I always grow quite a few pepper varieties every year, and I thought I would do a recap of the 2013 crop before I forget all the details. I’ll start off with the hot types, some of which are actually pretty mild but still pack a little heat. I am pretty wimpy when it comes to hot peppers, so the hottest types I grow are the cayenne and serrano, though I guess the Thai Bird pepper is hotter than the cayenne. Both are so hot I only use a little of them in the kitchen.
I love making hot sauce though, and I grew quite a few peppers that are good for that use, including El Jefe Jalapeno, Serrano Del Sol, Cayennetta, Joe’s Long Cayenne, Long Thin Cayenne and Purple Cayenne. I also grew several other varieties I used mainly for processing and drying, and this year they included Anaheim, Biggie Chili, Ancho 211 and Holy Mole peppers. I also roasted some of those and put them in the freezer for later use, though I didn’t take any photos of that activity this year.
I grew several Capsicum chinense peppers (Aji Dulce #1, Aji Dulce #2 and Trinidad Perfume) and one C. bacchatum (Aji Angelo) pepper this year. All did well, and I harvested quite a few from each of the four varieties. I used the fresh ones in a number of dishes, including some quite memorable fruity mango salsa. These varieties have only a mild level of heat, unlike some of their relatives like the Habenero.
The bacchatum variety, Aji Angelo, came from a seed swap I did with fellow blogger Michelle at From Seed To Table. Aji Angelo produced two flushes of fruit for me. The first came in late August/ early September, then the plant had a shot of new growth and was covered in blooms again. Those peppers came on about a month later, and quite a few didn’t ripen in time before frost came. I picked them green so they wouldn’t go to waste. More on those in a minute.
I dried quite a few of these four varieties for use later. And I made some into Homemade Chile Powder. The ripe ones made a very distinctive tasting powder that was colored orange due to the mix of red and yellow peppers. You can see it on the left in the below photo. I dried some of the other hot peppers too for powder, both red and green ones. For the green powder I used a mix of green Anaheims and the Aji Angelos that didn’t have time to ripen. They made for a tasty green chile powder that is a nice compliment to the red version. After several tastings, I decided the Aji Dulce #1 did not have a lot of flavor, so I doubt I will be growing it again. I saved seeds from the other three, and plan on growing them again next year.
I can’t forget to mention our very own Hot Happy Yummy peppers. I grew several plants of these this year as I continue to grow them out, select the best ones, and save seed. Two of the plants were orange and hot, but the either the shape or color was a bit off so I didn’t save seeds from them. One plant had the right color and shape, so I did save seeds from it, which becomes the F3 generation. I have a long way to go before I have the 8 or 9 generations it may take to stabilize the strain! In the below photo, the left one is more skinny than the original, and the right one is a yellow-orange color. Both were quite hot and had a nice fruity flavor though, so I used them even if I didn’t save seed from them.
In the below photo, the pepper on the left has the desired shape and color, so I saved seeds from that plant. The one on the right is more slender. I have another container grown Hot Happy Yummy in the greenhouse that has shorter peppers that resemble orange serranos. I haven’t saved seeds from this one, though it would be a novel pepper. I am having a hard enough time as it is finding room to grow the one strain of Hot Happy Yummy and make selections, along with its sibling the Sweet Happy Yummy.
I made several batches of hot sauce this year, including a Basic Fermented Hot Sauce made mostly from cayenne types, and a Sriracha-Style Hot Sauce that used a mix of jalapenos, serranos and a few cayennes. I used many of the Hot Happy Yummys for hot sauce too, including one batch of the fermented and one of the Sriracha-Style. This year I aged the fermented sauces a full month before bottling them up, and they have a rich, complex flavor.
From left to right in the below photo we have two bottles of Sriracha-Style Hot Sauce and two of the Basic Fermented Hot Sauce. The two bottles in the middle with orange sauce were made with the Hot Happy Yummy peppers.
I used some of the early ripening hot peppers to make a batch of No Rooster Chili Garlic Sauce. This first batch had a couple of big ripe Anaheim peppers, plus a few Cayennetta and Serranos. I made another batch in September with some ripe jalapenos.
I also dried quite a few of the hot peppers for later use whole. I use the whole dried peppers a lot with beans and stews where I want some of the pepper flavor as well as a little heat. That way you can remove the pepper after cooking if you like, or chop it up and add to the dish.
All in all it was a good year for the hot peppers here. I will be back later this week with a recap of the 2013 sweet peppers I grew, and what I did with some of them. I hope you have enjoyed this ‘peppery’ update from Happy Acres!
Great roundup – I’ve pinned it for inspiration as I want to do a lot more with my chillies this year. Particularly hot sauces, I do like the idea of making some different style hot sauces.
I have had to much fun with the hot sauces. And you were the one who inspired me with the Sambal Oelek you made! The fresh sauces are great, but then so are the fermented ones. And you can make them with whatever peppers you like, or have on hand. They’re so much better than store bought for sure!
Amazing how you are able to keep track of all your peppers and the activities associated with each.
The Trinidad Perfume pepper looks like the Jamaican scotch bonnet pepper. Are they the same? Used whole, the scotch bonnet perfumes the dish without adding heat.
Norma, I take notes and lots of photos! The Trinidad Perfume has very little heat at all, less than an Anaheim. You can eat it raw without burning your mouth like the Scotch Bonnet would.
I grew your Happy Yummy again this year. I love both the hot and the sweet, and found I was able to use my hot as sweet (without seeds and membrane) or hot (with seeds and membrane). I have a sweet growing inside, but it looks like it’s going to drop its blossoms. I’ll still try to keep it growing through the winter. My son has both of my potted hots, and he says they are growing and producing well inside, so loaded with peppers that some of the stems are breaking from the load! I used your original seeds this year, but saved my own to plant next year.
Thanks for the update AG. So glad to hear the Happy Yummys are doing well for you. I have one of the hots potted up in the greenhouse, and it is still producing too. I do believe the sweet version has been more true to type (at least for me) than the hot one.
I get a variety of shapes and sizes off of the Happy Yummy plants (from a single plant) but I noticed today that the peppers from what I labeled the ’09 seeds are more orange than the ones that I simply labeled Happy Yummy. I haven’t done a taste test on those yet though… I also have a plant labeled ‘sweet’ and another ‘hot’. I’ll have to go back and look at the photos of earlier harvests. Maybe I should start to take better notes…
I love the Aji Dulces, but unfortunately they do not like my climate so I’ve given up on trying to grow them. I love the mild baccatums also, but again, it’s a challenge here to get them to ripen before December, that’s why Aji Angelo is one of my favorites – it’s flavorful and early for a baccatum. I managed to get some Aji Pineapples (C. baccatum) to ripen a few years ago and absolutely loved it’s medium hot fruity flavor but I haven’t managed to get it to grow well again. Ah well, I shouldn’t complain too much, there’s so much to love about my weird climate.