Tuesday, December 11, 2012

First Frost

Last night we finally had our first frost, though it looks like it was fairly mild. The tomato plants aren't looking so good, but the pepper plants look fine.

Here are the mushy tomato plants in the foreground, with beets and carrots in the background. It doesn't look like they froze all the way down to the roots, but I went ahead and picked all the green tomatoes off them anyway. It's supposed to get below freezing again tonight, so that might finish them off.

I ended up with about 5 pounds of green tomatoes, along with lots of lots more peppers, especially Lemon Drop peppers, but also some more bell peppers, negro peppers, and Cayenne peppers. Even though the peppers seem to have made it through the freeze I thought it best to relieve them of their burden of ripe fruits anyway.

So what to do with this final bounty of 2012? The bigger tomatoes would be good made into Fried Green Tomatoes, but I also have lots and lots of little ones that wouldn't be worth the trouble. I think I'll make those into Green Tomato Relish from the Ball Book of Home Preserving. Maybe growing fall tomatoes is worth it after all.

My first batch of Lemon Drop Hot Pepper Sauce didn't turn out very good. Way too vinegary. All I could taste is vinegar and capsaicin, and none of the nice citrus fruitiness of the peppers. I think a good Lemon Drop Hot Pepper Sauce should be fruity and hot, with just enough acid to preserve it, but not to overwhelm the flavor (if that's possible). I've seen sauce recipes around that used pureed fruit such as peaches, apricot, pineapple, etc., usually with habanero peppers, which are also reputed to have a fruity flavor (I've never been brave enough to try!), so maybe something similar with lemon drops would work out.

I guess the good news is lemon drops are so prolific I've got plenty more peppers to experiment with! Though next time I'll start with a smaller batch just in case.

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