Thursday, August 23, 2007

Pickin' Peppers

We went to Rocky Creek Farm to pick peppers today, and it was beautiful. The field next to the pepper rows was in full bloom, a tapestry of purple, lavendar, and white blossoms that filled the air with a scent similar to lilac, but lighter; it is alfalfa that was cut once for hay earlier in the summer and has escaped its second cutting somehow. The pepper plants fill three long rows and come in a dozen varieties from sweet to very hot, from smaller than your pinkie to longer than your hand; my son picked a nice selection to freeze for adding to salsas over the winter. Another idea would be to make a hot sauce out of them.

I spent the time picking tomatillos. I have never seen them on the plant before and didn't expect them here, so I was excited to have a chance to pick them. The tomatillo plant is very similar to a tomato plant, expect that instead of round globes, papery husks like chinese lanterns grow from the branches. According to the CSU Extension Service, the fruit should be picked when it is as large as the husk or when it grows large enough to split the husk; I picked some of them too early. Earlier-picked tomatillos are light green and tart (which suits me), later-picked ones are more yellowish-green and sweeter. I'll use them with some of the peppers to make salsa verde, or maybe try this tomatillo chutney.

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