Pepper garden update August 2007
Carrollton, Texas
33 00 North    96 53 West

  The Tropic Lightning pepper from 2005 didn't breed true because I'm a chemist; not a biologist, but I've learned a few tricks since then, and hope to do better this year. In 2006 when I planted only seeds from those two plants, I got a mixture of colors and shapes, but more of them were pointed style than before. I saved seed from only the largest red and chocolate pods, with the pointy shape. Out of 40 plants this year, all but three are one of those colors, and the pointy shape predominates. Two of those three are orange, and one is an ugly greenish-light-brown. I won't save seeds from that plant!

  That one on the left is the new World's Record hottest at ONE MILLION Scovilles, the Bhut Jolokia from Assam in northeast India. I got the seeds from the New Mexico Chile Pepper Institute, on sale for the first time this year. I got them about a month after I started my saved seeds, so they were later to produce and ripen in the garden. They may or may not be the same species as the Naga Jolokia that has been bred in the UK. I suggest reading the article at Saga Jolokia

  We've had a near-record rainfall so far this year, with almost 12" in May, almost 9" in June, and almost 6" in July by my digital rain gauge, with 41.75 since the first of the year. So early-season pepper production was up and plant growth down against norms, but this has let me pick enough pods to make several batches of my new hot sauce; recipe on request*. Main ingredients are peppers, onion, carrots, mangos, cider vinegar, lime juice, and salt, cooked and blended, and designed to be kept in the fridge at all times, as it is not made to canning standards for shelf storage. I've never had a problem, but use my recipe at your own risk, or make it to canning standards.

  But what about you poor folks who don't have a place or space to raise your own Habaneros? You can find orange Habaneros at almost any grocery store these days. But at $7-8 a pound?! And how much are you paying for beef? Those commercial Habs will weigh out at about 80 per pound, and half-a-pound will make about two quarts of sauce. So what's your problem? I picked these today and I'll make a new batch of hot sauce with them, probably about 2.5 quarts/liters.

  Here's a recent shot of my pepper garden, looking forward to a great crop in the fall.

  Update 27 August 2007. I've made four batches of hot sauce, each with a slightly different recipe, and plan to make two more batches in the next week. So far the four have yielded over 20 pints [10 quarts]. I also made my first batch of Bhut Jolokia Mash* from the peppers shown below. Those pods, with 8 oz of cider vinegar, 8 oz. water, and 1/2 tbsp of salt [canning/pickling salt], made just over 2 half-pints [16 oz.] of mash, to be doled out carefully over many months.

   * Request recipes from hotsauce at diverdan dot name .