Anaheim NuMex Joe E. Parker “Hot” Pepper

You may have noticed that the title contains the word hot which has quotations surrounding it: “hot”. That’s because although this pepper is classified as a hot pepper, I do not believe it is such (it is rated 800-1000 on the scoville scale). I think I need to come up with a new pepper classification to categorize peppers that are in between sweet and hot peppers. I guess that when I first started eating and growing peppers I was a bit naive because I didn’t realize that the pepper spectrum is so vast. I do enjoy the more mild hot peppers quite a bit, but I sometimes find myself disappointed when I taste them because I’m expecting to burn my face off. From now on I am going to ensure that my expectations are clear when choosing peppers to grow – I need a good variety of sweet, mild hot and face-burning hot peppers. But I can’t be too hard on myself – this is my first year of successfully growing hot peppers from seed!

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For some reason I ended up with three plants of this variety in my greenhouse – I can’t remember why (goldfish brain). All of the plants were fairly compact – about a foot or so tall and each plant produced 2-3 peppers. Not an amazing amount, but enough to flavor a few small dishes (fresh salsa & thrown in with some banana peppers I was canning to add more colors). The peppers themselves were a good size – a couple of inches wide and about 6 inches long (except for a few runts). I know I complained above about feeling disappointment towards the lack of heat in these, but the taste is really good for a mild pepper – slightly sweet but with a peppery taste without the heat (if that makes sense). I think that if I had a better yield of these I would have stuffed them and roasted them because that would have really brought out the flavor.

I have one more hot pepper left for this year and that is the Habanero which are yet to ripen in my greenhouse (these ones have been so slow!), but I’m confident that I will not be disappointed with these ones.

Anaheim NuMex Joe E. Parker pepper seeds from Botanical Interests.

 

 

Pasilla Bajio Pepper

I had thought that in September I would be writing about and posting pictures of my green and lush garden winding down. But I was wrong. Instead, I’m talking about snow and freezing temperatures. Calgary was hit with a winter storm in the summer. It sounds ridiculous saying it, but snow is not unheard of at this time of year in Alberta, but a storm like this is fairly uncommon. The snow started falling in parts of the city on Monday morning but didn’t hit my area until early Monday afternoon. And it wasn’t bad – there were a few moans around the office about snowflakes but nothing was sticking. Then Monday night things started to stick. See my last post here. On Tuesday morning there was a bit of snow on the ground, but it wasn’t piling up on the roads or sidewalks. But it didn’t stop and by Wednesday morning, it was wet and heavy and still coming down. On my drive to work, I saw large mature trees splitting down the middle and limbs falling off from the weight of the snow and landing on the sidewalks and streets. Several street lights were out and many people were without power and/or water. We were fortunate that we only lost power for a couple of brief periods at home and we don’t have any mature leafy trees on or near our property (there are some old spruce trees on the street but those were not affected). Apparently the total snowfall tally in the city over the last few days was 35cm. It was the perfect weather to start knitting again and we did pull out the wool blankets which I love so so much. And apparently the weather is supposed to go back to normal September weather starting this weekend and early next week, so I’ll be able to not complain about snow for hopefully a few weeks.

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The aftermath in my garden, September 11, 2014 – snow has already fallen from my neighbor’s tree and melted off the shed roof and fence

And now to pretend that the snow didn’t happen and I’m happily harvesting vegetables from the garden.

I don’t remember what the deciding factors of purchasing pepper seeds were for me a few years ago (I’ve said it before – goldfish brain). Now that I have a few varieties of peppers under my belt I know it will be heat. But I’m not so convinced that this was a factor before. Looking back on my old stash of seeds, it seems the hottest seeds I’d purchased were jalapeno – weaklings in the hot pepper world. I’m going to assume that I chose the pasilla bajio based on the look of it on the package because I certainly didn’t buy it for the heat. The pasilla bajio is a really beautiful pepper – about 6 or so inches long and very dark green/slightly brown. I would be interested in drying some of these because they are supposed to be a lovely dark brown when dried and apparently make a really tasty powder, which is typically used for mole sauce.

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And it was one of the earlier peppers to appear in my greenhouse, which is a plus in my books. I started all of my pepper plants inside the house in February. I’m actually thinking I will start them earlier this coming year. They seemed to do really well under the lights indoors and did not grow big or leggy like a lot of other plants do when started indoors. The only reason for starting them earlier than February would be to get peppers harvested sooner. Some of my peppers were ready in early August, but most have been ripening late August and into September. And I even have a feeling that some varieties may even hold out until later, like my habanero.

The taste was very mild and flavorful with a hint of smokiness. I would actually argue that I didn’t find there to be any heat at all and that makes sense since this pepper is rated 1,000 – 2,000 on the scoville scale. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t good though – you just need to know going in that it isn’t a pepper you grow for heat. Since I only had 3 peppers, I made spiced chicken and pepper rajas, recipe from Bon Appetit. It was good, but next time I would actually add in a little hot pepper for some heat and serve it with some sour cream and shredded cheese (basically just a fajita without the soft tortilla). The recipe calls for pablano peppers but they are on the same level heat-wise as the pasillo bajio so I didn’t think the recipe police would mind too much.

Because I would like to experiment with making my own powdered spices, I will grow this pepper again. Plus, it is just so pretty.

Seeds purchased from Botanical Interests.