Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Peppers, Mainly

I love peppers. Other than the onion family, they may be my favorite vegetable. This year we grew Serrano, Jalapeño, Cayenne, Super Chili, and Anaheim (my favorite), and Tabasco peppers. 

The day before our first freeze was predicted RH cut all the Tabasco peppers, one pepper I hadn't used all summer, saving them for hot pepper sauce.

I save pretty glass bottles that are perfect for hot vinegars that enhance pots of pinto beans or collard greens all winter.

This is the easy kind of preserving that is all I do anymore. No more chili sauce, corn relish, pepper relish, pickled peaches, and every kind of jam and jelly that I made as a younger homemaker.

Here's a picture of my mother who keeps me company in the kitchen, the expert chili sauce maker. I especially love this picture that was used at her celebration of life service the week before everything shut down in 2020. I was sitting by her when the picture was taken, our arms around each other, and I think about that when I cook.

Dewena was her middle name, as it is mine.

I stepped out on the kitchen porch later that day to cut the rest of peppers and some herbs for Bolognese sauce for supper.

Our little cayenne plant remained small all summer, not producing enough peppers to string and hang in the kitchen.

I'm wondering if I can just store them in a glass jar after they all dry? 

Look what RH brought in from a friend later that day. Wow, the mother lode of peppers! Perfect for stuffed peppers!

It was also a day for bringing in a few houseplants and I asked RH to bring in my favorite outdoor pot with three shade plants that was still so pretty. I picked them out with birthday money early summer, two different tiny ferns and the tall plant I can't remember the name of. Will they survive in the house? 

I also cut a few blooms from the Mandeville vine I bought with my birthday money.

This was our first time to buy this plant and it rewarded us with blooms all summer long in the garden.

I wish I could have brought the whole vine in for winter. Naturally after the hard freeze we were back to beautiful days. 

Perhaps we'll even have a Tender Tennessee Thanksgiving. 

What's it looking like where you live?

P.S. Here's the Bolognese sauce cooking away!

(This little plaque was in my mother's kitchen! Wish I knew it's history. Maybe my sisters remember?)


  1. That bountiful array of peppers sure is beautiful. I wish I could eat hot peppers, but unfortunately, bell peppers are about all I can handle. I can eat chopped up jalapenos in things like chili if the seeds and membranes are taken out. Hot peppers (even chipotle now, as I recently found out) make me very sick and cause a lot of tummy pain. My mom is the same way.

    I always forget that Dewena is your middle name. I hope it's OK that I call you by that name!

    I love that you keep your mother's beautiful photo in your kitchen, where you can see it all the time and think about her as you're preparing food and cooking.

    That Mandevilla vine is gorgeous! I don't think it grows well here in IL. I've not seen any in our area.

    We have been so blessed with the most beautiful weather this past week - sunny and in the low 60's. Unusual here for this time of year, so I'm soaking up every bit of it outdoors that I can. Next week we hit reality with highs only in the 30's during the day and possibly even some snow. (Boo hoo!)

    1. Melanie, I must admit that the hotter peppers are beginning to be more than I can handle too. Maybe next year we'll grow only Anaheims that are very mild. For some reason though, using the hot pepper vinegar in pinto beans and greens doesn't bother me at all.

      I actually love having my blog friends call me Dewena. I've used it for 12 years now and automatically think of myself by that name when blogging, sometimes other times too. My mother's first name was Marian but I don't remember why she wasn't called that. I sure miss being able to pick up the phone and call her on Thanksgiving morning with questions about cooking.

      I'm so happy you've had some pleasant days to enjoy there before the cold returns!

  2. Those are wonderful looking peppers! I confess that I can't handle too much heat and most of them would be wasted on me. I do enjoy jalapeno pepper poppers.

    I loved the little tidbits you wrote about your mother. It was a very strange time, those weeks before and after the pandemic announcement. My daughter's mother-in-law passed away during that time (not from Covid) and it was so difficult. I'm still regretful that I wasn't able to attend her funeral, for there was none, only her sons, their wives, and the grandchildren. She was a lovely person.

    I hope you have a wonderful last half of November. It's beginning to get cold here.

  3. Lorrie, I think we were so happy to have the pandemic over that none of us have really understood how that time changed our lives. But surely it changed us in enormous ways, some for good and in other ways not so good. I recently watched This England on Prime, starring Sir Kenneth Branagh as Prime Minister Boris Johnson during the first year of Covid in England. Difficult to watch some parts, especially as it affected the elder population. Branagh was excellent in the role, which is no surprise. But my sisters and I were so thankful that our mother was called to her heavenly home before the lockdown in nursing homes. She wouldn't have understood that at all.

    A lovely rest of November to you also in your beautiful part of the world!

  4. What a gorgeous gathering of seasonal produce! How pretty your collection of glass jars are, Dewena, so colourful and bright. I know so little about all the different kinds of peppers, but I do know that I cannot tolerate very hot ones - a little sprinkling goes a long way, for me. I mostly cook with bell peppers, and have grown very fond of sweet red pepper jelly, when the appetite for something slightly more hot and spicy, hits! Your Bolognese sauce looks zesty and delicious!

    The photo of your mother always keeping you sweet company in your kitchen is precious and the fact that you had your arms around her at the time must make it even more special. I like that you have it placed in the room that you probably spend the most time in!

    Your summer garden looks so pretty, lush and inviting! I had never heard of the Mandevilla flower, but after seeing your cuttings and how tall and cheerful they look in your garden, I had to google it! So sweet!!

    Wishing you a cozy Saturday,
    Poppy xo

    1. Poppy, it is comforting to see my mother's face in the kitchen with me. And this time of year I remember how every Thanksgiving after they moved out of state I would call her that morning with a ton of cooking questions, especially about her dressing (stuffing) recipe. Daddy finally asked why didn't I just write it down! I eventually did but still liked to talk to her anyway. We were watching a commercial last night where the young woman had called her mother asking the same kind of questions and it was obvious that she already knew the answers and just needed to hear her mother's voice. I told RH the commercial brought back so many memories to me. With your mother far away in Canada I bet it would touch a sentimental chord in you too.
      A big hug to you there in Crete where you are most likely planning scrumptious weekend meals,