Sweet peppers

Ripe, colorful sweet peppers usually become available in late July or early August, and they’re very much worth the wait. So yummy in so many different preparations or simply as a snack.

Most sweet peppers start green and ripen to a colorful phase, often red, orange, or yellow. In our opinion, the flavor of the fully ripe peppers is sufficiently superior to the green peppers to be worth the wait to maturity. In most circumstances, we resist the urge to pick sweet peppers until they are ripe. However, green peppers have their uses, for example in Cajun cooking, so we will occasionally offer them green. Also, just prior to the first fall frost, we’ll salvage anything remaining from the plants, including a bounty of green peppers, which we’ll distribute as long as quality holds.

HANDLING & STORAGE

Store peppers in the refrigerator. They are best used in a week or so, but they will often maintain good quality longer than that.

IN THE KITCHEN

Raw: Slice them in strips or wedges and eat them plain or enjoy with dip.

Stir fried: Thinly sliced, quickly cooked over high heat.

Roasted: Halve & seed, toss with olive oil, then roast for several minutes per side under a hot oven broiler until blistered but not burnt. Combine with hot peppers, tomatoes, onions, and/or garlic as desired.

Stuffed: Like roasted above, but with various tasty fillings like cheese. Can also be done raw.

Salad: Enjoy peppers in a Greek salad with chunks of tomato, onion, and cucumber. Or try this pepper salad recipe from the first CSA that Joanna joined:

Xiao’s Sensational and Simple Colored Pepper Side Salad (from Sunny Acres CSA newsletter, August 22 2001)

5-10 sweet peppers
3 Tbl balsamic vinegar
2 Tbl sugar
1/2-1 Tbl sesame oil (use sparingly to taste; this varies greatly in strength by brand)
1 Tbl chopped peanuts or almonds
salt to taste

Slice peppers as thin as possible. Mix vinegar, oil, and sugar and let sit a few minutes to dissolve & combine. Mix dressing with peppers and top with nuts. Enjoy.

PRESERVATION

Dehydration: This is our method of choice for preserving sweet peppers. We de-seed and slice them, and position them on dehydrator trays to dry. We store dried peppers in glass jars. To use, we’ll rehydrate in boiling water for 5 minutes or so, then put on pizza, in a pasta sauce, or in a frittata, for example. Or just put some in a soup/stew and let them rehydrate in the broth.

Freezing: Many people report that they have good success freezing sweet peppers. We have not actually tried, because we’re so happy with the dehydrated version. We will, however, freeze various batches of roasted pepper sauce made as described above.

VARIETIES WE GROW

  • Jimmy Nardello: A long pointy red pepper with thin walls; could be mistaken for a hot pepper by looks, but not by its remarkable taste.
  • Chervena Chushka: A fat pointy red pepper with thick walls.
  • Sheepnose Pimento: A red spheroid.
  • Doe Hill Golden Bell: A deep yellow spheroid. Superbly sweet & flavorful when fully ripe. Joanna’s favorite. Sometimes the plants are just a bit finicky and lower yielding than the other varieties.
  • Golden Treasure (trial in 2013): A pointy yellow pepper.