If Sheldon Cooper can do “Fun with Flags”, I can do “Fun with Peppers”.
I am an avid vegetable gardener. I won’t grow anything I can’t eat, though. By far my favorite thing to grow are peppers of all sorts. I have had historically bad luck with sweet bell peppers, but almost all other varieties have served me well. I stuff them, dry them, slice them, can them, saute them, and deep fry them. Most are hot, but not too hot. I dabbled with things like habeneros, but there is just no use for that much heat. I like thick-walled peppers that you can sink your teeth into. I’ll take you through my current favorites in a number of tasty recipes. You, too can get the best out of your pepper patch.
I grow about 7 kinds of peppers. Each has its own flavor, heat and use in cooking. Some like the cayenne, are best dried and used as a condiment (crushed on pizza). Some like the jalapenos and serannos are best sliced and pickled. Our friend Lisa loves these. The banana peppers, poblanos and Anaheims are best stuffed, and the shishitos are best fried. All taste great because they are fresh-picked, and I prepare them the way I like them, which is a great validation for the time and effort of putting in a vegetable garden.
Here are the peppers I grow:
Jalapenos and Serranos
These are pretty common, and most people are familiar with them. They are both small, thick-walled peppers that are ideal for slicing and pickling. Both are very prolific and will produce a ton of fruit until the frost hits. The serannos turn red when ripe, while the jalapenos turn a rich, dark green.
Anaheims, Poblanos, and Banana Peppers
Best-known around Pittsburgh are the banana peppers, or Hungarian wax. You can cut them up and use them in salads, pasta dishes, or as piclkled pepper rings. These are moderately hot, long and with thick walls that hold up well to being stuffed. You can control the heat of the pepper by cutting out the seeds and membranes inside when making room for stuffing. I like to stuff these with Italian sausage and bake them in my home made tomato sauce, and a liberal quantity of shredded cheese melted on top.
Anaheims and poblanos I stuff with cheese, batter and fry to make delicious chili rellanos.
These are long, thin peppers with very thin walls. They can be used fresh to smarten up the heat of dishes, but I like to put them into the dehydrator, and then crush them. They make a great condiment to just about any food you want to spice up.
These are new additions to my garden. They are also the easiest things to cook that I’ve ever seen. You pick them, throw them into a skillet with a little bit of olive oil, and eat them with your fingers. The plants are very prolific, and will keep you in fruit all season.
In planning your garden, I don’t think you can plant too many peppers. Check the links above to see how I like to use them, or figure out ways that you like.