We had an exceptionally hot year this year resulting in far more peppers than we have ever grown before. In preparation for the snow storm we had to harvest all the peppers early since we knew the plants would not survive. The good news is most peppers continue to ripen after they are pulled. This bushel of peppers are called Lipstick peppers. They are a brilliant red when fully ripened and are much sweeter then the standard bell peppers.
These peppers are still edible when they are green. They taste just like a green bell pepper. As the green peppers ripen they can change multiple shades of yellow, orange and red. The longer you wait the more red they become, and the sweeter they are. Keeping them in a cool environment that is warmer than a refrigerator but cooler than standard room temperature will keep their texture longer.
We also grew our personal favorite, sweet banana peppers. They do not ripen off the plant as well as the Lipstick peppers but we successfully managed to save a number of these peppers as well.
The best part of this story is we successfully ate fresh peppers into late October even after a September snow!
Everyone who has come to the farm always asks the same question. “What the heck is that?” as they point to the pictured pepper.
Something we were introduced to down south was the banana pepper. It was hot but not really hot, tasted great pickled and was added to just about any meal. Our favorite was when it was added to a calzone. Had a Mediterranean feel to it.
We decided to try and grow them ourselves as we had luck growing jalapenos in the past. It was a unique item so wasn’t readily available from your standard seed catalog. We found it through a selective tomato seed company and they referred to it as an heirloom pepper. Being a big fan of heirloom tomatoes, we were thrilled to try this pepper.
Sometimes the best things come from a mistake. Something I didn’t look at closely was the style of pepper this banana pepper was. It was a SWEET version of the pepper. Not the hot pepper. We fell in love with it. It was so versatile. We added slices to salads, omelets, pizza, spaghetti sauce, to home fries and stir fried with garlic and onion, and poured over pasta. It’s a new staple for us.
The most difficult thing about banana peppers is knowing when they are ripe. Deciding when the green color is now more yellow can be challenging, and if you get it wrong you end up with a bitter flavor. This pepper starts off green, turns yellow, then orange and eventually red. Although yellow is considered the ripe color you can eat them at any stage. The pepper taste just becomes stronger the redder it gets. Even a little heat starts when it’s red. We pull the peppers when they are the most yellow without turning orange. This pepper also continues to ripen on the shelf so if you want to have an orange pepper you set your yellow pepper out and it will eventually change color.
If you are one of our customers you should try the banana peppers. I guarantee you will like them.