Farewell to the last of the 2021 pepper crop eaten fresh, the “Sweet Apple Green” bell pepper pictured above. This variety from Seeds N Such has become one of our favorites for its sweet flavor, thick walls, and bright chartreuse color. And of all the various pepper varieties grown and stored, the last dozen or so peppers left were all “Sweet Apple Green,” so they appear to be the best keepers. I’m always please with their productivity as well.
Dozens and dozens of peppers were picked just before frost and put in single layers in web flats lined with a single layer of newpaper on the bottom and stored in the garage. Normally the garage is unheated, but there is a small electric heater that comes on if the temperature drops close to freezing, and on nights when the forecast is for single digits or below zero we also leave the ceiling lights on to help. There’s too much produce (all the winter squash, pumpkins, shallots, onions, cipollini, potatoes…not to mention hundreds of jars of canned goods!) to allow any freezing to occur!
Peppers are used as needed, beginning with any showing any spots or damage. Once those are gone, those that begin to wrinkle are used next, and on and on until the final pepper is consumed. Like the final tomato, the final pepper is both celebrated and mourned.
But, do not fear! We will not go pepperless through the rest of the winter, and through the spring “hunger gap” before the pepper plants that are already started in the basement begin producing for there are dozens of packages of diced peppers and pepper strips in the freezer and jars of pickled peppers on the shelves.
The first pepper, an heirloom Fehr Ozon was picked on June 21, the last “fresh” pepper eaten on February 21st, so there were 8 months of fresh peppers from our Zone 5b potager. Not bad, not bad at all! But of course, plans are in the works to make it even better!