Chile Pepper Harvest is Gardening Reward

The hard work of sowing and growing is over around here and now it’s time to enjoy the chile pepper harvest.

One of my favorite parts of summer is when it’s almost over. That’s when gardening gets a lot more enjoyable because the hard work is done and the harvest has begun.

These days I’m having fun picking peppers off the plants on the patio.  It’s not the biggest pepper crop I’ve ever grown, but it includes seven different varieties and some are hotter than others.

In the photo from left to right are:

Casa Bella–This plant was a gift from someone who told me it grew small Jalapeno-like peppers that turned yellow. These cute little peppers are some of the hottest peppers I’ve grown–much hotter than Jalapenos. We like our peppers hot, but these are too hot to eat raw. When I add them to recipes, I only use one, remove the seeds and mince it like crazy. Once the peppers turn from yellow to red, they lose a bit of heat. I plan to dry the red peppers and then grind them into powder to sprinkle in soups, chili and other cold-weather fare.

Jalapeno–I grew two varieties of Jalapenos, an early one and a giant one for stuffing. Both are nice-sized peppers with just the right amount of heat for me. I’ve roasted these peppers on the grill, but I also plan on stuffing some of these, pickling some and freezing some to use during the winter.

Sweet Bell Pepper–This ‘Mohawk’ sweet bell pepper came off a small plant. If left on the plant, the peppers turn a lovely golden color, but I’ve used them through the summer and not many made it to that stage.

Lipstick Pepper–I really like growing this multi-use pepper because it wasn’t too hot, it wasn’t too bland, it was just right. It added a nice pepper taste to recipes and salads, including the gazpacho that’s mellowing in the fridge right now.

At the top of the picture is a Holy Mole, a pepper with a name that’s a lot of fun to say. These long peppers are the ones used to make the delicious molé sauce used in Mexican cooking. I’d heard of Holy Mole, an All-America Selections winner, and this was my first year to grow it. If left on the plant, they’ll turn a luscious brown.

I also planted one Paprika pepper plant, but it had a late start and is just now starting to catch up. Once they peppers dry, I’ll use a spice grinder to to turn them into powder. (Here’s my Paprika harvest from last summer.)

Did you grow any peppers this summer? I’d be interested in hearing what varieties grew best in your garden.


 

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