Saturday 01 November, 2014 by Uncle Spike
I am often asked about what the hell we do with all the fruit and veg that we grow. Well, I finally remembered to crank up the old camera on the day we recently tackled some of our peppers. So here goes, your guided tour of how exciting (not) my life can be 🙂
Get out there and raid the veg patch four times a season and pick a few bucket loads of fresh peppers. Mine are pretty mixed, and of no specific variety, having used locally grown seeds of indeterminate heritage – but they all taste yummy, so who cares, right?
Give ’em a good shower… We don’t use any pesticides, fungicides or fertilisers apart from “poo” of the goat, chicken and perhaps moo-cow variety, so it’s just a quick rinse, that’s all. I then sort them into big or small… this will become clearer later on as they get different treatment:
Big : Steps 3-4 = chop ‘n’ freeze
Small : Steps 5-9 = cook ’em whole
The larger, less pretty, or downright ugly peppers are chopped into small chunks. I dont worry about de-seeding; it’s all healthy stuff, and I’ll use them throughout the year for all sorts of dishes (e.g. in casseroles, a stir-fry, curries etc).
Oh, and having Granny Spike and her bestie staying with us a couple of weeks was well-timed – you see, arm a couple of octogenarians with sharp knives and set them loose for a couple of hours makes short work of such a task 🙂
Then it’s time to bag ’em and freeze ’em.
I don’t blanche them or take any other action at all; just bag them up and throw them straight in the freezer. They defrost as fresh as ever well over a year later. In the winter, when making a decent Spikey Curry, all I do is bash open a bag and throw half of the them in, frozen, and that’s as much worrying as one needs.
The only advice I have: don’t scratch your eyes or go to the loo during this job – they don’t half sting, if you get my drift!
Fire up the gas under a decent size deep pan, or wok. Add an unhealthy amount of olive oil – yes I know, it helps when we have barrels of the stuff from our own trees.
Throw in a few handfuls of smaller peppers (up to 12-13cm long, or 5″).
You can add some crushed garlic or spices right about now (which is brilliant by the way), but I usually don’t, so the peppers have more varied uses later on – your call.
Heat on a hot flame, stirring every minute or so. Keep the windows open as the air can get a bit sharp if you happen upon a hot batch of peppers 🙂
Keep the heat going for 5-6 minutes until there are signs of being partially cooked (colour change etc).
Add a half glass of water straight into the pan to make a lovely sizzling cloud in your kitchen. Stir all that around and continue to cook like that for another 5 minutes, stirring every now and then.
Once the colour of the peppers deepen, they are done.
Drain them off in a colander and let them cool off. Or as I do, immediately start the next batch – repeating this process maybe 10-15 times 🙂
And then, later on, I bag these up too, whilst usually scoffing a few handfuls as they are simply gorgeous when they are that fresh (i.e. picked off the plants only 1-2 hours previously).
Find a spare drawer in one of the freezers and stuff the lot in there. Remove and use as you like over winter – simple as that!
The chopped ones can be used however you like, straight from the freezer.
The smaller ones that have been cooked are used cold, often served with some of the pasta-type homemade tomato and garlic sauce that was featured in a previous post.