Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pickled Peppers

So fall is here, officially. I have spent a lot of hours this year harvesting and finding ways to preserve things without a ton of work. One of my favorite things has been sun dried tomatoes (ok, they're not really 'sun' dried, more like dehydrator dried:). I dried them for about a day and half and then pack them in olive oil in a jar in the fridge. They've been such a delicious treat to add to eggs in the morning, salads, pizza (on the grill - our latest obsession!) and much more. Unfortunately, the dehydrator was sitting on the counter and got knocked off by someone (who shall remain nameless) and is now broken. Sad! The oven doesn't really do the same job - my oven only goes down to 200 degrees and the dehydrator would stay as low as 95 for me. I did try a batch in the oven but they got a little browned, still tasty and good though. Another thing we have had in abundance has been peppers. I'm learning that from year to year I'll always be surprised by what my garden yields. Anyway, I planted 3 pepper plants - two 'garden salsa' knock your socks off fire breathing pepper plants, and 1 red (disguised as green) chili pepper plant. *Note to self: Home Depot doesn't know how to label their plants*. After discovering that our garden salsa variety was NOT going to produce those lovely Anaheim type peppers that you can fill with cheese and munch on, I lost my enthusiasm for them. I did make one batch of my annual canned salsa using tomatoes and peppers from the garden (the first time we've ever done that!! Yay!) but after that the pepper plants sat untouched for most of the summer. once in a while I would go out and pick one for our morning eggs or something like that. Anyway, after putting all that work into my garden I'm not about to let the fall frosts take the fruit of my efforts without a fight, even if it was an unexpected bounty of HOT HOT HOT peppers. So, I decided the answer was to pickle them! After picking a bushel (ok, not really) of peppers I brought them inside to use this recipe on. An easy Saturday night project - no canning involved, using ingredients I already had on hand. An unsuspecting cook, standing over her stove. Here is where my plan when awry. As I'm standing over the stove slicing away my husband mentions, 'hey, maybe you should wear gloves...?'. 'Na,' I reply. These peppers aren't that hot after all and I don't think just slicing them and throwing them in the jar will effect me.  I'm careful, I'll wash my hands before I rub my eyes.  And on and on with the excuses...

The peppers were finished, and set in the fridge to brine.  Pretty huh? 

Not long after finishing this simple project, my hand began to burn.  And I mean BURN.  I tried to ignore it out of pride but it wouldn't be ignored.  It started throbbing, pulsating with heat - like I had scalded it or something.  I couldn't wash it off...I sat down and tried knitting but it continued to throb.  Later when I went to bed, I just lay there while my hand sat outside the covers to cool.  It didn't work.  I didn't sleep well...and when I finally woke up I thought it was much better.  But, alas, when I went to put my contacts in I discovered my problems were NOT over...with burning pain shooting through my eyeball I had to reach in with the pepper infected finger again to retrieve my contact - ahhhh!!!  And then I went on all day with a burning hand.  That was yesterday, and even today I feel the effects of it still.  Phew that was quite a lesson.  The moral to this story is: always wear gloves.  The secondary lesson to take away is: your husband is smarter than you, listen to him.

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