There was frost in the fields this morning and the pepper plants were definitely frozen. I am hoping that the frost is light enough that they survive with little damage and this post will not be accurate! There are so many beautiful hot peppers still out in the field! It is a great time to preserve them. This weekend I lacto fermented them whole for the first time (see recipe below) and I am hoping to make hot sauce this week. The cool weather will slow the summer crops and their time is coming to an end shortly. Capturing a bit of the taste of summer for the cooler months ahead is worth the work.
We began the harvest of the storage carrots and potatoes yesterday. The carrots look beautiful, straight and delicious with little disease. The potatoes unfortunately are not as lovely. We discarded many in the fields and had low yields. It is difficult when a crop does not do well and a million questions fill my head of what I can do differently. I think I have a sense of plan for next year, but in the meantime we will have less potatoes this winter.
The carving pumpkins and gourds are on display outside and inside the barn this week! The striped carving pumpkins have hulless seeds, also known as pepitas, that are delicious!
This week’s pick list:
Parsley, Cilantro, Dill
Dried tea herbs (plus fresh in the pick your own!)
Dried ground peppers
Lacto-Fermented Whole Chili Peppers, from brewedandbrinedblog.com
24 oz | 680g fresh chili peppers (single variety or mixed)
32 oz | 946ml filtered/dechlorinated water
0.8 oz | 23g kosher sea salt
64 oz | 1.89 l mason type jar with lid
rinse the chili peppers under cool water and allow to partially air dry.
meanwhile, make a 2.5%* salt water brine by combining the water and salt in a large jar or measuring cup. stir periodically until the salt has dissolved completely.
when the chili peppers are mostly dry, slit each pepper slightly and begin placing them in the jar. if using multiple varieties and/or larger chilis, you will need to strategically place them in the jar in order to maximize the space and avoid large gaps.
after the chili peppers have been placed in the jar, pour in enough brine to cover. place the cover loosely on top to allow for carbon dioxide produced by the fermentation process to escape (you don’t want your jar to build up pressure and potentially explode). check the brine level periodically as some of the brine will have filled the voids on the interior of the chili peppers through the slit you made in each chili (you always want the contents to be submerged or what is exposed will rot).
allow the chili peppers to ferment on the counter for 3 - 5 days, or up to 7 days if the ambient temperature is cooler (you will see bubbles forming and the brine will become cloudy). check the brine level daily and test the chilis at day 3 if the ambient room temperature is extremely warm as you don’t want the chili peppers to over ferment and get mushy.
when the chili peppers have fermented to your liking, cover tightly and place in the refrigerator to slow down fermentation (giving them more time to develop flavor). be sure to check the brine level over the next couple of days as it tends to lower as the chiles take on more of the liquid.
eat chili peppers straight out of the jar or with something like a sandwich, use for cooking in place of fresh chili peppers, or turn into hot sauce. enjoy!
*brine concentration formula: amount of liquid (oz | ml) x desired % brine = required salt (oz | g) e.g. 32 oz | 946 ml water x 0.025 brine = 0.8 oz | 23g salt
Another Preserved Chili Pepper recipe from CSA members:
slice (seeds in)
5 hours salt
5 hours distilled white vinegar
pack into jars
80/20 olive/high heat oil
pour hot oil into jars and put on lid
These peppers keep for 6 months in the fridge!