Saturday, August 25, 2012

Spicing up your life

Did you know that there are over 1000 varieties of pepper?  A typical grocery store may carry a few such as the sweet bell pepper or Jalapeno chili but that doesn't begin to scratch the surface of the flavors and varieties out there. 
Most people don't realize that many of the peppers we enjoy today originated from South America.  We take for granted those wonderful little surprises that make many of the southeast Asia dishes so tasty.  As peppers come into season, you can enjoy them fresh, pickled, dried, roasted, or even frozen for later use.
Some people say that they don't like peppers because they are too spicy.  With over a thousand to choose from, the favors are as varied as the peppers themselves.  The Poblano pepper for example adds a rich spiciness to your dish.  Just a word of warning: the heat can vary from pepper to pepper on the same plant.  Additionally when allowed to red ripen and then dried, the Poblano becomes the chile ancho a popular addition to many Mexican and Central American dishes.

Another popular chili is the Banana pepper.  These are available in both a sweet and hot variety.  We enjoy these pickled as a bright side dish or garnish to our summer picnic table.   One of our favorites is the Cherry Bomb pepper.  These can be amazingly hot.  About  the size of a golf ball, these can be stuffed with cheese or prosciutto to make Poppers that your guests will always remember!

So seek out new varieties of the season's peppers and enjoy the spicy side of life!

For further reading and other fun:

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