Habaneros Everywhere!


The theme this week is habaneros - we planted 2 habanero plants in the hoophouse this spring, and I forgot just how prolific they are.  We are harvesting at least 15 peppers every two days, and that really piles up!  I canned over 3 dozen jars early this week, and another 1.5 dozen this week.  We'll easily have a year or two's-worth of hot sauce :)  I don't actually like really hot food, but habaneros are just so beautiful, I love growing them simply for the color!  I only do it every few years...

I went hunting for recipes, and found that most habanero hot sauce recipes are a carrot version, and most carrot-habanero hot sauce recipes are about the same - with one exception.  I ran across a blog, nakedcuisine.com, that had the usual recipe, but with Caribbean spices added.  That seemed like it would complement the fruitiness of the habanero quite nicely, so I made a batch of that (well, a triple batch, what's the point of small batches when I'm trying to use up oodles of something?!).  We love it!  It is, of course, very hot, but I subbed half the habanero peppers with red chili peppers, which cut the fire a bit, and the flavor of the jerk-style Caribbean seasonings really comes through.  It is delicious stirred into grits, or on eggs, or mixed into mild salsa to give it a bit of a kick - any number of uses!

  I also made a (triple) batch of plain carrot-habanero hot sauce (Rick Bayless' version or the like is a good example if you're curious), the full-habanero version.  We haven't really tried this one, but I'm sure it's good, without the extra flavors - good for when you just want the heat, and habanero flavor without any competing spices.  It is a striking orange color, just beautiful!

Ok, I mentioned last time that I'd say more about the Piggly Wiggly's cheap mangoes - well, here it is.  I found a recipe for mango-habanero BBQ sauce, and it is incredible!  I used half mango, half peach since they are also in season and really delicious right now.  Unfortunately (if, like me, the whole point is to use them up), the recipe only calls for 1 habanero, but that was perfect for medium-hot (or hot if you don't like spicy things).  Also, I made a quintuple batch so that helped :)  It is so, so good!  It's nicely sweet, between the fruit, and some pineapple juice (I can't find good mango juice around here), and a bit of honey, but not too sweet at all - since it is actually a BBQ sauce, it has the typical tomato sauce, Worcestershire, mustard, vinegar, etc. that keeps it from being a jam or chutney.  So far, I think we've had some with almost every meal since I made it, and already had to break into a second jar!  I'll be making another 5-6x batch later this week...

The last peppery thing I made was some mango-peach jam, with a habanero in it.  I have decided that peach jam is my favorite, especially when it is half mango, and the touch of pepper is just the kiss of perfection!  It's good just straight on toast or a bagel, but would also be amazing on cheese and crackers, cheesecake, grilled cheese, anything involving a good, white cheese, really :).  I'll definitely be making another batch of this, too!

Otherwise, in the food preparation world here, I also canned almost a dozen jars of green bean pickle relish, and froze a dozen 1.5 lb bags of green beans as well - they're still producing well, can't you tell?  I think we're picking between 10 and 15 lbs every 3 days or so.  Fortunately, we're selling (or eating) most of them, but they had finally backed up a little too much, and I had to do something about it.  Liam was a huge help with the blanching process, and Malachi was great at entertaining Ewan elsewhere so I wasn't dealing with boiling water and steam, with a wailing baby wrapped around my ankles!  They can be so helpful when they want to be...


Good good news

The mango sauce sounds good, love mangos in almost anything.

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