This season, you’ll find 3 different types of hot peppers appearing in your boxes:
Wax: Scoville rating between 1,000 and 15,000. Tastes great atop salad or pizza or as a pickle.
Jalapeño: named for the town of Xalapan Veracruz, Mexico, this iconic pepper can rates between 2,500 and 10,000 on the Scoville scale. The Spanish invaders found Aztecs selling them at market.
Habanero: meaning “from Havana,” rates between 100,000 and 350,000 on the Scoville scale. In Peru, archeologists discovered a habañero from 6500 BC. By the 18th century, the pepper had traveled so far that taxonomists mistook it for a Chinese pepper and named it Capsicum Chinense.
Scoville Heat Units are a way of measuring how hot a pepper is. After bell peppers, wax peppers are the most mild peppers you’re receiving this week, and habaneros are the most spicy (wear gloves or wash hands thoroughly after preparing).
All of these peppers would be great in salsa (use a food processor to pulse-blend tomatoes, peppers, onion, etc., to desired texture), stir fry, etc.
Peppers can also be hung to dry for later use, or preserved via canning. A few weeks back, we posted a simple hot sauce recipe. Patrick (one of our interns) has modified this recipe and has been canning hot sauces for use/gifts during winter.
1 – Put the following into a food processor:
- 3-5 fresh hot peppers, stems removed (leave seeds in)
- (1-2 Habanero peppers and an extra tomato would likely be plenty of heat)
- 3 or 4 garlic cloves, skins removed -or- 1 tomato, cut to remove stem
- 1 medium onion, cut in chunks
- Pulse-blend until this is coarsely chopped
2 – Coat a medium saucepan with 1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil and empty the contents of the food processor into it. Sauté the mixture in the skillet for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3 – Add 1 cup of your favorite vinegar (white vinegar has a high acidity great for water bath canning) and continue cooking for 10 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt while mixture cooks.
4 – Blend (an immersion blender works great) until everything is completely pulverized. Continue cooking for another 15-20 minutes. The sauce will thicken, so if you prefer a thinner hot sauce, add more vinegar as desired)
5 – While your sauce is on its last round on the stove, prepare canning jars. (Ball offers a thorough water bath canning description on their website. I cut some corners in this process, so use your preferred method.) Place jars and new lids in a pot of water (make sure jars are entirely immersed) and bring nearly to a boil.
6 – Carefully remove them when your sauce is ready (still hot), then ladle in the sauce leaving 1/4-1/2 inch room for air at the top, wipe the rim of the jar, and seal the lid. Flipping the jars over may help them seal. Let the jars sit for 12 hours before flipping upright, then check the seals periodically over the next week or two.