Picking a Peck of Peppers

I love it when the peppers arrive at Farmer’s Market. I used to be quite undisciplined and get home with a wild salsa-making assortment, plus some to hang on a string to dry in the kitchen.

But my family is less enamored of peppers and does not agree that heat in a pepper is a good thing. So I have been developing discipline and trying to focus trips to the pepper stand on specific goals.

First of course is peach salsa. A good Walla Walla sweet onion and a collection of the sweet and mild peppers. I bring up the heat in just my serving with Tabasco which ensures the widest audience of eaters.

Fire roasted peppers ready for cleaning, dicing and drying for pepper flakes

Then I learned to use the medium peppers, diced and dried, to make flakes to shake on pizza. Turns out, when you have a shaker of peppers on the dining room table there are lots more uses than pizza. I make a year’s supply of flakes (about a cup dried). I clean and dice the peppers then toss them into the food dryer. This year I got the peppers fire roasted at market first. I understand you don’t need to dice, just slice open and clean out but the drying takes longer – then you run the peppers in the food processor to flake.

Last year I tried making paprika. They sell the paprika pepper in a couple of heats, I go mild. I dice and dry like the pepper flakes above then toss into the blender until powdery. The bits come out in a range of sizes, I just pretend that I run a fancy restaurant and this is a feature.

This year I experimented with pepperochinos. I like them when I find them in salad bars. Krista was making refrigerator Dilly beans, and I guessed that the same technique would work. Cut peppers into bite-sizes and put in a canning jar with one cup white vinegar, one cup water, 1 tsp salt and 3 minced cloves of garlic and a tsp of last years pepper flakes. After a week this is pretty good, and not being heated by canning, the peppers are more crisp than commercial.


One Response to “Picking a Peck of Peppers”

  1. Reflection on a Real Hero’s Questions « One small step for man Says:

    […] Back in the 90’s I discovered that my wife and I owned a lot equal in size to the world’s per capita allotment of arable land. That fact made me think that my lot should be able to raise all my food (at least on average) and I had a responsibility to make my share of land productive. That has been an elusive goal. We now have a large garden, I’m good at growing garlic and potatoes, and learning about tomatoes, grapes, cherries. Because our lot is hilly I planted apple and plum orchards (the peach didn’t work, the pears are fickle). But it turns out that managing the harvest and getting it stored for winter, is even harder than getting it grown. I’m still experimenting with how to organize and prioritize my life to preserve the harvest. […]

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