Over the last week I’ve harvested the last of the peppers just before a really cold night with just a baby frost. I picked even the green and almost yellow banana peppers.
We had a longer growing season here because of a late fall hot spell, which produced more flowers. More flowers means more fruit and more fruit means, you guessed it, more peppers. Problem is Peppers really are warm season fruits and of course, early November is not warm season here in Illinois. I left the peppers on the vine as long as I possibly could. The longer the Peppers are on the vine, the sweeter, or hotter, the flavor. To preserve as many peppers as I could, and to bring out their flavor, I roasted them. Roasting brings out the sweetness of any vegetable. Which makes it especially handy for the late to the party Peppers.
Some of the Peppers are wrinkly because I picked them earlier in the week, but that doesn’t matter for roasting. In fact, if you find you have veggies that are showing their age, such as a limpy carrot, roast it. It will bring out the flavor and give the old veggie a purpose.
PREP: Wash, slice and seed.
Arrange on a pan lined with parchment paper.
Toss with Olive Oil.
Roast at 350 degrees (325 if you have a Convection Oven), for 20-30 minutes. The time depends on whether you like a little char on your roasted peppers.
The roasted peppers last for a few days in the fridge, definitely not longer than a week. I recommend freezing them if you ‘re not going to use them within a couple of days.
What to use them in you ask? Panini’s, humus, Risotto, Tuna Salad, Chicken Salad, Turkey Sandwich, Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup, Ham Sandwich, Salad, Pasta, Baked Frittata or Omelet with avocado and Onions (now I’m making myself hungry), or as my husband has just said to me – they’re just calling for an Italian Beef sandwich (how very Chicago of him)
If you’re a hot pepper lover, like my husband, you can dry your peppers in a 200 degree oven for 1-3 hours. If you slice your peppers open, they will dry faster. Leave the seeds in them for some serious heat.
Once they’re sufficiently dried, let them cool and then just crunch them with your hands. Be sure to either wear gloves or really wash your hands after you’re done. If you forget to do this, you will regret it. Take it from me.
The dried peppers can be kept for months in an airtight container. My husband sprinkles the hot peppers on all kinds of food. I just don’t get it.