Pepper Garden

I'm in trouble. We've run out of peppers.

The peppers I'd put up in the freezer are gone and the Happy Girl Kitchen is out of their Wildly Spicy Pickled Peppers. "They'll be back in August," the Happy Girl man said. I felt woozey.

He didn't understand I needed peppers now and his Mildly Spicy Pickled Peppers didn't count. The six varieties of dried peppers and chili flakes in the cupboard don't count either. How could I have let this happen.

This is my latest observation on eating seasonally. While it's a practice of being present in the current season, appreciating and using the available harvests, it's also necessary to keep one eye looking back and another looking forward. That is if there's a food like peppers, which I'm not sure I can live without.

I let my attention get out of balance though. A few hot days fooled me into a false season where peppers are a market away. The reality is they are a lot of markets away. I should have made the peppers in the freezer last longer.

And in the present I didn't think to ask the Happy Girls if they would run out of spicy peppers. I'm used to endless supply. Anytime I want it. Twenty four hours a day. I could still go to the grocery store and buy peppers from another part of the world but I know I won't.

Looking forward however, I'm in good shape (knock wood). I've planted ten pepper plants in terracotta pots on the back deck; three padrons, two jalapenos, three serrano and two cayenne.

That should get us through the summer. With time to make a plan for putting up peppers for next winter and all those false summer days of spring too.


Green Bean said...

I had the same experience with pasta sauce that I made and froze. Our homemade jam has just lasted. We are running out now as strawberries are bursting into season. Tomatoes, though, are many months away. How will I survive? Well, I've been reduced to buying local pasta sauce for our pizza nights but, next year, I won't make that mistake again!

Oh, and the winter squash puree, yeah, I've still got jars of that falling out of the freezer every time I ease the door open. Perhaps a little less this year.

Lucy said...

I have remembered, too late in our topsy turvy season, I'm afraid, that I did not chop up piles of garlic when it was abundant and cheap in summer. The shoots are bitter and green, the garlic pungent and beyond the task now...cannot believe that I forgot.

August isn't far. And your plantings may go mad in the meantime.

Connie said...

I still long for the bushes of basil we used to get. I didn't realized what the big deal of basil was - planted it and turned into bushes until I realized it was a quark of our climate.

Peppers- phew too hot for me! lol.

Donna said...

You make me smile. :) I ran out of peppers a couple months ago, but I thought I could live without them for a month or two if I had to. Then, last Saturday I noticed that the farmers' market booth with the pepper roaster (last summer) is currently selling pepper seedlings. It's going to be a long wait.

Kale for Sale said...

green bean - Too funny. You're the one that inspired me to cook and freeze the last of the winter squash and I'm actually looking forward to having it once the peppers are in season - squash burritos with beans and sauteed onions. And salsa. You might like it.

lucy - I hope they go mad. After two days in their pots they are still quite tame.

verde - I took it for granted you were a pepper girl with a name like verde but I realize now that verde only refers to the chile and is not the chile itself. We love chile verde.

Where did you grow bushes of basil with the quarky climate?

donna - Yes, a long wait - but worth it.

I got the seedlings at the farmers' market too and I love the extra sense of place it adds to the plants and the story they already have just in the buying of them.

Connie said...

We used to live in Moab, UT. It is very sandy there and terribly hot in the summer. The wind would blow red dunes of sand against our fences and when the wind blew on a hot day it would blow burning hot sand onto our skin.

The basil loved it as long as they were well watered.

Chile said...

What timing! Just yesterday at the CSA, I snagged an extra couple of onions out of the surplus basket. I mentioned to a friend standing near that I'd learned to stretch my onions because I really didn't want to have to buy them in the store. I like onions in everything (ok, not breakfast oatmeal...) so it's been an adjustment to use a little bit of chopped onion instead of the usual entire onion.

I do, however, still have peppers in the freezer. Want some?

Kale for Sale said...

verde - I guess with a bit of water and intention you can grow food anywhere. Thanks for the answer.

chile - I knew I could depend on you to understand about the peppers. I could trade you onions for those peppers you have in the freezer.

Anonymous said...

The freezer in my tiny apartment is correspondingly miniscule (think mini-fridge), so I don't freeze anything from the summer for winter use. However, I have started pickling and making preserves in an effort to capture the best tastes of the season - so far, so good!

Also, the Happy Girl peppers you mentioned are SO good!

Kale for Sale said...

Jen - I'm inspired. If you can pickle and preserve in your tiny kitchen I should certainly be able to in my small one.

I'm glad to see another Happy Girl fan. I recently bought their horseradish. It was the closest thing to peppers but honestly I've yet to open the jar.