Sunday, August 27, 2017

Pepper Profile: Holy Mole

This amazing pepper is perfect for mole sauce making. Similar to pasilla peppers these gourmet quality, chocolate brown fruits are bright green at early maturity, then darken to warm brown over the next 2 weeks. These long and thin peppers can reach 7 to 9" in length and 1-1/2" in width. Sturdy 3 ft. plants produce multiple harvests. Early crops are most often sliced for toppings and baking, while the dark brown, fully mature fruits can be dried and ground. I am eating these peppers fresh in salads and I do not think I am using them to their full potential. I don't know how to make mole, I guess I better start learning.

Pepper Profile: Hungarian Hot Wax

Hungarian hot wax may look like a mild banana pepper, but really it has a lot more bite. In terms of spiciness, this is supposed to be a bit spicier than a jalapeno but the ones we picked were not very spicy at all.  My 9-year-old son took a bite and shrugged it off.  Maybe the cool spring led to the sub-par heat levels.

In any case, this was a beautiful pepper plant. Compact with little foliage and lot and lots of peppers.  I had to stake this plant since the peppers were so heavy on it. The range of colors of this pepper was beautiful, from a light yellow to a beautiful tangerine orange.This is a great chili for all sorts of cooking, roasting or grilling and a popular one to top off a salad with or to pickle.

Tomato Profile: Chocolate Cherry

70 days. These tomatoes have an attractive port wine colored flesh and skin. The color is a cross between chocolate and Cabernet Sauvignon.  I adore the color but I find it is difficult to figure out when it is fully ripe. I personally give them a little squeeze, to check for ripeness. The super productive, indeterminate plants produce trusses of 1 inch round fruit. This plant produces fruit that are a little bigger than the average cherry tomato, here they are next to Sunold and Sweet Million.  Chocolate Cherry is much larger and just as delicious, I would label it a tangy tomato, I did not find it as sweet as Sweet Million but it was fleshy enough to make a delicious and tangy tomato sauce.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Pepper Profile: Italian Roaster

I love trying out new varieties of veggies to grow and rotate my cultivars yearly. This pepper is totally new to me but looked gorgeous on the plant tag.  Even though we had a late start to the season, my chilis have done well. 

This chile plant produces good yields of 6" to 8" long by 1½" wide hot peppers. Peppers are said to be very mild, just a little heat, but I found them to be medium spicy.  I took bites from the pepper when I ate my meals and loved the herbaceous flavor and crunch.  The heat dissipates quickly so it won't burn for long.

The peppers turn from green to red when mature but can be picked and eaten at any time. The plant has green stems, green leaves, and white flowers. Excellent for salads, pizza, and grilling.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Tomato Profile: Valencia

Valencia has round, smooth fruit with a brilliant orange uniform color. It is a midseason indeterminate tomato that grows well in northern and cooler climates (about 76 days). It is a family heirloom from Maine. 

Some say it is called “Valencia” because it looks like a Valencia orange, while others suspect it came from Valencia, Spain.Yet it is hard to find and is a threatened variety. I did find many good looking plants at my local hardware store.

The tomato has an excellent, full, complex tomato taste, with a great balance of acidic and sweet. It is fleshy and meaty with few seeds. I adore tomatoes with thick walls and few seeds.  This variety is a sure winner.

Did You Know? Tomatoes are native to Central and South America and were originally thought to be inedible when introduced in Europe.

Pepper Profile: The Mild Jalapeño

If you love the flavor of jalapeños and want an even milder version of the original, try the mild cultivar, sometimes sold a “coolapeño”. 

Named after the town of Jalapa, Mexico, this is the most popular chile pepper in the United States. Jalapeño produces 3-inch, thick-walled, moderately hot pods with deep green color that matures to a bright red.  Sometimes there are hints of black or purple on the skin as well. The skin may show a netting pattern as fruit ages, but it does not affect flavor. Harvest jalapeno peppers by pinching them carefully from the stem when they are firm. Jalapeño plants yield a bountiful harvest in dry or humid, hot or cool climates. The compact plants grow well in containers.

The jalapeño is pretty much the perfect amount of heat for those that like a little kick, but don’t want to challenge their taste buds to a duel. This is truly a pepper that’s found its niche, and it’s got big time fans all over the world.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Tomato Profile: Black Prince

70 days. An heirloom from Irkutsk, Siberia. This medium sized tomato was easy to grow and quick to ripen, it ripened at the same time as our cherry tomatoes and before all other tomatoes.  Being from Siberia, Black Prince does well in cooler summer climates. We have had a hot couple of weeks and I found that in hot weather this tomato can get soft on you.  Check it every day as it starts to ripen. The plant itself was not too sprawling or unruly, decent lush growth but controllable.  The fruit itself was round and heart-shaped not really black but a cool camo color, a mix of red, green and brown.

This was an amazing first tomato for our family, the husband, kids, and grandparents gobbled them right up.  The fruit tasted like "a real tomato" should: juicy, tangy and sweet, all in perfect harmony.  This early ripening tomato will be a staple in our garden for years to come.