Some Like it Hot!

So, this blog is supposed to be about more than just training and racing. It’s also supposed to be a little about life outside of sport and tri-ing new things. And with a taper in full effect (only had a 6 mile run this weekend), Jason and I had a chance to do just that!

Gardening 004It was time to say goodbye to our summer garden and I began pulling up the plants and picking the final round of peppers when I got home on Friday. We built 3 4×8 raised garden beds last year and so far they’ve been great. We typically grow:

  • 6 pepper plants (usually something ridiculously spicy – Tabasco this year, jalapeno, banana, and assorted bells)
  • 2-3 zucchini
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 something new – yellow squash this year

I came away with around 20-30 each of jalapeno, banana, and bell and hundreds of Tabasco (the smaller the pepper, the more that grow on the plant).

On Saturday morning, I set about pickling most of the banana peppers and about half of the jalapenos. I threw in a few Tabasco and a few green bells for color variation. Here’s a pictorial look at the process. The instructions I followed are here!

Bags of peppers!
Bags of peppers!
Cleaning and slicing
Cleaning and slicing
The stove setup
The stove setup
Processing the first 3 cans
Processing the first 3 cans

Jason got up just as I was finishing the pickling process and crossing my fingers hoping that all the jars sealed properly (they did!). I’d been saving the bulk of the Tabasco peppers for him to try making hot sauce. He found a recipe online to work from and we started slicing the peppers open. We planned to make two batches – one almost entirely of the super spicy Tabascos and one with a good mixture of Tabasco and jalapeno.

Spices 013Once the peppers are sliced the next step is to heat them on the stove, add water and a few other ingredients, then boil and reduce to a pepper mush. The instructions should also advise purchasing gas masks. The kitchen filled with pepper and spice as we boiled and reduced. We were both coughing, sneezing, and snotting all over the place and eventually opened up the windows (something we rarely do because our house still has its original windows – I swear it’s the next BIG improvement).

We eventually got our pepper mush and pureed it in the food processor, adding vinegar in the process. Jason took a taste test that sent him running for a glass of water… this stuff is HOT! I’m not sure what we’ll use it on, but we’ll have to use sparingly!

Spices 016In the middle of the hot sauce excitement, I started in on another spicy concoction – spiced bourbon. I cut and heated two jalapenos, four Tabascos, some pepper corns, and some juniper berries in a sauce pan to release the flavors then added them to a large (probably quart-sized) carafe of cheap bourbon. I let this sit for about 36 hours, then removed the peppers and spices and poured the super-spicy liquor back into the original bottle with the remaining, non-spiced bourbon. The result is excellent and tastes great mixed with lemonade or OJ, especially blood orange juice!

Our final pepper experiment used the remaining Tabasco pepper. We dehydrated them in our dehydrator and crushed them to make our own red pepper flakes!

Spices 021

And the bulk of these activities occurred before noon on Saturday morning… we were CRAZY productive! The remainder of the weekend contained one (fast!) 6.3ish mile run with dad and both dogs – our last “long” run before the MCM this weekend, dinner with my family, and taking care of our backyard leaves. All in all a great weekend – it’s always good to add some SPICE to your life!


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