Peppers are such a lovely fruit. They come in many different colors, sizes and hotness.
A green pepper is just an unripe one—give it time and it will turn red, orange, purple, yellow or chocolate brown.
Regular peppers are a delicious addition to a veggie dip; they have a distinctive crunch and a beautiful sweetness (if ripe). Stir-fried peppers and onions are phenomenal with hamburgers, hot dogs, sausages and steaks. They also begin my soups and are a great start for a chicken or steak stir-fry.
Peppers like it fairly hot. They actually don’t set fruit when it is extremely hot but they do like it to be warm. When planting, I place them fairly close together—an open hand’s width apart seems to be ideal. I also place several individual book matches in the hole before I plant them. This seems to help them to produce well. If the fruits get heavy, they can sometimes need support. Keep an eye out for this possibility.
If frost threatens before the entire crop has matured, pick the entire plant out of the ground and wash the roots. These can then be hung upside down in a warmer place (finished porches work well) and the fruits will ripen. They may wrinkle a bit, but they still taste spectacular.
Peppers are the easiest thing in the world to freeze. They need no blanching whatsoever—just cut them into the size of pieces that you like to use and put them in the freezer.
I tend to use a lot of peppers during the year so I try to fill quite a few quart bags in season. I make sure that they can lay flat so that they will stack nicely in the freezer.
When it is time to use them, I can break off a large or small bunch and toss them directly into the pan. Most of the time, an onion or two is already there slowly frying in coconut oil (and a dash of salt) until soft. I like to wait until the oil begins to turn the color of the peppers (about 20 to 30 minutes) before continuing with my recipe. This ensures that both the onions and the peppers are soft and delicious.
Celeste Longacre has been growing virtually all of her family’s vegetables for the entire year for over 30 years. She cans, she freezes, she dries, she ferments & she root cellars. She also has chickens.
Celeste has also enjoyed a longtime relationship with The Old Farmer’s Almanac as their astrologer!
Celeste's new book on living lightly on the Earth is due out September 25, 2014.