I love spicy food and go to great lengths to create my own spice combinations to season my dishes with. Currently, I am in the process of smoking and drying a few beautiful red jalapenos to make a killer chipotle powder. So far, so good; the red demons smoked up perfectly and are now in the process of drying. I see some delicious spicy meals in my future. …
“Always remember: If you’re alone in the kitchen and you drop the lamb, you can always just pick it up. Who’s going to know?” – Julia Child
Currently, in my kitchen there is not a square inch of surface that is not covered with boxes of tomatoes or buckets of peppers. Not a bad problem to have, but a bit overwhelming at present. Tim and I made the decision, when our first grandson was born, to be actively involved with our grandchildren on a regular basis. So, once a month our grandson Edison comes to the farm to spend the weekend. We love our visits and look forward to the time we get to spend with him. Did I mention Edison is 3 years old and completely all boy? Thus, my dilemma with a kitchen full of tomatoes and peppers. Fortunately, Tim is a hands on grandpa and this will free up my time a bit to tackle freezing, roasting, and drying of the peppers. One of the wonderful things about peppers is the ease in which they can be preserved. Peppers are in abundance at the end of summer and beginning of fall, and usually when you can find them at the market most reasonably priced. If you haven’t been able to grow them yourself they are well worth the money to preserve for later use.
Three Simple Ways to Preserve Peppers
Freezing – Frozen peppers are wonderful for using in all your pure food recipes. Use them in soups, stews and casseroles, or throw them in a stir fry or omelet. Freeze peppers in the amount needed for a single recipe or flash freeze to be removed by the handful as needed. If you have not had the opportunity to grow your own peppers this year, check out your nearby farmers market. Be sure to buy enough to last throughout the winter season. This way you will not have to buy peppers when they are at a premium price in the store this winter. Roasting – Roasted peppers are simply delicious and add great flavor to sandwiches, salads and soup. My favorite is a Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato soup. After roasting, cut the peppers in quarters, slice, chop, or dice them. Package in single use portions and freeze. When thawed, they can be used for any recipe that calls for roasted peppers. The consistency of the roasted pepper does not change after freezing.
Drying – Dehydrating peppers is simple to accomplish and yields such wonderfully concentrated flavors. If you buy chili powder in the store you may not realize that chili powder is not the only ingredient. Several seasonings may be mixed in with the chili powder, effectively diluting the real chili flavor. When dehydrating your own, you are in charge of what goes in your powder. I mixed Cayenne and Thai Chili’s this year with a bit of Sweet NuMex red pepper to make my own blend of chili powder. Delicious. The farmers market is a great place to get chili’s in bulk and they are usually pretty reasonably priced. If you want to make your own chili powder and can’t find any fresh, another option is to look in the Mexican food section in your grocery store. There you will find bags of dried peppers at a reasonable price and this will enable you to make your own blend.
Three simple Ways to Preserve Peppers shared with:
Creative K Kids: Tasty Tuesdays
“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces, just good food from fresh ingredients.” – Julia Childs
Slowly I wander down the path, stopping to brush my fingers against a few leaves of basil. The familiar pungently sweet smell quickly assaults my senses and I smile.
Farther down the path I spy vines of beans, their beautiful red scarlet flowers duck and weave between the rows of corn. A closer inspection reveals red petals scattered along the path, shuffled here and there by a playful wind. The beans are dancing their final dance.
Summer is winding to a close and I stand in the garden with gratitude, thankful for all that I have been blessed with this season. My freezer and pantry is filling up quickly. I have had more than enough for our family and to share with others. As I contemplate the ending of one season and the beginning of another I do so with excitement for what is to come.
The holiday season will soon be upon us. Halloween with little goblins and ghouls rushing with fervor from door to door, collecting treasures, joyful in their innocence. Thanksgiving, a day of family and friends gathering around the table, sharing a meal in a way that is seldom done anymore in our fast hurry up world. Then comes Christmas and the wonderful celebrations of the birth of a King.
If you are anything like me, the holiday season can be intense. So much to be done and not enough hours in the day to accomplish it all. Each year I begin with saying “It will be different this year” and each year as the holidays come around, it is pretty much the same. So, even though I am starting late (again), I will focus on putting healthy foods in my pantry that make it easier to get dinner on the table when time is short.
As the holiday season approaches, gather around the table. Eat, drink, laugh and tell your stories. Take time to enjoy family and friends. Life is a journey meant to be shared. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Summers Last Dance shared with:
Crafty Spices: Wordless Wednesday