Wednesday, September 10, 2014

sweet and hot

The pepper onslaught is in full swing in the garden.  Overnight we went from pounds and pounds of tomatoes to a few dozen peppers each day.  And just like with the tomatoes, I've been really excited about canning and preserving anything we don't eat fresh.  It has most definitiely been a time of experimentation around here and we've had peppers in pretty much every dish, but I have to say that I'm loving the hunt for recipes to try as well as incorporating the offerings of the garden into our family classics.

As soon as we realized how large they would grow to be, we decided to roast our large, sweet peppers and preserve them in olive oil.  This was my first time canning with oil, and I'm happy to report that it is just as simple as canning with brine.
See those big (as my feet) red peppers?  Those are Giant Marconi.  This was our first season growing them and they turned out to be sweet and meaty and perfect for fire-roasting.
The Marconi and a handful of poblano chiles roasted right on the range top.  A cooling rack (we used the rack from inside a large roaster) is the perfect thing to hold the peppers over the flame until the skin is black and blistered.
Here's how they look after the black skin has been removed and peppers have been cut into ribbons and nestled into a jar with a clove of garlic and lots of good olive oil.  So far we've eaten these on sandwiches and they have become my favorite pizza topping with chevre and watercress.  Yum is an understatement.

I have pickled our super-spicy jalapeno and serrano peppers in a really simple brine (you can find the repice at Simply Scratch) many, many times before.  This time around I also made some jars of sweet peppers for the people don't love the hot stuff so much.
The jalapeno and serrano are really hot but still have tons of flavor.  The banana and Anaheim are mild and mellow and take really well to the brine.
The sweet peppers are great on sandwiches and pizza of course, but my favorite is diced up into potato hash.  We eat the hot peppers on tacos and all foods Mexican,  pizza (pepperoni and jalapeno is a classic at our house), and especially in scrambled eggs.  Drew dices them fine and puts them in coleslaw, too.

I was excited to give pepper jam another go this year.  I made two batches last year -- one that was pure pepper and one with tiny flecks of diced mango (inspired by the apple-mango pepper jelly from Bramble Basics).  This year I used the same ingredients, but pureed the mango instead of dicing it.  I love what the puree does to the texture of the jam.
Lavender and orange bells, sweet banana, Anaheim, golden cayenne, jalapeno and serrano peppers pre-pulverization.
Five ingredients:  the pepper mix, pectin, apple cider vinegar, sugar and pureed fresh mango.
The mango pepper jam, finished and ready to eat.  Drew eats this stuff on everything, from peanut butter sandwiches to fried chicken.  My fave way to eat it is on crostini or whole wheat crackers with goat cheese.  With cream cheese on saltines works (and is just as delicious) if you want to go white trash with it.
And there you have it.  My three favorite ways with garden peppers -- just in time for the second big harvest.  Hope it will be as sweet and hot as these last days of summer.


  1. can you post a specific recipe for the brining!? we've got a ton of super spicy to mild-spicy peppers and I'd love to pickle them. sounds like you've got something that's consistently great.

    1. Ramona! The brine I use is from a blog called Simply Scratch. Super simple and perfect for any pepper.

      You can find the post here: