Captured Moments – Garden harvest – Peppers

I had a bumper crop of hot peppers this year.  I planted several sweet pepper varieties including green, brown and yellow bell peppers and Cubanelles.  The Cubanelles did very well and produced all summer.  The bell pepper not so much.

This photo is from the end of the season.  The dragon cayenne is prolific.  The small orange pepper in the bottom left are the habanero pepper.  

Here is one of the Cubanelle plants early in the season.

The Cubanelles are great for making stuffed peppers.  Large, although thin walled, they have a mild flavor.  This is a chorizo stuffed pepper recipe I got from Chili Pepper Madness website.  They were so tasty.  The Cubanelles change color as they ripen, here I used them at the yellow stage.  They also turn a gorgeous red color.

I only planted one jalapeño plant, one habanero plant, one Tabasco pepper plant, and one chili pequin.  It was more than enough.

I made pepper sauce with some of the peppers and froze some of the sweet peppers.  I also decided to dry some peppers.  This has turned out to be the easiest preservation method so far.

I use a dehydrator that was given to me about 25 years ago.  It is American Harvest Snack Master Pro Dehydrator by Nesco.  They do not make the exact model I have anymore.  Mine works just fine and I have extra trays for it too.

I split some of the peppers – the jalapeños and habaneros, and left the others whole.

It took about twelve hours to dry the peppers.

I then stored them in glass canning jars.

Dried Dragon cayenne peppers

Ground, dried cayenne peppers.

Dried Tabasco peppers

 

Dried red jalapeños

Dried habanero peppers.

Dried Chili Pequin peppers

I also dried some herbs.  They dry at a lower temperature and took longer.  The oregano dried nicely, the basil did not.  I ended up freezing the rest of my basil in olive oil or making it  into pesto, which I also froze (minus the cheese).

Dried oregano

I am sure there are many variables that determine the success and length of time when drying vegetables and herbs.  It was fun and I am looking forward to discovering uses for all of this dried pepper. 🙂

Dragon Thursday – Homemade pepper sauce

The garden this year has been amazing.  I have had a great time finding ways to use everything.  Since I I love all things dragon, when I saw a pepper named Dragon Cayenne, I had to buy it.  The plant is a heavy producer and the peppers are lovely.

I decided I would attempt making a Tabasco style sauce using the dragon cayenne and a few of the jalapeños from the garden.

I looked at several recipes online and decided to use this one from Rants From My Crazy Kitchen

It calls for 1/4 pound of cayenne peppers, then jalapeños and hot cherry peppers (which I do not have) so I improvised.  I ended up using a little over 1/2 pound of cayenne and jalapeño peppers.  I then doubled the rest of the ingredients in the recipe and followed it as written.

Dragon Cayenne

I began by washing and removing the stems from my peppers.  I then added them to a medium size sauce pan with lid.  I used about a  1/2 pound+ dragon cayenne and jalapeño peppers, six large cloves peeled garlic – chopped, 2 teaspoons salt, four cups white vinegar.  Bring to a boil, then lower heat,  cover and simmer for 20 minutes.  

It was suggested that this be done outside.  The vapors can be very strong and irritating to the eyes and nose.  I did not cook this batch outside, but I did use exhaust fans.  I have cooked peppers before and had the fumes be extremely overwhelming.  You may also want to wear gloves when handling the hot peppers.

After boiling, I  carefully poured the hot mixture into a blender and pureed.

Then I poured it into a food mill which I had placed over the sauce pan that I had used to cook the mixture in.

I strained out the seeds and other solids and returned the pan of liquid to the stove. 

 I brought the liquid back to a boil.  Once it began to boil, I turned the fire off and set aside to cool.  

I had saved some bottles with shaker tops for making hot sauces and vinegars.  Use whatever method you prefer to clean and sterilize your jars.  I used a funnel to add the cooled sauce to my bottles.  Here is the finished product.  The recipe states it should last six months in the refrigerator.  (Keep refrigerated)

Thanks again to Bernadette at Rants From My Crazy Kitchen for posting this recipe.  I didn’t follow it exactly but it was a great place to start. 🙂