Saturday, August 11, 2012

Pick a Peck of Peppers – August 11, 2012

We have had a great pepper year with the early summer and hot days.  We are growing both bell and Italian Sweet Peppers (they are a lot like banana peppers but have a thicker skin and are a bit more stubby).  We didn’t think to get hot pepper seeds this year, so we have had to buy them for recipes including canning. 

There are tons of meaty stuffed pepper recipes that to me feel very much like a perfect winter meal filled with ground meat, but when harvesting peppers in the summer, my favorite recipe is the one below.  You can make this same recipe and wrap the peppers in bacon before cooking, but I like it as a vegetarian side dish.  The strength of this recipe is that it uses all the things you or your local farmer is harvesting right now including peppers, tomatoes, onions and corn.  We made them on Saturday and took to book club!

Stuffed Meatless Peppers
This recipe is great with thinner peppers like banana or Italian peppers, but also works with ripe bell peppers.

2-3 tomatoes (skinned and chopped)               
1 chopped shallot or ¼ chopped onion
1 chopped red bell pepper                               
1 c. grated cheese (Asiago, cheddar or other)
1 chopped Jalapeno pepper                             
1 T. of your favorite seasoning
2 T. sweet tomato or pepper relish                   
corn removed from 1 ear of corn
approximately 6-8 peppers (seeded)                
6-8 pieces bacon (optional)

Sauté shallot, tomatoes and red pepper in olive oil.  Mix with cheese, jalapeno, seasoning, relish and corn.  Season with salt and pepper if desired.  Put stuffing in peppers and bake in baking pan in oven for 30 minutes to 1 hour.  You can bake these wrapped in bacon if you wish.

With so many peppers, I needed another way to use them up.  Peppers are actually easy to freeze.  You just cut out the seeds and stem and chop them up and place in the freezer in bags.  They will no longer have the crunch of the fresh pepper when defrosted, but they are great for sauces and stews. 

But, I decided to make hot pepper jelly.  I love this reminder of the Deep South where I was born.  In the winter, you just dump the jelly on cream cheese and eat with crackers.  This is another recipe that you don’t have to worry about because it’s included in the box of pectin you buy at the grocery.

Hot Pepper Jelly

1 ½ cups red peppers, seeded and finely chopped 2
1 ½ cups green peppers, seeded and finely chopped
1 cup jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely chopped
1 cup cider vinegar
1 pkg.  SURE-JELL Fruit Pectin
½ tsp.  butter

5 cups sugar


Place peppers in saucepan and add vinegar. Stir in pectin. Add butter to reduce foaming. Bring mixture to rolling boil on high, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar. Return to boil and boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with metal spoon.
Ladle immediately into prepared jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops. Screw lids on tightly. Boil jars in water for 10 minutes to seal. 

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