It would seem that September is prime pepper season here at HA. So many of them are ripening about now, and it has kept me busy with harvesting and processing. Many of them get photographed too, which is partly for my own benefit so I can reference them later on, but then I also like to share them with you all.
I planted three cayenne pepper plants this year. One is called Joe’s Long Cayenne, and those peppers certainly live up to their name, getting around 8″ long. Another is Cayenne Long Red Slim, and it is a productive cayenne, though it is nowhere near as long as Joe’s. The third cayenne is Cayennetta, and I have it growing in a container. In the below photo, from left to right we have Joe’s Long, Long Slim and Cayennetta.
I’ve been growing Cayennetta for several years now. It does great in a container, and I can usually count on more than a hundred peppers each year. I haven’t really counted them, but they are truly prolific. The peppers themselves are a tad milder than most cayenne peppers, but still plenty hot. I dehydrated those in the below photo.
Another pepper that is called a cayenne type in the catalogs is Maule’s Red Hot. This was a free seed packet given to me this year along with my Seed Savers Exchange order. This pepper was introduced in 1912 by the William Maule Seed Company, and is supposed to be a good pepper for those with short growing seasons. I have to say it was quick to fruit here, and the red hot peppers have a nice crunchy flesh that is thicker than the usual cayenne type, and also not quite as hot. This one is a keeper, and I will probably save seeds from some of the later peppers. Right now I have another use for the ones in the photo below.
I started a batch of fermented hot sauce with the Maule’s Red Hot, trying a little different trick that comes from The Hot Sauce Cookbook by Robb Walsh. He cuts the peppers in half lengthwise, puts them in a stainless steel bowl, then crushes them with a potato masher until they are bruised but still in large pieces. Then you mix with salt, and crush some more. You leave the peppers sit out overnight until liquid forms in the bottom of the bowl, then it’s on to a glass jar for fermenting. After fermenting, you can easily scrape the seeds away from the flesh. With this recipe, you wind up with a fermented pepper mash that can then be used for several hot sauces, or used to make a fermented chili garlic sauce. I’m not sure what my end product will be like just yet, but I will let you know how it turns out.
I’m growing two NuMex chili peppers this year, Anaheim and Biggie Chili. In the below photo, that’s Anaheim in the top row and Biggie Chili in the bottom row. I plan on drying the ripe ones for chile powder, and roasting the green ones. I’ll be back later this week and show how I go about roasting them. These plants are really loaded this year. There’s almost six pounds of them here in this batch, and there are plenty more peppers coming on the three plants.
Another pepper worth noting is the one I am calling Sweet Happy Yummy. This is a ‘rogue’ pepper that first appeared in 2011. It has medium thick sweet orange flesh, and gets to be about 1.5″ wide by 6″ long. I am still trying to stabilize this new strain, and I was pleased to find that one of the plants I set out this year made peppers that were true to type. I’ll save seed from this one, which should be the F5 generation. I am told it can take eight generations or more to stabilize a strain of pepper, so I have a ways to go yet!
In non-pepper news, the tomato seeds that were fermenting last week have now been rinsed, strained, and are drying on a paper coffee filter. The paper helps wick away the moisture, and they are easy to scrape off the filter when they are dry.
Parsley is growing lush right about now, thanks to ample rains we have had throughout August and early September. I decided I needed to use some of it, and tabbouleh came to mind.
I sometimes use bulgur or quinoa for tabbouleh, but this time I made it with freekeh. We bought a bag of this ancient grain on a recent pilgrimage to Costco (we don’t have a local one). If you don’t know, and I didn’t until fairly recently, freekeh is made from wheat that is picked before it is fully ripened, then dried, roasted and cracked into smaller pieces. It can be used like regular cracked wheat, and has a nice flavor that is hard for me to describe. I used the rice cooker to cook it before making the tabbouleh. I had to buy a cucumber since ours are not producing at the moment but I used our own tomatoes, garlic, parsley and a bit of mint.
As it turns out, I wasn’t the only one enjoying the parsley. I found a swallowtail caterpillar munching away on one leaf. It actually hatched a few feet away in the carrot bed, but I had moved it to the parsley a few days earlier. I planted some parsley over in the Wild Garden just for the swallowtails, but of course the female swallowtail laid her eggs on the carrot tops instead! This one seemed to be ok with the parsley substitution though.
I used some of our recent zucchini harvests and homemade marinara sauce to make a batch of Three Cheese Zucchini Stuffed Lasagna Rolls. This recipe from Skinnytaste was relatively easy to put together, and tasted delicious. I froze the leftovers, which will make for an easy future meal. I am thinking the filling would also work well for shells or manicotti. I can’t remember the last time I made lasagna, or ate it for that matter, and this lightened up recipe was a real treat. The photo below makes it look like there’s more cheese involved than there really is, and most of the sauce is hidden in the bottom of the baking dish.
Our blueberry season is over for the year, but I used some of our frozen ones to make a batch of Blueberry Syrup with Honey. Rachel at Grow a Good Life shared the recipe last week, and I have to say it is quite yummy. I would also like to try it with blackberries or maybe cherries in the future. It was my wife’s turn to cook starting yesterday, and she made a batch of Whole Wheat Sourdough Pancakes for lunch. The blueberry syrup made a great topping!
In the bread department, I baked a batch of Moomie’s Famous Burger Buns last week. This continues to be my go-to recipe for buns, and like pita bread we almost always have some of these buns in the freezer.
That’s a look at what’s going on here at HA. To see what other gardeners are celebrating, harvesting, and cooking up, visit Daphne’s Dandelions where Daphne hosts Harvest Mondays every week.