Friday, November 15, 2013

Hot Peppers

This summer I planted some chili piquin peppers. My brother had sent some peppers from his plant at Christmas. I saved the seeds just so I could grow some of my own. The picture above is just before they started to flower.

I watched them grow all summer. 

And waited (impatiently) for them to ripen. Finally they started turning red and I was so excited when I picked the first two. 
These are extremely large for chili piquins. For some reason, I had one plant that produced 2"-3" peppers. All the rest produced the normal 1/2"-3/4" size.

Now that cold weather has arrived in the Tennessee Valley, I have harvested all the peppers from the smaller plants and brought the large plant inside. Here are a few strung up to dry.

Below is from the last harvest, but I picked them as they ripened throughout the fall, so I got a lot more of them than this. Let me tell you, these little suckers are HOT! Natural napalm. Doesn't take much to add plenty of flavor and heat to any dish. 

Today I put them up--pickling some, drying some, and freezing some. To freeze them, I put them in my food processor and chopped them. Then I spread the mixer thinly between two sheets of wax paper. This way, I can break off little pieces for cooking. I collected a few more seeds for next year. I also made some a bowl of "relish" with them. Added onions and garlic. It's kinda like pico de gallo without the tomato. 

I should have plenty of spicy peppers to season dishes all winter. It's a little painful typing this post, though. Next year I must be sure to invest in some rubber gloves. My fingertips are still burning from the capsaicin. And I may need to remember to get some of those little covers for your mouth and nose, too. When you put these things in the food processor, the air even seems to have capsaicin in it.  

Used some already today. As soon as I finished the peppers, the hubby and I cut up some fresh veggies to bake for lunch. I put about a tablespoon of the relish, some butter, and some salt and pepper in the pan with the veggies.

These were delicious. Spicy enough to clear your sinuses, too. 

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