Several months ago we planted some peppers: four different varieties of bells (green, red, lilac, chocolate) and a mystery pepper.
The tag didn’t specify the variety, so even though the thing SAID world’s hottest pepper we really didn’t think it was an official ranking.
Guy took a little while to get started, we went through a severe drought and then, boom goes the dynamite: after near constant rain for the better part of a month, little green peppers started blooming all over the thing. As soon as the first one began to change color, I plucked it off and we used it in some fajitas. It was pretty mild, as early-harvest peppers tend to be. It was the roundish shape and orangish color of a habanero, so whenever people asked, we told them it was a habanero. (Truth: nobody asked.)
We let them ripen on the vine for several more weeks and used a couple more in some tacos, some nachos, etc. They were noticeably hotter, but still tolerable. I did notice that I had a couple of burning spots on my face (okay, in my nose but it was a scratch, not a pick) from touching it while slicing them. Still, we doubted the veracity of the claim world’s hottest. (How ’bout that, huh? World’s Greatest. That’s better than number one! Let’s see how many Seinfeld references I can cram into one post!)
It wasn’t until last week that I sliced one up to put in a vat of chili (I swear we don’t eat bar food all the time) that I actually smelled the heat. And I could taste the smell. It was acrid yet aromatic. (I feel like I’m reviewing a beer. A double IPA, probably.) When the fumes got up into my nose, I coughed and my eyes watered.
As a precaution I removed some of the seeds before sticking it into the chili and the chili came out just perfect. Definitely spicy, but not painful. I was impressed that such a tiny bit of pepper could heat up an entire giant batch.
Also, I must not have washed my hands well enough because I had a tremendous burning sensation on my fingers that somehow got even worse after I went swimming. I think the pepper had some kind of chemical reaction with the chlorine in the pool. Thankfully, I didn’t contaminate the baby with my toxic pepper fingers.
Now that the peppers are really starting to ripen on the vine, they are beginning to elongate and take on the darker red shade of the ghost pepper. (If you’re not familiar, the ghost pepper, naga jolokia, is right behind standard grade pepper spray on the Scoville scale.)
And whenever I slice one of those fuckers, I am pretty much making a two day commitment not to remove my contacts.
Anyway, we nearly had a frost last night and although the plant only set us back a couple bucks, I’d hate for so many of the peppers to go to waste. They’re actually kind of lovely and I’ve grown quite fond of them. I’m concerned we won’t be able to put them all to use before winter. And freezing, we learned the hard way, only makes hot peppers hotter.
Any ideas for how to use 50 ghost peppers in less than a month? It should go without saying that if you come over for dinner, everything we serve you will be spicy.
In other news, today is bitches day out: I’m going downtown on a mini brewery tour with a couple of friends. I hope to have some kind of dodgy recap for you later on. Kisses!