When you have an abundance of peppers, it is time for you to get creative and busy. They are good for just snacking on, dehydrating, freezing, hang them to dry for decoration, for cooking, and to make salsa.
Peppers are also good for adding flavor to many recipes. All peppers start out as green but as they ripen they change colors. Once they are fully ripe, they are red in color. Peppers are actually a fruit because they are grown on a flowering plant and they produce seeds.
The Chili peppers are hot peppers and are measured by the scoville heat scale for hotness. They have the hot oil capsaicin and they vary in their level of spiciness.
Bell peppers are generally sweet. They have a bell like shape and are best if used fresh. They are good for adding flavor to your meals or just snacking on. They are sold in green, yellow, orange, and red colors. The red peppers are sweeter than the green ones.
Banana peppers are also known as the wax pepper. They are in the chili family. They can be sweet or mild in taste. They are good for snacking on, pizza toppings, or for salsa.
Jalapeno peppers are also in the chili family. They are a mild to hot pepper. They are good on your pizza or on sandwiches.
Habanero peppers in the chili family, as well. They are a very hot pepper. They can be used in salsa – if you like it spicy.
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Ghost peppers are in the chili family too. They are one of the hottest peppers there are. I have used them for cooking and was unable to eat the dish when it was done.
Cayenne peppers are in the chili family also. They are generally hung to dry until they are dark red and crinkly. They can be ground or chopped to add flavor to your food.
Tabasco peppers are hot and are generally used in making hot sauce.
Peppercorns are actually a berry. They are the world’s most traded spice. They will keep their flavor until they are ground and then it lasts only about thirty days. There is a variety of peppercorns with black being the most known.
This is just a handful of the types of peppers there are. They are grown all over the world and come in different levels of sweet, spicy, or hot flavors.
I highly recommend that you use gloves while preserving your peppers, as you can burn your hands. Just because you have washed your hands after preserving, the hotness is still there and when you rub your eyes you will know it. Ouch! It took me two times to remember this. Lesson finally learned. Always wash your peppers before prepping.
Hang drying them is a very easy prep. I simply just thread them up with a needle and thread and hang and forget them. Leave them until they are a dark red and a crunchy, crinkly feel. Once they are dry I separate the seeds out and then I chop the pepper. I store them separately in air tight containers and use them for cooking.
Dehydrating the peppers is a quicker way to dry them than hanging. Set the dehydrator on 125 degrees. Do not remove them until they are crispy for hot peppers or leathery for sweet ones. You can grind or chop the peppers once they are dry and store them in containers for later use.
Freezing them is also an option. I cut mine in quarters long ways and threw them in a freezer bag. Now, when my kiddos want to snack on them I just have to thaw the peppers and they are ready to enjoy. You can also chop and freeze them for cooking with later.
Seed saving is also important. Simply remove seeds from the peppers and dry them and store them for the next garden season. Be sure you know which peppers the seeds are out of – you wouldn’t want to think you were growing some bell peppers and they are actually a jalapeno.
Fresh Pepper Salsa
Salsa making is a delicious way to use the peppers up. You can make it from scratch or you can make life easier and use Mrs. Wages packets – with this method you just follow the simple directions on the packet. The packets do not call for use of peppers as they are dried and in the packet. I have tweaked the recipe by adding peppers to mine so the salsa is more chunky.
Fresh Salsa Recipe
- Three cups of peeled, cored, and chopped tomatoes. Peeling tomatoes is done by scalding them in boiling water for three minutes and then dipping them into ice cold water. The skins will slip right off.
- Three cups of the peppers of your choice chopped.
- One cup of chopped onion.
- Six cloves of garlic minced,
- Two tablespoons of minced cilantro,
- Two teaspoons oregano,
- One and a half teaspoons salt,
- Half a teaspoon of cumin,
- One cup of cider vinegar.
- Combine all ingredients in a large pan and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Ladle hot salsa into hot jars leaving half an inch of head space.
- Place lids on jars and water bath for 15 minutes. Then listen for the happy sound of the Ping so you know the jars sealed properly.
I got a variety of peppers this year – and a whole lot of them. In my house peppers are enjoyed about anyway you could imagine. My kids eat bell peppers like apples…literally. They just love them. With the banana peppers they were just picked and thrown together and now I don’t know which is which as everything smells hot at this point. Luckily my family likes spicy food and it’s luck of the pick as to what they grab. The excessive dipping in ranch also blocks some of the spiciness. We have put them in our salads, sliced them for sandwiches and pizza toppings. Made salsa galore, which I’m excited about. There is nothing quite like getting to enjoy the “fruits of our labor.”
Some peppers even boast great healing ability. Cayenne peppers are believed to help reduce the chance of heart attack, blood clots, and spark fibrinolytic activity.
November is National Pepper Month. So eat up and enjoy!