Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers

In this house we love peppers. All sorts of peppers, from bells and capsicums (that are actually in the nightshade family) to sweet bananas, habeneros to Chinese bull hearts. We have stuffed Bell peppers at least twice a month and no vegetable dish is complete without that hot little pod of long pepper. On the Sunday's we go to the Smokehouse for the buffet, I often carry a zip lock bag of peppers that I took from the garden just that morning. Mac grew a lovely little sweet pepper for eating without the aid of a glass of milk that we found especially good with succotash (butterbeans and corn). Our garden is never complete without the benefit of the pepper plants. I picked peppers yesterday to make pepper vinegar to go with the collard greens we'll be enjoying this winter. Making pepper vinegar (or pepper sauce) is so simple it's ridiculous. You simply take any heat proof jar (or cruet, as I have done) stuff it full of hot peppers of your choice and slowly fill the jar with boiling vinegar, close tightly, turn the jar upside down to seal (unless you're using a cruet, in which case just refrigerate immediately) and when the collards are ready, you will be, too!

So anyway, while I was working with the peppers I remembered the peppers Mac grew about 8 years ago. He bought the seed for these peppers from a little man at the flea market. He asked him what kind they were. The old man laughed a little and replied "don't know their name, but they're hotter'n hell!" As we walked away, our little packet of seeds in hand, he yelled after us "be careful handling them seed...they hot...they really hot!" When we came back by the spot where he'd been, I swear there was no sign he'd ever been there. Mac started humming "do da do do do da do do" from the Twilight Zone. I laughed.

The first pepper plants came up and they were really pretty little plants, thick and bushy and an odd green...not really dark, not quite light...not exactly in between...like I said, odd. Mac went out and hoed around them, fertilized them, making sure to give a good dose of phosphates and when the peppers came on, it was unbelievable. Each bush was over two feet tall, had so many blossoms on them you couldn't count them all and was so thick with leaves you couldn't see daylight in the middle. I got home from work one night and Mac was sitting in his chair, his hands in a bowl of milk. "What in the world are you doing?" I asked. "I picked those peppers for you to can and the old fella was right. They're really hot...you Mother told me to soak my hands in milk to take the burn out. It works. She said sour cream would be better...but I didn't know if she was joking or not." Shaking my head, I walked out to the kitchen and got the tub of sour cream out. Laughing fit to be tied, I handed him a towel for his hands and began to smear the sour cream on them. "She wasn't joking," I told him.

One night at work, we were talking about peppers and I was telling them I didn't know what I was going to do with the ones I had put up because they were too hot for consumption. (Mac had even diluted some with water and used as a spray for garden insects. It killed them dead. Of course it killed the plants, too...) So one of them says "when I eat at the Pizza Hut in Pageland they put the hottest they have out for me to put on my salad, they haven't been able to get me with one to hot, yet!" I guaranteed him that he'd not be able to eat one of these, in fact I doubted that he would be able to stand a drop of the juice. He looked at me as though I may have sprouted a second head, and said "I'll bet you 20 bucks I can eat at least one pepper. You on?" I turned to the Dispatcher and said "you heard that, he has 20 bucks that says he can eat one pepper, right?" She agreed that she had heard him and we made plans for the next night, the bet would be won or lost on single pepper.

Just as I was leaving for work the next day, I happened to remember to grab a jar of pepper sauce. I took it to the jail and placed it prominently in the middle of the table in the break room. At 7 pm we were to meet and settle the bet. Imagine my surprise when the break room was filled to capacity and we had to move out to the back lobby to complete the test. I set the jar down and told Deputy Dawg "here you go...just one pepper. That's all you have to eat."
He took the jar in his hands and twisted off the cap's ring. Someone handed him a church key (type of bottle opener) and he handily snapped up the cap. He brought the jar to his nose and inhaled deeply. And began to cough. Then he began to choke. He put the jar down and ran out into the Sally Port and bent double. He then went to the emergency water station and let the water run over his face. After about fifteen minutes, he came (crawled) back inside the lobby and slapped a twenty dollar bill down on the counter. "Remind me never to bet with you again, McBride, okay?"

We worried about what to do with those jars of pepper sauce. Mac wanted to empty the jars in a pit and bury them. I was terrified that they would take sprout. We ended up pouring them in the burn barrel and setting fire to them. It only took one match. We pulled up the plants and burned them, too. As we were turning to leave, Mac took the little envelop with what was left of his seed and tossed them in for good measure. "Tell your dad hello when you get back to hell," he muttered.
And yes, this is a true story...only a name has been changed to protect the ignorant. I mean, innocent.

45 comments:

Sarah said...

Dear God! I wonder what type of peppers those were!!!

CrazyCath said...

Oh my goodness! There is a spookiness to that! So glad you burned them...
(And remind you never to bet with you or accept a dare from you...)

Christine of Epiphany said...

Hahahaha!

Penny @ Lavender Hill Studio said...

LOL! I am such a pepper wimp! I even buy mild salsa...
Hugs,
Penny

CatHerder said...

MMMM PEPPERS! Im out of jalapenos or i would smoke them in the smoker today with the brisket. I dehydrated a bunch of habeneros last week...my eyes were burning...i was smart enough to use gloves this time...a friend of mine wound up getting stitches because of a hot pepper..long sordid story, lets just say if youre a male, dont cut habeneros, and take a trip to the mens room....he tried to shower off and fell in the shower after it got in his eye and he fell and cracked his head open.....its funny now......ps...i am weighting that curtain down...they just might tear it down though

Pam said...

Oh wow, I wonder what kind those were!
We've had a few pepper battles in my office as well, although nothing that sounds like the effect your peppers had. lol! We also use to have a chili cookoff around this time of year but it started becoming more of a thing to see how hot someone could get theirs rather than making something eatable. craziness.

Jeni said...

My son-in-law brought some peppers home the other day -some nice green bell peppers, a red pepper and five peppers that look like jalapenos except they are bigger and a very dark green. I took those five dark green ones and chopped them up, put the dicings in a ziplock back and into the freezer to use to add to sauces and stuff over the coming months. I thought I had washed my hands thoroughly but several hours later, I learned apparently I hadn't washed all the leavings of the peppers off after all. My left eye was itching and I rubbed it and that's how I learned how deeply into ones pores those juices will go! I ended up in the bathroom, putting eye solution in my left eye to try to wash the aftermath out. Ended up fixing a makeshift eye patch for that eye so I could "rest" it and finally fall asleep! Never again will I stop with just a simple hand-washing after handling these things!!!

Akelamalu said...

It was wierd that the man who sold them to you disappeared wasn't it? I think you did the right thing burning them! Did you buy more pepper plants with the $20 you won? (wink)

Lib said...

Hi Sandi,
Lol ,now thats some hot peppers!
Have a great day!
Blessins',Lib

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

What a way you have with a story! I loved it!

I am no hot pepper lover, but I do remember living in Arizona where the Mexican food was genuine and a big bowl of sour cream was always on the table. Now I love sour cream and I will remember that tip for burns.

ancient one said...

Ha ha.. I wonder how many bets have ever been made over hot pepper.

Early in my marriage my husband bet me $5 that I wouldn't eat a pepper he gave me.. I ate it and for some reason it was not even hot.. then he ate one and was about in tears... huffing and puffing...

I usually stick to bell pepper... I don't even want hot pepper vingegar on my collards.. just plain old vinegar...LOL

Brenda said...

It is so hard right now Sandi. April just called and changed her mind. Im falling apart.I am so tired of being strong.

Jeanne said...

Wow those must have been some powerful peppers. I'm a big pepper fan too. I do prefer the various colored "bell" peppers over green and hot ones of all varieties. Would love to try some of your varieties(milder than those you sent packing lol)

Jamie Dawn said...

The suspense of this story really grabbed me.
I just knew that guy would NOT be able to win that bet, but I had no idea he'd surrender without taking a single bite!!
I've never heard of peppers that hot, and I've seen some hot ones.
I enjoy using bell peppers in my cooking, but the rest of the family doesn't like them. I saute peppers and onions... yummy!!!!
You mentioned collard greens. Those are so yummy too, also, as well.

Tee aka The Diva's Thoughts said...

LOL!!! I can see the smoke from here.

Lee said...

Sandi, I think the man sold you habanero peppers. In scoville heat ratings the pepper just below it is only 75,000 units. The habanero jumps to 200,000 to 300,000 units of heat. Here's the heat chart. http://www.wiw.org/~corey/chile/scoville.html

Here are pictures of them. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Habanero

Let me know if I got it right, okay?

Hugs,
Lee

Karen M said...

I loved this story!!

Those were HOT!!

Pat - An Arkansas Stamper said...

Fantastic hot pepper story! I like hot peppers, but that would be a bit much! I think you did the right thing by consigning them to the bonfire.

Seamus said...

I need some of those to spike my brother's chili! Apparently he never gets it hot enough!

I remember painting the hull of a friend's boat with paint laced with habenero powder to keep the barnacles off - worked like a charm - no barnacle scraping after that!

Mary Isabella and Kiley too! said...

Oh my!!! Can you image what they would do to your stomach!!! I make the pickled peppers to and the pepper vinegar for our turnip greens and boiled cabbage. my Dad had to have this on the table at all times....Have a sweet week my Friend..m..

bj said...

GREAT SCOTT, girl...wonder what they were???
I love peppers, too, and so does Bill. Not REAL hot, tho...just a notch above MEDIUM.

SandyCarlson said...

What a great story, Sandi! Those peppers must have been something. My dad loves hot stuff, and this story makes me wonder how he would handle those peppers. Thanks for making me smile this a.m.

Lee said...

Apparently I was wrong in labeling it the hottest pepper. It WAS on the charts I found yesterday. This morning I found one hotter. Here's the link to that page. http://www.thescarms.com/hotstuff/pepperfacts.htm

1,000,000 Scoville units? Ouch!

Wondering how long I'll be searching the web looking for hotter and hotter peppers. (G) Anyone want to help?

Hugs,
Lee

Mima said...

Brilliantly told, I was there with you through that one, I love hot stuff, but am quite happy to admit that I wouldn't go anywhere near those!! The hottest I have ever been near were Scotch Bonnets - they look like little bell peppers, and are seriously spicy, yummy though in the right quantities ...

Mushy said...

Thank you Sandi for the recent visit and the great comment you left.

I'm placing you in my Bloglines notification so I can read your future posts!

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

Yegods! Those sound like the work of the devil!! Eek!

Shrinky said...

Oh Sandi, I so enjoyed reading this post, you have a great way of relating a story, girl! And we grow peppers (in our greenhouse, the weather is too unpredicable for outdoors) so I wil sure give that recipe of yours a try-out, too. I have never heard of milk soothing the burn, when I next chop chillies I may give it a try. (And I'll send my chutney recipe on when I have a mind..)

Shrinky said...

(Forgot to add, enjoyed the music too!)

Love Bears All Things said...

I've never been a fan of hot pepper. My Daddy was though, the hotter the better. He loved adding Jalopenas(sp) to his pizza. I have made pepper sauce. It is good on sardines if it isn't too hot.
Mama Bear

Denise said...

I have a PRAISE REPORT !!!!!!!!! GOD IS GOOD AND GREATLY TO BE PRAISED...

NeereAnDear said...

OMG that is a totally hysterical story.... I can not imagine a pepper so hot as to make you cough before you even get to the pepper itself....

Great one as always...

HUGS

JO

Jay said...

That's hysterical!!! He didn't even taste on, he only sniffed? ROFL

" "Tell your dad hello when you get back to hell," he muttered."

HAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Hairline Fracture said...

Fantastic story! I am a wimp when it comes to hot peppers, but I like the milder ones.

Mockingbird Hill said...

I was about 10 years old and had been told not to play down the street. Naturally, I went down the street and had to hide when my Mom came looking for me. I hid right up close to some kind of pepper plant. The jig was up when I ran home and opened the refrigerator to feel the cool air and my Mom screamed. Seems like my lips and cheeks were flushed and swollen just enough to give me that "circus freak" look...punishment enough, my Mom said. :)

Veggie Mom said...

Wow...what a story! But I have to say, I love me some peppers, too. A colleague gave me a bag of jalapenos today--I'll be making salsa this weekend!

joan said...

This is a good story Sandi! I wonder what they were. I've never been a big pepper eater. My mom used to make stuff peppers all the time but I would only eat the meat inside of them. LOL

Deb said...

I could relate to this post totally. I planted 6 habenero plants this summer - and each plant had about 8-10 very healthy peppers. My husband and I made salsa and WOW - I ended up pouring milk from the jug all over my face as my husband ran into the shower trying to get rid of the burn! We can laugh now. I won't be growing those peppers next year! ;)

jazzi said...

No peppers at all for me, but I sure did love reading this story! Your husband's line at the end was priceless!

Moannie said...

What a fantastic story [made me think of Jack and The Beanstalk]

We love peppers in this family, having lived in Mexico we of course adore hot and spicy food, but I think your peppers would defeat even JP and his asbestos lined mouth.

Thankyou for visiting, and your sweet comments.

Millennium Housewife said...

Crikey! A chef over here in the uk has just died from a chilli eating contest, I wonder if the seeds wind pollinated across the atlantic.. Thanks so much for visiting mine, a pleasure to have you MH

Susie Q said...

http://rabbitruncottage.blogspot.com/2008/04/dogs-already-know.html


This is the URL for th edoggie post you mentioned sweetie. The post was called "Dogs Already Know".

I am so happy it meant something to you...I think it is so true. One of the many reasons I love you so is your great love of all living creatures.

You truly do have sich a talent for words and writing a good story. You need to put them together into a book! i will pre-order 20 copies.

Love ya,
Sue

Bill loves hot pepppers. The hotter the better! My neighbor grows thjem on her deck and keeps him stocked. : )

Lavinia said...

What a remarkable story! I can't believe his reaction from merely sniffing the peppers! That is amazing....these peppers really were the devil's own, weren't they......hotter n hell I like that!!

i beati said...

red peppers are so good for you and i love red pepper spoup yummy !!!sandy

Merisi said...

Beware of "Tinder Peppers"! :-)))

How do you use pepper vinegar? Only the vinegar? (You can see, a quarter century of living south of the Mason-Dixon line did not clear that question for me - are those the tiny ones they keep at tables in Cajun restaurants?)

diane cook said...

Oh, my...we are pepper people too. Especially my dh, as he eats habaneros and anything in between. Jalapenos and serranos are my favorite.
It sounds as though we might just have a bush of what you are describing, in our flowerbed right now....I have got a story or two about it, but they are not as good as yours =)