Exciting Pepper Varieties and Where to Find Seeds

| 1/11/2018 10:11:00 AM

Tags: garden planning, peppers, vegetable varieties, Texas, Wendy Akin,


It’s that exciting seed catalog time of the year, and all us gardeners are overcome with S.A.D. No, not depression — we all have Seed Acquisition Disorder! You don’t want to go crazy, but it is time to try a few new things.

Here in Texas, we don’t do well with big, beautiful bell peppers — our summer gets too hot for them. If you live where summers are either scorching or the season is too short to ripen bells, or if you just want something new, consider one or more of these non-bell ethnic peppers. Most of these peppers will give enough for a pepper-loving family from just a half dozen plants. These are my favorites.

Shishitos (50 – 60 days from transplant) come quick and plentiful. By July, I can’t keep up with them, picking a bowlful every couple days from 6 plants. We use them as an appetizer, stick them on a burger, in fajitas, tacos, well, just about anywhere. They’re pungent but not hot at all, a small banana shape, a little crinkly. Pick them green, 2 to 3 inches long. The ones that get fat seem to be a little hot.

To prepare shishitos, pour a nice spill of extra virgin olive oil into a skillet. Drop in the peppers and sauté over pretty hot flame, shaking the pan or flipping them. As they start to pop and some color patches appear, they will soften and deflate. Remove the peppers to a bowl as they deflate. I then pour the oil from the pan over them and sprinkle with Fleur de Sel or any high-quality medium flake salt. Of course, they are wonderful cooked on the BBQ in one of those perforated bowls.

I put some up for winter by just quickly sautéing and popping them into freezer bags. Be sure to leave the olive oil in and the shishitos freeze very well for a winter treat.

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