Peppers to Keep You Warm and a 30-Minute Chili Recipe


Drying and Roasting Peppers

While I’ve never tried that old foot-warmer recipe of adding hot chili powder to my shoes, I can attest to the heat some peppers can rub off on us. I found this out the hard way a couple of decades ago.

I grew some jalapenos next to my sweet bell peppers. I’d been improperly informed that they wouldn’t cross-pollinate. The truth hit my bare hands when I was chopping a tainted green bell for some fresh salsa and ended up with my hands burning until the next morning. Suffice it to say, I have not repeated that particular mistake. My sweet peppers are now always grown some distance from any containing heat.

I have friends and relatives who swear their appetite for hot peppers keeps them healthy. They insist no germ in its right mind will reside in the same body as one cleansed with heat. While I’m not sure there is science to back this up, I do vividly remember my dad downing a bowl of jalapenos every time we went out for Mexican food. I also remember him turning bright red with sweat beading up on his forehead every single time.

I remain unconvinced that I would enjoy such an experience. For me, eating is for pleasure and savoring taste sensations. I also believe our shared healthy constitutions are more due to strong genes, not necessarily his consumption of jalapenos.

Because I love to taste the textures and flavors of my food, I tend to walk away from the heat of peppers that obliterate everything else in the dish. This preference for steering clear of spicy heat is what made our youngest ask me throughout this past season why I grew several varieties of hot pepper that I refused to try. Laughingly, I explained that it was to see if I could. I also like the challenge of figuring out what to do with them once harvested.

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