Well, I guess I shouldn’t complain, I’ve harvested tons of tomatoes, a plethora of peas and countless carrots, but my pepper production was particularly poor in 2011.
I don’t really need a lot of peppers because I’m pretty much the only one in the family who eats them, and I only grow hot peppers, because that’s what I like. And when you’re the only person enjoying spicy foods you have to figure out how to add the heat separately rather than incorporating it into dishes.
I like to pickle hot peppers and put them in my sandwiches. Jalapeno and Hungarian Hot Wax peppers are my favourite hot peppers to pickle. Sadly I’ve only managed to produce three measly jars of hot pepper pickles from the plants in my greenhouse this year. I need to visit the farmers’ market soon and buy some peppers to pickle (maybe a peck?) or I’ll run out before Christmas.
The rest of my hot peppers I dried in my dehydrater, ground finely in my blender, and sprinkled on any food that I consider in need of a kick. I really like the fruity hot flavour of ‘Super Chili’, and this year I’ve grown ‘Boldog Hungarian Paprika’ and ‘Portugal Hot’ peppers for drying and grinding.
Boldog is described as an aromatic, sweetly spicy paprika with just a touch of heat. I’m going to agree with most of that description, except for the heat – I can’t detect any – but maybe that’s just my jaded taste buds.
Portugal is slightly hotter, but still not what I would call hot. And I’m not one of those masochistic habanero-gobbling heat freaks. It’s got about the right level of capsaicin for my husband though, he’s been using it on his eggs (which we are eating more of, now that the hens are laying well).
Last week I harvested what is probably the last of the peppers for this year, and lacking enough to make pickles I decided to dehydrate all of them. My plan was to grind up each variety separately but when I realized I didn’t have that many spice bottles or want a bunch of ziplock bags sliding around the spice drawer I ground the jalapeno, Hungarian Hot Wax, Super Chili and Portugal peppers together and I have an interesting hot pepper blend. I haven’t put it on any food yet but on the tip of my finger it tasted interestingly complex and fairly hot. Who knows, it might be my new favourite spice!
Next year I’ll have to grow a few more hot pepper plants, and hopefully the season will be a little warmer and production won’t be so poor. I think I’ll drop ‘Portugal Hot’ (because it’s not) and maybe grow some ‘Thai Dragon’ – I’ve grown that before and know it’s good and hot. Does anyone have recommendations for a flavourful hot pepper that I should try?