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!