Last week, I threw out a partial bag of frozen bell peppers and another of jalapenos. Salmonella scare? Freezer meltdown? Sudden development of pepper allergies? Nope. Once again, I have enough peppers in my garden to keep us in peppers for three or four years. At least. And we haven’t even hit the second crop yet.
I’ve already made pepper jelly. Love no longer eats pickled jalapenos, so there’s no point in that. I’ve begun freezing and will freeze enough to keep us through the year, although I always overestimate – must start keeping better notes. I have uncovered a pepper relish recipe that I’m hoping will use up part of the glut. Perhaps I can unload some on my brother when he visits Labor Day weekend.
Why do I do this every year? Those plants are so pretty in the spring, and one just doesn’t seem like enough. And honestly, I have gotten better. This year, I have only jalapenos, orange bells, chocolate bells, and green bells. There was a year when I had 24 pepper plants – jalapenos, a rainbow of bells, habaneras, bananas, chilies, pablanos. I pickled. I jellied. I froze. I dried. I made pepper sauce and pepper oil and pepper vinegar. A friend’s daughter won her elementary school’s jack-o-lantern decorating contest after I gave her a Wal-Mart bag full of peppers in my desperate attempts to get rid of them. Frost came with peppers still on the bushes. Never again, I swore.
But then there is that neat wreath design I found this summer in a library book -- perhaps just a few more chili pepper plants next year might be just the ticket.