This week I flew to Atlanta with Adrienne Neff to start the whole process of buying for the 2016 Christmas Season. Adrienne makes many of the beautiful works of art you see around our garden center and was coming along to check out some of the great displays at the American's Mart.
It’s the time of year when we go out to our gardens and see all the vegetables that need to be dealt with. One can only eat so many fresh tomatoes, squash, or peppers, but you have choices. This year our garden was planted next door at my daughter’s home, and we still had way too much for both of our families. We all know about the obvious choices, which are to share with friends and family, or bring them in to work like I do. However with our peppers, we like to freeze them.
So far this season I have sliced and diced about 20 freezer bags full. For me, peppers are the easiest of all our vegetables to prepare for storage. I just wash them, let them dry and slice and dice. We then put them into freezer bags, toss them in the freezer, and that’s it! I like to mix our peppers, sweet and hot, green, red, yellow and orange all together. That makes a colorful bowl of chili or whatever we are making for dinner. Besides chopping them all up like this photo, I will also slice them in strips for pepper steak or sausage and onions.
So far, I have been pretty lucky that my husband only brings a few in at a time, since I recall some years when it would take forever to cut them all up. One year I did not pay attention and started chopping up the hot peppers. Lesson learned! Never again without gloves. The pain from their heat went all the way down to the bones in my hands. I ended up having to soak them in cold milk and ice. It was awful. So while we love the heat from the our hot peppers in our recipes, I will never again handle them without gloves.
I hope that you too are enjoying your vegetable garden this August. And if you do not have the room or time for a big garden, remember a nice large pot in your yard will do just fine. Plant a tomato in one and peppers in another! There are many other vegetable plants that do well in big pots as well. Add some smaller pots filled with some herbs, and you will be able to enjoy your Summer recipes with your own veggies.
by Stephanie Fleming, Behnke’s Vice President