Hot peppers

Before, they were here

Now, they are here









Paprika peppers. We plan on hanging them to dry and then pulverizing them into a powder. Maybe I’ll be able to convince Keith to put a few in the smoker so we can have smoked paprika. Have you tried it? So good on chicken breast (the cooked kind).

Naga jolokia. The Ghost Pepper. Supposedly the hottest pepper in the world. (In 2000, India’s Defence Research Laboratory (DRL) reported a rating of 855,000 heat units (SHU) on the Scoville scale. For comparison, Tabasco rates at 2,500–5,000, and pure capsaicin (the chemical responsible for the pungency of pepper plants) rates at 15,000,000–16,000,000 SHU.* Source Wikipedia)  We grew it.

Keith donned the gloves (see here for my early article on picking hot peppers without gloves – NOT recommended) to pick them. We still have some on the plants outside, and we gave the rest to Popper. (If you haven’t checked it out, Popper’s Artisanal Meats (formerly Popper’s Sausage Kitchen) makes some great food.

 Keith plans on drying the Ghost Peppers and the grinding them to a powder for use in the kitchen. I can’t imagine a recipe I’d be willing to try that includes THAT for a spice. If you have recipes, feel free to share in the Comments section.

Keith painted a portion of our kitchen wall with magnetic paint, then layered it with chalk paint. I am having way more fun than a 40-year-old-with-chalk should be.

Great scene in When Harry Met Sally.  No, not that one. I’m talking about the one with the Pepper in my Paprikash scene. Why, you ask, am I mentioning this scene on DaisyPatch Farm? Because we are growing paprika peppers. Successfully I might add. They are free from any sort of disease or blemish including, but not limited to, mold, mildew, fungus, blight, bugs, boils, canker sores, acne, carbunkles, exzema, impitigo, scabies, ringworm, dandruff and genital warts. We haven’t seen them afflicted with alopecia, lice, calluses, rosacea, folliculitis, varicose veins, vertigo, athlete’s foot, malignant melanoma or even buck melanoma. Here’s hoping we can keep it that way.

Although now that I look at this picture more closely, I do see a snail. Dammit! I can’t freeking win.

My I’m In Pain haiku…ahem…

Why don’t I wear gloves?

My left hand got stuck with thorns

My right hand got stung.

Now go get a hot chocolate and when you come back, curl up at my feet and I’ll tell you the story of the sunny October day your old Aunt Jenn got her first bee sting after 27 years.

First, we need to start at the beginning, where all good stories start. When she was 12, your Aunt Jenn’s big brother was given a plane ride for his birthday. Being the youngest of three, and a little spoiled to say the least, she wasn’t too thrilled about spending a Summer afternoon in a dusty country airport field. She forgot a book to read and so entertained herself by playing balance-beam on some planks that were laid across stumps in a makeshift seating area. Up and down she walked. Up and down, up and down. The minutes seemed like hours. “How boring,” she cried, and kept walking up and down the planks. The hours dragged and she, like all little pouty, bored girls do when no one is paying attention to them, started to stomp. Stomp, stomp, stomp.

Little did she know, she stirred up a bees’ nest and they were mad. AT HER! What do you think happened next? That’s right, she got stung.

She ended up in the emergency room where a mean, nasty doctor with red eyes and fangs took out the longest needle he had and held it up to the light where it gleamed like a sword (or maybe it was a sword. It probably was, the bastard). He used that needle to pick every one of the 17 stingers that were left behind in your Aunt Jenn by those big, mad bees. She’s been terrified of needles, and bees, ever since (I’m sure you can imagine!)

Well, you would think your Aunt Jenn would have learned her lesson about gardening without gloves after she picked hot peppers and wiped her nose, but apparently, she’s not that bright (we do still have hopes for her though). One bright, Sunny October Sunday, 27 years after that fateful day, she was weeding and pulling everything out of the ground that was within reach. Without looking, she reached out her left hand and it brushed a thorny weed. Now, this was not the type of thorny weed that only has a few thorns like a rose bush. This was the type that was covered top to bottom with skinny, hairy thorns that get into your skin and are invisible so it’s real hard to get them out.  All the thorns were in the top of her fingers, from her knuckles to the nail. She stopped weeding for a while and tried to pick them out, but a lot were just stuck…and sting-y.

After finishing weeding in the backyard, she went to help Uncle Keith pick Husk Cherries, a sweet little fruit that falls to the ground when it’s ripe. It’s one of Aunt Jenn’s favorites. Uncle Keith went into the basement to grab his leaf blower while Aunt Jenn stayed outside, picking the little husk-covered fruits from the ground and putting them in her bowl. Bending and picking, bending and picking. Reaching down with her right hand to get a particularly large morsel, she felt the electric-jolt and sharp stabby pain that can only be described as…what do you think she felt? That’s right? A bee sting.

She didn’t see what it was, but she knew…OWIE OWIE OWIE, oh oh OWIE OWIE OWIE! was all she could say. She didn’t cry, she’s a trooper, but she did make a LOT of noise and then ran inside to get Uncle Keith.

Aunt Jenn: Keith! KEITH!

Uncle Keith (from the basement): What?


UK: Okay

AJ: Oh, oh, oh, owie owie owie, oh (while using her thorny and now rashy left hand to get baking soda out of the cabinet).

She mixed the baking soda together with some water to make a paste, like she knows you’re supposed to do, and packed it on top of the sting, which, by this time, was just a little white lump with a small hole in the middle, right on top of her right ring finger.

UK: You ok?

AJ: Owie. Owie, it stings, I didn’t see it. I just reached down and it got me. Oh, owie. (Really, “Owie” was the word.)

UK: Are you allergic, do you need to go to the hospital?

AJ: I don’t know, the last time I got stung was by a lot of them, so I ended up in the hospital with a weird reaction, so I always thought I was allergic, but I don’t know if I’m allergic, what if I’m allergic, what’ll happen I’m probably not allergic, oh owie maybe I should take some benadryl, do we have benadryl, yeah, I’ll take some benadry owie I can’t believe I got stung, I’ve done so well avoiding bees, I can’t believe it oh, owie, god it hurts, what the hell? owie where’s the benadryl, didn’t we buy some for Daisy in case she got stung I can’t find it, have you seen it I thought it was in Daisy’s drawer, but I don’t see it owie, god, it’s throbbing.

UK: Did you see a stinger?

AJ: Oh, I don’t know (looks) nope, no stinger, just a hole look at it (she makes Uncle Keith look at it) he left a freeking hole in me owie, ow ow, dammit it hurts WHERE’S THE GODDAMN BENADRYL?!?

UK (calmly): I’m not sure if we have some, do you want me to get you some?

AJ: No I’m fine, I’ll just put some more baking soda on it. Owie, ow, crap it stings.

UK: Are you sure you don’t want to go to the hospital?

AJ: No, but if my throat closes up, I’ll be PISSED. Ok, I have more baking soda on it, I have to sit down.

UK: Jenn, don’t panic, you’ll be fne.

AJ: It’s been forever since I’ve been stung, I can’t believe I got stung owie, it still hurts, what the hell?

UK: Well, I’m going to go back outside, I’ll need you to hold the ladder in a little bit, do you mind?

AJ: No, I’ll be fine, I think it’s calming down. Ooh, ow, still stings, but I’ll be fine. Sure I’ll help.

And so kids, that’s the story of Aunt Jenn’s first bee sting in over 25 years. What do you think? Do you think your Aunt Jenn wore her gloves after that? That’s right. She sure did. Ok, nighty night, don’t let the bed bugs bite.

Ed note: It still hurts.

My hot pepper haiku…ahem…

Spicy hot peppers

Must be careful when picking

Lest you touch your nose

I did that this morning. I picked all the ripe hot peppers and then wiped the tiniest drip coming from my nose in the chilly morning. Oh the sting. It’s been close to 2 hours and it won’t stop. I’ve heard that bread or milk helps get rid of hot pepper burn in your mouth, I’m wondering if I should snuff up some unsalted butter (we’re out of milk, hey, that’s dairy, right?) or just stuff a crouton up there (alas, no bread, the cupboard is bare.) I kept using a paper towel with cool water to wipe it, but it wasn’t helping and, quite honestly, making it drip more. So then I thought, “Maybe the snot is trying to help. Just leave it and it’ll flush out.” So now I’m sort of catching the snot drips with the wet paper towel and trying to not get snot on the computer. I live such a glamorous life, c’mon, who wants to switch places? (If you do, please bring bread, milk and tissues when you come over. We’re out.)

 During this adventure of learning how to farm and documenting it online, I’ve had to learn how to photograph food. I’ve experimented with 2 digital cameras – neither I know how to use very well (instructions? We don’t need no stinking instructions!) I’ve taken pictures of the veggies in the ground, in pots, I’ve put them on plates, platters, in bowls, on the counter, my hand, all in an effort to “capture the moment.”

This morning, I picked hot peppers. Many hot peppers. Here they are on the counter. The orange ones are called Bulgarian Carrot. According to Local Harvest these are an heirloom variety of pepper, open pollenated from Bulgaria. The fluorescent orange, carrot-shaped fruits have an excellent flavor – hot and fruity. They are not for the meek, about a 7 on a 10 scale.  Apparently, they’re perfect for chutneys and salsas and grow well in the North.  

The red ones are Indian Pepper PC-1. Again, thanks Local Harvest, these are also called Naga Jolokia.  The PC-1 has a different flavor profile which makes it a perfect addition to a variety of cooking styles. Great used with Mexican, Thai, Oriental or Indian dishes. The PC1- is a very tasty and versatile pepper. This is a must have pepper for your collection. C. annuum. 90 days. Said to be one of the world’s hottest peppers, from India ranging apr 100,000 scovilles. The plant bears orange-red peppers, 2″ long by 1/2″ wide, growing horizontally on the plant. (DaisyPatch  note: they didn’t grow horozontally, they grew straight up.)

Here’s my attempt at getting artsy-fartsy with my photography. I’m such a hack.

I can give you my opinion of these peppers because I have such a tuned palate. First, the Bulgarian Carrot: I have no idea. Now, the PC-1: Beats me.

As my nose continues to drip and burn, I am easily reminded WHY I have no idea what these peppers taste like. I don’t like painful food. Keith could happily crunch these hot peppers raw without shedding a tear. The fridge door is dedicated to the hot sauces that, not only does he know the difference between, he actually uses on his food and sometimes on mine. At the beginning of our cohabitation, I always took the first taste of dinner with quite a bit of trepidation until he figured out which heat levels I would like (somewhere between “NONE” and “NONE.”)  As the years went by, something happened to my taste buds. They got more used to spice.  I still won’t side-dress with a splash from the bottle of, “Da Bomb Beyond Insanity sauce” (you know the one, it has the nuclear symbol on the side? That one.) but do not mind a bit of heat from time to time. His Jamaican Jerk Chicken is incredible, for instance.

Anyway, back to photography, I’m starting to get the hang of it. What you don’t see is the behind the scenes propping that takes place to get the pictures perfect. So, I thought I’d take you behind the scenes of Daisy Patch Farm Photography to show you my painstaking process of artfully arranging the food items and capturing edible still life.


Click the picture