21 Oct 2014
The peppers are finally coming in! Earlier in the summer I had a serious infestation of Papaipema nebris, stalk borer. These moth larvae bore into the stems of all kinds of plants but in my yard they only attacked the chile peppers. They bore into the base of stems and live inside the stem, sucking out the plants’ juices and eating the interior pith, until they emerge to pupate. Even if I decided to use pesticides for some reason, broad-spectrum pesticides are useless against larvae inside plant stems and I didn’t want to invest the time or money into the only effective resistance, which is injecting each infected stem with Bt. I decided to wait it out. Almost all the plants lived and now are producing a bumper crop of peppers- thin-walled mild and fruity aji cachucha and bright and hot scotch bonnets and habaneros. I’m regretting planting the scotch bonnets and habaneros, frankly. They are producing like crazy and they’re too hot to do much with. I wish I had planted the mildly hot peppers I planted last year. I think next year I’m going to start the peppers late and see if I can break the pest cycle.
So I had to do something with the sudden bounty of extra-hot peppers. I found an interesting recipe for a fermented hot sauce but I can’t just use habaneros- none of us will eat it. The aji cachucha is for ajilimójili and sofrito but I decided to use them to tone down the fierce heat of the habaneros. I want this to be a hot sauce I will actually eat.
The recipe calls for a sweet white wine like a Riesling. So off I went to Wards Supermarket to find a bottle of German Riesling. As my daughter and I are searching the shelves for Rieslings and finding nothing, this bottle of wine caught my eye. Why not? The wine is sweet, like the recipe specifies, the fruitiness will probably complement the fruity habaneros, and it’s local.
Here’s the mashed chiles and salt, before adding the wine. Isn’t it beautiful? I can’t wait to see how it turns out. See the link above for the recipe and instructions if you want to try it yourself. It’s autumn- ferment all the things!