Sunday, August 30, 2009

Pepper Sickness?

Mr. Stripey wasn't the only thing that suffered in the garden. I had some nice peppers finally develop out there as well. I didn't show you much of them. It took forever for them to grow, and I mean FOREVER. Maybe next year I will plant the bell pepper plants over by where I have that crazy jalapeno planted.

(POP QUIZ: how many different things can you put jalapenos in? Homemade salsa, tuna salad, tacos, chickpea salad, potato salad, tortilla soup, chicken enchilada casserole . . . and now I am drawing a blank. A little help here? comment section below.)

The peppers refused and refused to grow- i complained about it at length here, such as in this post entitled "My Little Peppers and How They Grow." The photos in that post were so cute and tiny as the bell peppers began their journey toward adulthood:

They quickly grew to a large size but hovered in their green state for weeks upon weeks

Now, one plant was an orange bell pepper plant, and therefore should have turned orange, and the other plant was a red bell pepper plant. So, I knew when they were ripe they would turn colors, then I could pick and eat them. Meanwhile, I was preoccupied with Mr. Stripey, the death of zucchini, the confounded beans which never really produced, and the sugar snap peas which sort of but never really gave me anything. (I did get about seven pea pods and we ate them in a yummy salad! I WISH i had gotten tons of those peas!)

But, finally, one day, color appeared:

This color appeared after a couple of days of rain, which suggests that perhaps the peppers needed a bit more water in order to really ripen and move the process along.

Unfortunately, after this, I didn't get a photo for a couple of days because I was out of town. When I came back in town, however, they were BRIGHT orange and red and ready to pick. They had slight abnormalities on their skins but no big deal, right?

So, I picked them and prepared to use them in dishes. First, I picked the red pepper. It wasn't totally red but as soon as I touched it, it fell off of the plant. It had a bit of brownish/green at the bottom. I left it on the counter, thinking it would finish ripening. It didn't. It turned mushy. That was a disappointment. Disappointment No. 1, as it turned out.

Disappointment No. 2, as it turned out, was this:

The "abnormalities" on the skin of the orange pepper, after it was left on my counter for a day or two, got worse and worse and worse, until it ended up looking like this! Now, what the hell is this all about? Should I have washed it with antibacterial soap as soon as I brought it in? Is this caused by bacteria or by insects or what? THey are just, spots that sort of sunk into the pepper itself. I really, really don't get it. I never used any pesticides or chemicals in the garden. I'm trying to eat fresh and get free food here, darnit!

I carved off the unusable portions, just like I did with the tomatoes, and got some usable parts diced up.

And . .. i ended up adding it to a chickpea salad, and it was fresh and tasty. The above shots are what the inside of the pepper looked like. I am just at a loss as to what is the deal with the produce from the garden. Something similar happened to the last zucchini we brought in, before the zucchini plants died. It had a little break in the skin, and we left it in the fruit basket, and two days later - the entire zucchini had sunken in on itself like it had a worm or something. Yuck.

I bring produce home from the supermarket all the time and leave it out on the counter . . . should I be putting my veggies in the fridge or something? Not the tomatoes, surely . . . but they are having problems too! Help! thanks.



I've used the stuffed jalepeno recipe for Pioneer Woman using my seranjos. It's really EZ.

I make a ton and keep them in the fridge. My husband eats them like peanuts.

Caution: use rubber gloves.

Siren said...

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!

Sally said...

Maybe you can use the jalapenos in a stir fry? we used to grow spicy peppers, I can't remember which variety. We'd dry them out and put maybe half of one in a stir fry. They varied so much in spiciness it was a crap shoot.

I have never seen spots like that on a pepper. I might leave a tomato out on the sill for a day to ripen more, but I'm sort of a wimp--everything else goes in the fridge.

Anonymous said...

What a bummer about your peppers! I think you might have some sort of pepper maggot. There are also some kinds of bugs that lay eggs on the fruit and create such spots. So sorry! Check out this link:

As for your jalapenos, I'd go for Maybelline's recommendation, SO good!

I use them in homemade phad thai, pad kee mao, throw them under a broiler, peel the skin and slice them lenghtwise to go in tacos, use them in rice & cheese casserole, etc etc :) I love jalapenos, especially homegrown!

Bridget Jaffin said...

Now that winter is right around the corner how about some spicy chili? I'm so jealous your garden looks amazing. Our purple heirloom tomatoes got spots too.