Pepper

Hola everybody!

Today I want to talk to you about peppers!  Most gardeners have tomatoes and peppers in their gardens, right?  They are staples.  Everybody likes to eat them, everybody likes to grow them, basically everyone likes them.

Peppers are a warm season vegetable.  The plant requires pretty high temperatures, so don’t expect peppers in June!  Peppers can be sweet or spicy.  The most popular peppers are the brightly colored sweet bell peppers. 

If you are going to start from seed, start those puppies in late winter!  They are slow growing.  Wait to transplant them into the garden until after frost.  You may even want to wait until night temperatures are above 50°F.  This will ensure that you won’t lose and precious peppers!

Keep your peppers in a well-drained, nutrient-rich soil. Be sure to keep your peppers well watered.  They need water during the dry season, or they will abort small immature fruits.  Keep them watered but well drained.

You can harvest peppers whenever you want.  If you want smaller peppers, go ahead.  Mature fruit will break easily from the plant, but it is better to cut the fruit off.  If you are growing colored bell peppers, it is best to allow them to mature and color on the plant.  Hot peppers are harvested when mature, red-ripe, however some recipes call for the immature green chiles.

Careful: When handling hot peppers, wear rubber gloves to protect your skin, and never rub your eyes.

If you smoke or use tobacco in any form, be sure to wash your hands before handling the plant, as you could spread tobacco mosaic disease.

Peppers are delicious in almost any form.  Raw, sautéed, grilled, or anything!  Roasted peppers are definitely delicious too.

Here’s a tasty summer recipe from Epicurious.com

Summer Tomato and Bell Pepper Soup Bon Appétit | August 2009

by Jill Dupleix

Ripe summer tomatoes are perfect just as they are. Simply chop them up, mix with jarred peppers and a few other ingredients, and you’ve got dinner. For a vegetarian supper, round out the meal with an assortment of cheeses and crackers. Craving something a little more substantial? A platter of smoked salmon, relishes, and breadsticks would be great with the soup. For dessert, offer figs drizzled with honey.

Yield: Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups tomato juice
1 1/3 cups finely chopped tomatoes (about 11 ounces)
1/2 cup (generous) finely chopped roasted red bell peppers
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon prepared white horseradish
1 garlic clove, pressed
Generous dash of hot pepper sauce
Fine sea salt
4 1/3-inch-thick rounds soft fresh goat cheese
6 grape tomatoes, cut in half
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil
Additional extra-virgin olive oil (for drizzling)

Preparation:

Combine first 8 ingredients in large bowl; whisk to blend. Season soup to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled and flavors blend, at least 2 hours. DO AHEAD: Can be made 6 hours ahead. Keep chilled.

Ladle soup into 4 bowls. Top each with 1 goat cheese round and 3 grape tomato halves. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and basil. Drizzle with oil and serve.

Happy Gardening!
-Adrienne

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