Feel the Burn

I had kind of an involved, downer of a post for tonight, about the lengths we’ll go to as a nation to avoid sacrifice or discomfort. There is virtue to be found in a some self-sacrifice, a little pain, and I may yet write that post — but as a light-hearted lead-in perhaps, tonight I share these:

There is a chance tonight (however slight) for frost, and a chance tomorrow (however slight) that I may do some fall cleaning around the yard, deck and shed. So I went out to the pepper pots tonight and plucked countless ripe (pictured) and ripening chiles.

Smoky yellow habaneros, plump green jalapenos, cayennes like lean red flames and serranos like green firecrackers, some turning red. Beautiful aren’t they?

I’ve done a little digging online to find a way, better than freezing and short of canning, to preserve them more or less intact. I’ve seen some interesting ideas involving vinegar and olive oil — but if you have suggestions, do share! (I also have a recipe for jalapeno chili vodka that I may have to try.)

The kids were amazed that the jalapenos are the mildest of the bunch — and that the habs are as much as 60 times hotter, chemically speaking. Why grow ’em? The sweet, smoky taste they impart is critical to a good batch of Old Lamplighter.*

See what I mean? Good things come from a little pain and suffering.

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*Old Lamplighter is my best hot chili recipe. Permission to brag: It actually won a chili contest at my old job: took Best Overall and tied for Best Heat. (Of course, there was some controversy because the contest was my idea — but the ballots were cast secretly and verified independently.) I make thick, mild stuff for the little kids — Good Dog Chili-Dog Chili. Bren and Jodi mix ’em to get the temp just right for them …

Summer Vacation, Day 48: Greenish …

Scrawny chili pepper plants with no buds. Bushy little tomato plants with lots of green, but midget, romas. Bean plants, but no beans. Cucumbers just starting to bud. No sunflowers to speak of. Everything’s struggling a bit this year. The spring was cold, and I started late, but still – hope we get some veggies soon!

Summer Vacation, Day 12: Chilis and Parade

We spent the morning sleeping, eating, and planting tomatoes, cucumbers, and chili peppers (jalapeno, serrano, cayenne and habanero). We caught the Albertville Friendly Days parade in the afternoon. Typical small-town parade, but not especially well-paced, so I brought Slaughterhouse-Five along for the gaps. Nice to be reading a book that fits in your pocket.

Still a stroke of work to do tonight, so I’m gonna hold on the Gatsby observations. I write better in the morning, anyway …