Thursday, September 9, 2010

Peppers

Farmer Jeff (of New Roots Farm) and I were talking yesterday about the approaching end to the vegetable season. By this time of the year it is somewhat of a relief to wind down. Each growing season brings different rewards and stresses. One vegetable does well and another does poorly. It is as variable and unpredictable as the weather.

This was the year of the pepper. Late July to early September is peak pepper harvest. Often by now, the sweet red peppers have begun to rot on the vine. Not this year. They are as gorgeous now as any time during the season.

Sweet, red peppers

The hot peppers are also hot this year. The 90 degree days that I complained about earlier this month were perfect for one thing -- drying cayenne peppers. Lacking a dehydrator, I used the sun instead. Although it is taking longer to dry the peppers, I set them outside in the sunniest spot and let the sun do the work. These are looking pretty good.

Cayenne peppers drying under the sun

Many Indian dishes call for a dry, red chili. Our stash for the year is nearly ready. The green chilies and the jalapenos are used fresh and a healthy supply is in the freezer for year-round use.


Hot peppers!
As good as this year is for peppers, it is a bust for eggplant. I think various bugs and wilts (fungus) got to them. Fortunately, my sister's garden in the upper Champlain Valley of Vermont was not so inflicted and we returned home on Monday with several long Asian types and one big black Italian type. Crop rotation seems to be the only solution to avoiding eggplant wilt so there is always next year for our eggplant. In the meantime, peppers are on the menu.

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