bell peppers get frozen, and of course we dry the cayennes. This year I may try pressure canning some of the jalapenos and the Chawas. I'm fairly certain they are the choice produce for my canning class on Aug 22. So be sure to grow bunches of peppers next year - you don't know what you're missing!