Pepper Game

As a young kid growing up, the game of ‘pepper’ was something that involved a baseball, and a bat. Those games are far behind me now, and these days a ‘pepper game’ involves the peppers from the garden. And right about now, they are starting to ripen, which means I need to get it in gear and do something with them.

Jimmy Nardello peppers (click on any image to enlarge)

Flavorburst peppers

I have about 35 pepper plants growing outside in the ground, and another 8 or 10 in containers. And yes, that is a lot of peppers! I am guessing about 2/3 of those are sweet peppers, and the rest are hot. Most of the bell peppers are not ripe yet, with a few exceptions. Flavorburst and Orange Blaze have already given us a few ripe fruits. Some of the non-bell sweet peppers are giving us LOTS of ripe ones though, most notably Jimmy Nardello. The Sweet Happy Yummys are ripening as well, though not always turning out as expected. My lone plant in the ground is making sweet red ripe peppers, not the usual orange. Fortunately I have 2 more of this variety in containers in the greenhouse, and they are orange and sweet like they are supposed to be.

Red Happy Yummy peppers

Over on the hot pepper side, the first to ripen this year was a Hot Happy Yummy I had growing in a container in the greenhouse. After that the Cayennetta plant began ripening. As cayenne peppers go, these are on the mild side, though they still have heat. After that the serranos and jalapenos began turning red. From left to right in the below photo, we have Thai Bird, cayenne, serrano, Pimiento de Padron, Shishito, Golden Greek, Hot Happy Yummy, and Biggie Chili. Most of the ripe Shishito peppers are not all that hot, so I guess they really belong in a roundup of sweet peppers. The others have varying levels of heat. Biggie Chili is a hybrid Anaheim type that has become my favorite pepper of that type. And the Pimiento de Padron, Golden Greek pepperoncini, and Shishito peppers are usually used at the green stage, though there’s nothing wrong with the ripe ones.

assortment of hot peppers

The littlest pepper of the bunch is also one of the hottest, which is generally the case with hot peppers. It’s a Thai ‘bird’ pepper, which is a name given to several different varieties of small Thai peppers. I got the seed from the instructor at a cooking class, Aumpai Holt. Aumpia was born in Thailand, and she works and teaches cooking classes at Kitchen Affairs. My wife and I took her Thai Green Curry cooking class last year, and she was giving away seeds of her favorite Thai basil and peppers, which she saves every year. I got some of her pepper seed and I’m growing a lone plant in a container which is going to give me scads of hot little peppers!

closeup of tiny Thai Bird pepper

So what are we doing with all these various peppers? We’ve been eating the sweet peppers, using them in frittatas, on pizza, and grilled for a side dish. I plan on drying some of them later, when more are ripe. I have other plans for the hot peppers though, including making some hot sauces with them. I’ve already made one hot sauce, and I’ll be back later this week with the recipe. And I have more sauces in the works, if the pepper plants cooperate. I will also dry some of the hot peppers later on, and grill some of Anaheim types for the freezer. That’s the reason I grow so many, because we have so many uses for them.

hot peppers for sauce

Peppers aren’t the only game in town though. The okra plants have remained unfazed by our yo-yo weather, and keep putting on pods as the plants get taller and taller. We’ve been eating some, and freezing some for use this winter.

okra hanging out with Orange Blaze pepper

The eggplants seem to have slowed down for a bit, but we still have all we want to eat at present. The tomatoes are definitely taking a break, as we feel the effects of the blazing heat wave we had in July. The blooms from that time period got fried by the hot temperatures, but green tomatoes are now setting on and it won’t be long before ripe ones are back on the menu. The smaller tomatoes are still bearing, since they don’t seem to be as susceptible to heat damage. The summer squash is all gone now, and that area has been replanted with some late bush beans and some turnips.

assortment of eggplants

That’s a look at what we’re harvesting here as the month of August slowly slips away. To see what other gardeners from all over the world are harvesting, visit Daphne’s Dandelions, host of Harvest Mondays. And Happy Growing to all of you!

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24 Responses to Pepper Game

  1. Daphne says:

    Lovely peppers. I really miss their color at this time of the year.

  2. Patsy says:

    What beautiful peppers! It seems to be a good year for them. I wish mine would get red, but we usually don’t have enough time for them to turn red. So far have had just one red one. The eggplants and okra look very nice too!

  3. Jenny says:

    Very lovely peppers and eggplants. Next year I’ll have to plant alot more sweet pepper as 8 plants were just not enough.

  4. Wonderful variety, and am looking forward to reading your hot sauce recipe!

  5. kitsapFG says:

    Gorgeous peppers. They (and tomatoes) are hard to grow in my region because it just is too cool too long through the summer and they struggle to mature under those conditions. I manage to grow some but they come on late in the gardening year and only because I use the passive solar of the greenhouse to keep them happier. It looks like your Happy Yummy peppers have done another cross with the red variation. Is the flavor similar or did that change too?

    • Dave says:

      The jury is still out on the flavor. I’m grilling the two in the photo tonight for dinner (after I scoop out some seeds). I’ll know shortly!

  6. maryhysong says:

    Great looking chilies! I just have a few and some sweet Burans but there are a couple of volunteer bells in different places that are setting peppers and doing well.

  7. Barbie says:

    Love the picture of all the pepper line up in a row. Even with plant markers, I’d never be able to keep them all straight. LOL.

  8. candice says:

    I love that you are growing multiple variations of everything. I do that with tomatoes, but it seems to me, that I end up with only one or two varieties of everything else….i need more space. I have made some pickled hot peppers this year as i am addicted to pickled jalapenos….im not sure what type of pepper they are, they look like a slightly slender smallish jalapeno but they have the skin color of a banana pepper. Lucky for me they have been prolific for up here in the nw.

  9. Rick says:

    Wow, that’s a lot of peppers 35 plants!! We only have 12 and they are producing like crazy. They did take the week off this week but the next round of fruit are about picking size today so we should have another big week on the pepper front.

    Your’s look great, you grow a lot bigger variety of peppers. We usually stick to just a couple, maybe I need to expand my horizons a bit next year!!

  10. zentMRS says:

    Your peppers are fantastic! I love peppers too – we eat them all the time in all kinds of ways. Yesterday I even made jalapeno peanut brittle (yum!)

    • Dave says:

      Jalapeno peanut brittle? That sounds yummy! I love hot and sweet together. I had some chipotle chocolate a while back that was great.

  11. Norma Chang says:

    I so admire people who are organized and am amazed at how you are able to keep track of all the variety of peppers, garlics and all the other things you grow.

  12. nartaya says:

    Absolutely beautiful. I love how many varieties you have. Any chance you will be saving seed from the Thai bird peppers?

    • Dave says:

      I won’t be saving seeds from them this year. The container was close to other containers with both sweet and hot peppers growing, and I saw bees working the blossoms and going from plant to plant. I have enough seed for next year, and I plan on growing it in isolation then.

  13. Shawn Ann says:

    Look at all those beautiful peppers. Definitely a lot of pepper plants! Hopefully my kiddos don’t get sick of peppers, but we only have about 14.

  14. Mike R says:

    Great selection of peppers. I wonder if the developers of new varieties ever test a new cultivar around different types of peppers to see the effect of cross-pollination. Do you separate the hot from the sweet peppers? I’m going to make a test batch of salsa with a canning recipe to see how it tastes. Now that I know that lemon or lime juice is more acidic than vinegar and can substitute for it I’ll try that in the salsa. Then if I get enough tomatoes and peppers – a big if this year – I’ll try canning some.

  15. I can’t believe we didn’t grow many hot peppers this year, these all look sooo good! I grew Bulgarian Carrot peppers last year, which produced a lot of very hot peppers early in the season. We do have an absurdly large assortment of sweet peppers though this year, and a wide variety of eggplant too. Clearly though, we need a bigger kitchen garden, because there are so many I would love to have planted, but didn’t have space for this year. Oh well, next year!

  16. Jody says:

    Great pictures Dave. I’m very jealous for your camera, not to mention your peppers. Yum! I wonder what you’ll do with the okra.

  17. “That’s the littlest pepper I have ever seen!” said my 5 year old about your Thai pepper. I bet that one IS really hot. Thai peppers tend to be.

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