These were “seconds” from a local farmerâ€”the slightly overripe or funny-shaped peppers he can’t sell to restaurants. At $6 a peck, they were absolutely worth it. But patient? No.
These peppers were really, really ripe. And that means really, really sweet. But it also means we had to drop everything to process them right away. And considering we had quite a few other harvest tasks to get to (cucumbers that needed pickling, beer that needed bottling, corn that needed shelling), that was a bit of a pain.
First we had to clean them. Rinse, cut out the bad spots, repeat. Many, many, many times. The boy was grumbling: “Are we really going to need so many roasted peppers this winter?”
After they were all cleaned, it was roasting time. We did some outside on our little grill and some in the oven under the broiler. They need to be nice and blistered and black so the skin will come off after a bit of steaming. (Put them in a closed pot to cool and they’ll slowly steam themselves.)
The next morning, peeling. This is a sticky business. You need a bowl for peppers, a bowl for peels, and a bowl of water for rinsing your hands. Careful not to waste the tasty “liquor” at the bottom of the steaming pot. (Some people peel outside because of the mess, but we live on a farm, so flies are a problem. I just resigned myself to mopping the kitchen floor.)
Part way through peeling, the boy tasted a bit of pepper. Wide eyes. “Oh, wow.” No more complaining from him.
The flavor really is amazing. So much better than any roasted peppers you can buy in a jar. Intensely sweet and bright and peppery.
We put ours in quart jars, destined for our new chest freezer. (You could pressure can them, but that’s a pain, and I don’t have a pressure cooker big enough for quart jars. You can also keep them in the fridge for quite a while if you make sure the tops of the peppers are always covered in olive oil.) We got about twelve quarts, not counting all the ones we’ve eaten in the past few days.
(Goat burgers with roasted peppers and zucchini relish? So good.)