Pepper blogging

September 27, 2004

I have not been keeping up with the garden blogging. After a while it got to be yet another case of "yep, the garden grows."

But now that it is fall and we are starting to put things to bed, I thought I would revisit some of the garden sucesses and failures.

The biggest failure was the tomatoes. The plants did OK, not great but OK, but we got very little of their produce. Instead we fed tomatoes to the squirrels and chipmunks. The tomatoes that we did get we had to pick while still pale orange as we raced against the rodents. As a result we got perhaps a dozen good Legend tomatoes all season long. Legends are perfectly good modern hybrid tomatoes, just like the very good tomatoes we can buy at the local farmers' market every Saturday. The Red Alerts were a nice little cherry tomato. They were indeed fairly prolific and we got a good number of them past the squirrels. The toddler loves these - quarter the tomato, hand it to him, and cover your ears at the happy cries of "MATO" "MATO!" before he pops them into his mouth. Much as we like feeding these to the boy, next year our tomatoes will come from someone else's garden.

The peppers did OK. We did not get enough peppers from the Thai Dragons. We have about 150 dragons drying, another score or so dried and jarred up, and we have eaten a couple of score of hot peppers. From eight plants, each delivering 30 to 75 peppers, we should have at least twice that many. I think that the late start has hurt their growing season. We will continue to get Thai Dragons until first frost, and they are pretty good, but we did not get enough to hang Thai Dragons on everyone's Christmas tree as we had hoped. We will grow these again, probably getting our seeds from a different source. I will also save a couple of dozen seeds from this year's crop and see if they cross-pollinated with the other peppers.

The Hero Peppers did quite well, and are not going to be repeated. The problem is in the nature of the beast. It is a moderately long, skinny pepper, with a thick skin and thin flesh. While we can eat the skin, they are better roasted and peeled. But, by the time you roast and peel and seed them, you don't get much pepper for your work. Yesterday J roasted about 20 of them on the grill. I peeled and seeded. At the end, we had about half a cup of pepper to go into the freezer. Not acceptable. These will be replaced with New Mexico chiles next year.

The Jalapenos did well. They were planted in and among the herbs and have grown quickly and provided a good amount of fruit. Oddly, these peppers have very mild flesh when raw, very hot flesh when roasted. Yesterday J smoked a dozen jalapenos while playing with the grill. We ate some with the burgers, and they had a nice bite to them. When I peeled and seeded the rest, well, I almost went for the gas mask. Chipotles - smoked Jalapenos - are much hotter than roasted Hero peppers even though the raw peppers are rated at a 3/10 for jalapenos and a 5/10 for Hero. (I don't have the exact Scoville units for either handy.) We will grow Jalapenos again.

The best part about growing hot peppers is that they are highly rodent resistant. We found a couple of hot peppers lying on the drive next to the plants, in just the right spot for a squirrel to have grabbed on and then dropped it. We think that each individual squirrel or chipmunk tried hot peppers once, and only once, before giving them up as a BAD idea.

Luckily we like hot peppers, and they are easy to grow, so we seem to have the best of both worlds.

Posted by Red Ted at September 27, 2004 08:44 AM | TrackBack

Aha - I was thinking about you and your peppers just the other day. B and I bought some dried chipotles at Whole Foods. We decided to try them in that eggplant recipe I sent you the other day. The recipe said "2-3 peppers, optional." I decided we should go for two, reasoning that we didn't know what they were going to do. B thinks we should've used 3. I agree. We'll do that next time (along with an extra tbs. of soy sauce). There will be a next time; the recipe was great.

Posted by: KJ at September 27, 2004 06:48 PM

Glad you liked it - that one is a big favorite with us as well.

When I say hot peppers I normally mean dried Thai Dragons. Dried chipotles would add a very different taste, probably a very good taste. I will have to try some of our frozen chipotle in this next time.

KJ - email me a mailing address and I will send you an envelope of dried thai dragon peppers.

Posted by: Ted K at September 27, 2004 09:01 PM

Thank you for the thai dragon offer. Address sent!

I am a big fan of the Chipotle. Anything that says "Chipotle" on it, I'll probably like whatever that is. So that is why, when we were in the dried pepper aisle at Whole Foods, we chose that one. I am uneducated about peppers, but knew I liked that one. So - bam. Chipotle it was.

In any case, when your peppers arrive, I will make the Eggplant & Mushroom Penne once more. :)

Posted by: KJ at September 28, 2004 01:57 AM
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