While it seems like I have talked much about peppers, this year, you have to understand there is a reason: 2017 turned out ot be the year of the pepper. 2015 and 2016, I had some peppers, but they were not incredibly productive. 2017, however, had the perfect weather conditions, length of growing season, and water to produce a wonderful crop of the most lucious peppers I have had the opportunity to grow. Both sweet and hot peppers thrived, and I was able to grow far more than my family, personally need.
I only grew one plant of cayenne peppers, but it was abundant. Since I like to use a little cayenne in my hot sauces, barbeque sauces, and salsas, I was grateful for the shiny, red beauties. I also dried a string of cayenne to dry for hot pepper flakes for my son to use on his pizza (one of his favorites) and enough of the ground cayenne pepper spice to use in my cooking for the year.
In Indiana, it seems that hot peppers start producing late in the season, and it helps when the growing season is a little longer. The first hard frost didn’t occur until a month and a half later in the year than it usually does, so the weather afforded me a little longer to grow and pick my hot peppers. If I had a greenhouse or a cold frame, I may have been able to grow my cayenne plant well into February.
Cayenne wasn’t the only pepper to do well in 2017, but it is one of my favorites. This Winter I will tell you about my Poblano peppers (also called Ancho Chilis) and provide a wonderful recipe for Poblano Pepper Soup that my friend, Janet, brought with her when she moved from Texas to Indiana.
If you decide to work with cayenne peppers, please remember to wear gloves when you break, cut, or string them. The capsasin is fairly strong and can burn your skin, mucous membranes, and eyes. I always act on the side of safety when I use them.
It is time to start dreaming about planting peppers in 2018. In the meantime, I am happy to report that this cold, windy winter will be heated up by an abundance of beautiful red cayenne peppers from my one, little Indiana pepper plant. Bring on the Chili, boys!