Peppers offer variety of flavor, colors for cooking

peppers

Garden season is winding down, but there are a few plants still hanging on. Some that are continuing to produce a lot are my peppers.

From sweet to hot, I like to grow a variety of peppers. Each year I find a few new ones to try. In addition to the bell peppers, I have discovered a few other favorites along the way.

One of my favorites is the Poblano pepper. It’s not too hot and has a great flavor. Another good pepper that I have grown for a few years now is the Hungarian Wax. Although the name is not appealing, the flavor is. They are one of the more mild hot peppers so they are good in a variety of dishes.

I also have grown the standards of chili peppers, jalapeños and cayenne. These are good, and I like to sprinkle a bit of dried chili pepper in my chili, but I find these are too hot for me usually, especially the cayenne peppers.

Last year I found a good alternative to jalapeños. Fooled You peppers have the jalapeño flavor but not the heat. In addition Mucho Nacho peppers are a similar flavor, but not the heat. I also tried some Serano and Garden Salsa peppers last year, which I have enjoyed.

This year I added Santiago and Gypsy peppers. I have not used either of these too much, but when I have, they have been good as well.

One common trend in my “hot” peppers, is they are not that hot. While you don’t want to sit down and eat one raw – and with some, you will want to wear gloves if cutting very many – when they are cooked in a dish, they add some nice flavor to the meal.

For the bell peppers, I like not just the green bell peppers, but also orange, red, purple and yellow. They make a very colorful dish, like for fajitas.

One important note about peppers is they do not like the cold. If the forecast is anywhere near freezing, pick all you can and bring them indoors. After learning the hard way last year, when the forecast calls for lows within 10 degrees of freezing I will be out picking the night before.

With so many peppers, preserving them is important. There are a couple of easy methods, including freezing and drying. I will talk more about tips for preserving and uses in next week’s Garden Talk.

Until next time, happy garden-fresh eating!

Julie Clements is a Butler County Master Gardener.
Share your ideas for garden-fresh recipes or ways to preserve at julieclements75@gmail.com and some will be featured in upcoming columns.

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