Hot Stuff

After having a relatively mild summer so far by our standards, the heat has finally arrived. Last week saw our highest temperatures of the year, with the thermometer hitting 97°F one day. It hasn’t been much cooler at night either, with the low barely getting below 80°F one night. Despite the fact that most humans and animals don’t really appreciate the hot weather, the garden is doing all right. In fact, the peppers are loving the heat, and many are finally ripening now. Early Sunday morning we had a thunderstorm that dropped 1.5 inches of rain, so that should help perk the garden up a bit as well.


Joe’s Long Cayenne

For me, having ripe hot peppers means it is time to make some more hot sauce. I had so much fun with this last year that I planted a few extra hot peppers this year. Ok, I planted a LOT more hot peppers, not just a few. One newcomer I tried this year is an heirloom called Joe’s Long Cayenne. They aren’t kidding when they call it long! Some of mine are approaching 8 inches long, which makes them twice as long as most cayenne types. The plant is loaded with them too. The one in the above photo is the first one on the plant to ripen.

Purple Cayenne

Purple Cayenne

Totally Tomatoes must have read my mind about growing more hot peppers, because they threw in a free packet of Purple Cayenne with my order this year. I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one, but it looks like a keeper, at least as long as the seeds are free! The plant is highly ornamental, with upright peppers starting out green, then turning to purple, before finally maturing to a bright red color. Maybe I’ll grow it in a container next year.

Cayenne LongThin

Cayenne LongThin

I grew Cayennetta again this year in a container, and an o/p cayenne called Long Thin Cayenne. The Long Thin looks small next to Joe’s Long, but it is a more normal sized cayenne. It is safe to say that I will have plenty of cayenne peppers this year for hot sauce and for drying.

Serrano Del Sol pepper

Serrano Del Sol pepper

I’ve already had ripe serranos for a few weeks. I’ve been growing Serrano Del Sol for several years now, and it’s a great performer for me. I only grow one serrano plant, because the peppers are plenty hot for my tastes and one plant usually produces more than enough. If I could grow one half a plant it would probably be enough! The plant is loaded this year as usual. I’m growing several Chinense peppers (Aji Dulce #1, Aji Dulce #2 and Trinidad Perfume) and one Bacchatum (Aji Angelo) this year, but they are not ripe yet. I will talk about them later on when I have had a chance to taste them. Those plants are all looking good though and loaded with blooms and young peppers. I’m thinking they will make some flavorful hot sauce.

hot peppers for fermented hot sauce

hot peppers for fermented hot sauce

Some of the cayenne peppers, a few serranos and one ripe jalapeno went into a batch of Basic Fermented Hot Sauce I started last week. I had enough chopped peppers to fill a pint jar. You can see the Joe’s Long Cayenne on top of the pile in the above photo – it was too big for the small colander! Last year I only let the mash ferment for a week, but this time I plan on letting it go for a full month. I’ll be making more hot sauce as the peppers ripen. I already made a batch of No Rooster Chili Garlic Sauce, and I have been thoroughly enjoying it. My favorite thing to do with it lately is to put it on a baked potato, instead of butter. I had it that way for lunch yesterday.

hot peppers fermenting in jar

hot peppers fermenting in jar

One sweet pepper that is loving the heat is Jimmy Nardello. I can always count on this one to produce lots of sweet red peppers for me. We been enjoying them on pizzas and salads. They are really tasty when grilled.

Jimmy Nardello peppers on the grill

Jimmy Nardello peppers on the grill

Not loving the heat though are the honeybees. When the weather gets hot, they start hanging out on the outside of the hive. This is called ‘bearding’, because it looks like the bees have formed a beard on the front and side of the hive. The bees do this not only to stay cooler themselves, but also to regulate the temperature inside the hive. Just as a lot of people in one room can warm it up, all those bees inside the hive tend to make it warmer too. I have seen some of them flying around in loops near the hive, almost as if they are out for a spin to get some air.


bees ‘bearding’ on hive

You can keep up with other gardener’s adventures by visiting Daphne’s Dandelions, where Daphne hosts the Harvest Monday series. I’ll be back soon with more happenings from HA!

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14 Responses to Hot Stuff

  1. Daphne says:

    Beautiful cayennes. I used to make hot sauce (though the vinegar kind no the fermented kind) when I could eat them. Oh it was so good. I really miss hot peppers.

  2. Liz says:

    That first pic of Joes Long Cayenne may have solved the mystery of what variety one of my chillies is. How wide are they? I have a chilli that is similar in length to yours and the leaves look the same – i’m wondering if it is the same variety. Mine are relatively mild in heat. Yours? Mine is also really quite cold tolerant – it has overwintered really well and is showing signs of putting on new growth already.

    • Dave says:

      My Joe’s Long is about 20cm long and 15mm wide. The bite I just had was quite hot, and let me say that coffee does NOT help put the fire out! As cayennes go, it might be milder than most, especially when ripe. Yours may well be a close relative, if not Joe’s itself.

  3. Dave's SFG says:

    Almost makes me want to make some hot sauce, but we don’t use much. Still have my original bottle of Tabasco which only gets used to make the occasional Bloody Mary. I’m growing Jimmy Nardello first time this year and it is a great pepper. Will be planting more next year for sure.

    • Dave says:

      It’s good to hear that Jimmy Nardello is growing well for you too. I’ve got two plants this year, and perhaps I need to grow three next year!

  4. Shawn Ann says:

    Great peppers! Great that you are fermenting some of them! I have been trying to do more fermented foods. Something else for me to try sometime! And maybe those purple cayenne peppers!

  5. Will - Eight Gate Farm - NH says:

    Love to see the variety of peppers grown–it is inspiring!

  6. Mike R says:

    It will be interesting to see how this hot sauce turns out, and if you actually let it ferment for a month. Serrano peppers are on my list for next year. Jalapenos are just not hot enough by themselves for salsa, at least to my tastes.

  7. Michelle says:

    Joe’s Long looks just like the Sigaretta Dolce peppers I grew last year, only the SG’s are generally sweet, one of my three plants produced slightly spicy peppers. I love that pepper, either sweet or spicy. I dried most of them and love to crumble them into all sorts of dishes. I didn’t grow them again this year because they were incredibly prolific and I have lots of dried peppers still.

  8. Norma Chang says:

    The purple cayenne are such pretty plants, I am thinking of growing them among my flowers and perennials. Do you think the deer will leave them alone?

  9. Amazing pepper plants Dave. I struggle growing peppers here in the Pacific Northwest but love to see others doing it well. Also, thanks so much for providing all of your recipes. I just discovered your recipe index the other day and I am planning on cooking my way through it this Fall.

  10. Christina says:

    I’m growing Joe’s Long, too! I am really happy with it, so far. It’s producing like a champ.

    Never too many hot peppers, I believe. Your chiles are gorgeous. I hope your honeybees get a chance to cool off!

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