Friday, February 4, 2011

Some Heat in the Cold of Winter

Even though the garden has been dormant for a few months now, I'm still reaping the fruits of last year's labors.

Peppers have never done well for me. I know they need a long growing season, but if Dad could get peppers in NY, surely I should be able to get peppers in VA. Two years ago I learned starting early is not necessarily the answer. I set them out too early, and the cool temperatures stunted the plant growth. They never really recovered.

So last year I babied the seedlings inside until it was nice and warm out. Set out the plants, put the soaker hose around them, and watched them grow. And grow. And grow. And not produce any peppers. Then, finally, I had some. The peppers were small but plentiful. Thin-walled but tasty.

Except for the Habaneros. A new pepper for me; I planted it on a whim. I didn't have space in the pepper bed, so it didn't get as much water where I planted it. The plant didn't get huge, and it didn't have peppers until very late. Like October, or even later. When I was cleaning up the garden this fall (a chore I never finished), I decided to try moving the Habanero plant to a pot. I didn't have a lot of time that day, so I yanked it out of the ground, stuffed it in a pot, and threw some soil in around it. Set it on the back porch to shelter it from frost. And forgot about it.

Pepper plants need water, and this one didn't get any. So it died, as unwatered plants do. But not before growing and ripening those little Habaneros.

I finally harvested the peppers from the dead plant:

Now what? I didn't really feel like having a dinner of hot peppers. My BIL suggested drying them. food dehydrator, no warm sun, maybe the oven? My new gas oven has a minimum temperature of 170, and I thought that might cook, rather than dry, the peppers. Then I remembered: I have a warming drawer! That was just the thing. I left the peppers in overnight, and in the morning they looked like this:

After about 14 hours, I took them out and ground them up:

Now, what do I do with 2 tsp of Habanero powder?

2/14 edit: Why isn't my habanero powder spicy? Oh, it turns out what I'd planted was Zavory Habanero: the citrus flavor without the heat. This will be great on jicama, I think.


  1. Wow, I don't know what you can do with it, but you must find something! Your own habanero powder, awesome!

  2. Chili! and Salsa!
    My blog has a list of the types of peppers I have grown, along with my comments/experience.

  3. Thanks for the list - I'll check it out before I decide what to plant this year. Oh, and it turns out my habaneros were not hot at all. So not so good for chili or salsa. But great on jicama!