Peppers: Numex? Other favorites?

pamchesbayNovember 28, 2012

Like many of you, I'm working on seed lists - mainly tomatoes and peppers now - and I have a couple of questions.

This spring, I bought a few pepper plants from Bonnie to hold us over until the peppers I was growing from seed started to produce: Garden Salsa (ok), Fajita Bell (tasty), Mucho Nacho Jalapenos (good but too big for my jalapeno grill, hotter than I'm used to), and Cubanelles (ok, not keepers). In May, I planted my seedlings out.

All peppers did great - the Bonnie peppers and those I grew from seed. Had the best crop of peppers ever. Hundreds of peppers. Probably thousands. I finally pulled the plants when temps dropped to low 40s last week. Thank goodness!

This year, I'd like to try different varieties, read good things about Numex peppers. Went to the New Mexico Chili Pepper site - so many choices, I don't don't know where to start. I also read several threads about Numex peppers in GWeb, this lead to questions.

Do Numex peppers thrive in alklaine soil only? I read that they do fine with (dry) heat and wind. We have lots of hot wind, but we are also humid. Do you recommend Numex for these conditons? If so, what varieties do you favor? Do you have other (non-Numex) favorites?

We love stuffed peppers, grilled peppers. I use peppers in cooking (the Trinity) a lot, froze tons this summer and fall. I'm not crazy about super hot peppers. When I was chopping Garden Salsa and Jalapenos, without gloves, my hands were on fire for > 24 hours. I tried everything recommended on the Internet but nothing helped much - just time. If those peppers burned my hands for over 24 hrs, I hate to think about what they are doing to my GI system!

Thanks for any advice you have about Numex peppers, and other favorite peppers. .

Take care,

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Pam I'm by no means an expert but will give you some of my thoughts about NM chile pepper and the Nu-Mex varieties. I was born and raised early in life in NM. NM chiles are my favorite pepper and along with tomatoes a favorite crop of mine. I grow several different varieties of the NM chile. The Anaheim is a selection of the NM chile pepper. A Mr Ortega took NM chile peppers to CA and then made selections. I grow 10-14 different varieties most years of the NM chile. I've grown most of the Nu-Mex varieties. In my opinion the Heritage varieties they sell have the best flavor. I really like the NMSU site for chile info and their seeds are good. Many of their varieties are like many of the hybrid tomato varieties. Developed to increase yields or address disease problems and in my opinion flavor decreased in some instances. They still have a good but not great flavor usually and more disease resistant and higher yielding if a grower desires/requires that. Like I stated above I grow several of their varieties every year. I also grow several regional/heirloom varieties. The old saying in NM has always been you can tell what side of I-40 a variety was grown on by it's size and shape. Most northern varieties are shorter and many wider. Many have great flavor. Among these are the San Felipe,the Chimayo, Isleta Long and several more. Some of the best flavored and nice sized NM chile types are from Colorado and grow along the Arkansas valley from Pueblo east to La Junta. Many of the NM chile types have mild heat levels but there are exceptions.
The soils I've grown chiles in has always tended to be on the alkaline side. In my opinion you can grow a NM chile or a Nu Mex variety about anywhere. Your production may not be as high. NMSU issued a bulletin several years ago that I may of saved but would have to go look for it. They did a trial in conjunction with a few other universities. They compared results on growing not only the NM chile types but also sweet pepper types in different climates, soil types, ect. The consensus was the chile types performed best in low humidity conditions and the sweet pepper types performed best in higher humidity locations. I have seen this to be true in my garden. In my opinion the alkaline soil might influence flavor more than anything. Comparable to the soil in the Vidalia area affecting the flavor of the Vidalia onion. I also feel for the best flavor a NM chile needs a hot, dry climate. I know in the dries years the flavor on mine is the best. And most native NM varieties will withstand hot winds. The origin of a variety will determine what conditions they perform the best in. A variety from northern NM will usually be a shorter season, smaller fruited variety that does best with cool nights. Although many of the Colorado varieties are large in size but still perform best with cooler nights. A southern variety will perform well with warmer nights. So in the end my suggestion is just like growing tomatoes. Try a few varieties and then find what will grow well in your climate and garden. I can list some of my favorites if you want. I also usually have extra seeds of many of my favorites. I would suggest you try the Heritage varieties if growing the Nu-Mex varieties.
I never use gloves when processing the chile types or jalapenos. Although I know I should. I use pure lemon juice to wash my hands in. It is the best I've found for reducing the burning. Milk also helps if you eat something really hot to reduce the burning in your mouth.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 11:01AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


In a good year, peppers will produce so heavily that it is hard to keep up with the processing of them, so every year it seems I grow fewer and fewer....mainly as self-defense so I won't kill myself trying to pick and process all of them. Your comment about thousands of peppers made my giggle. One memorable pepper year, we hit a point where I could not process peppers fast enough and I complained here on this forum that I had 1800 peppers piled up all over the kitchen, laundry room and breakfast room. That's the last year I had that problem because I cut back the number of plants I was growing by at least 50% the next year and since then I've cut back about another 50%. I think I might be at about the right level now, except I still grow too many habaneros.

At the NuMex Chile Pepper Institute, I'd watch for varieties with the name Heritage in them. These have been improved in recent years, so Heritage NuMex Big Jim, for example, is supposed to be more productive and flavorful than the standard NuMex Big Jim. Jay grows a lot of those kinds of peppers so I am sure he'll have some specific variety recommendations for them.

Because I've cut back so much in recent years, I mostly grow only jalapenos, serranos and habaneros in the hot pepper group. Every now and then I'll grow an Anaheim type or a poblano type, or maybe a cayene so I can dry it and grind it down and make dried cayenne pepper. Sometimes I grow Fish pepper so I can make a hot flavored vinegar-sauce type thing from it.

I have very alkaline native soil and water, and the peppers grow like gangbusters for me. However, I've also grown them in containers in soil-less mixes which are more acidic than our native soil and they grow and produce just fine there but I've added lime to those containers. Most peppers grow just fine in a wide range of soil pH from about 5.5/6 to 8.0 when grown in the ground. My unimproved soil tested at 8.3 when we moved here, but the heavily amended soil is around 6.8 to 7.0. It is a little different in containers. Because soil-less growing mediums tend to be slightly acidic, I'll add a handful of lime to each big container each year and stir it in well. If you try to grow peppers in a soil-less mix that is too acidic, you may see issues with nutrient uptake. With the in-ground garden, I do the opposite, adding sulphur as needed to lower the pH a bit.

I wasn't crazy about hot peppers for a long time. I grew them for Tim and to give away. I would can a few for Tim or to give as gifts. However, I began eating the really mild ones, and the more I ate, the more I craved the heat. Your body adjusts to capsaicin over time and is able to tolerate ever-increasing amounts of it so as they years have passed by, I've become able to eat peppers that are hotter and hotter every year. I try to put up a couple thousand roasted jalapenos in the freezer every year, and we eat all of them most years before we begin harvesting the next year's crop.

Jalapenos come in all size ranges nowadays and in different heat levels, as measured by Scoville Heat Units. Since the trend nowadays is to breed big stuffing type jalapenos peppers, one way to find smaller peppers is to look back at some of the older ones released by Texas A&M University.

Mucho Nacho is one of our family favorites because it produces large peppers (great for stuffing) with pretty good heat (4500-6000 SHUs). If you'd like a smaller jalapeno with less heat, here are some suggestions: TAM Jalapeno, Ole', Jaloro, Jalapeno M or for very low heat Senorita, Fooled You or Delicias. Early Jalapeno is a smaller jalapeno but it is a hot one, coming in at about 4000-6000 SHUs.

For anyone reading this thread who wants hotter, larger jalapenos, I recommend Mucho Nacho, Grande', Chichimeca, Purple, Biker Billy (very early for such large peppers), Goliath, or Ixtapa. I think Goliath is about the hottest jalapeno I grow. Goliath averages 6000 to 8000 SHUs in normal weather, but in the summer of 2011 when we often had high temps in the 108-115 range, it was significantly hotter--almost too hot for me to eat.

Hot pepper flavor is strongly influenced by the temperatures at which the peppers are grown, so in a cooler summer, the peppers tend to have less heat. In a hotter year their heat soars.

I never, ever, ever cut even one pepper without wearing medical-type nitrile or latex gloves. I keep a box of them in the kitchen, one in the shed and one in the garage and always wear them when cutting peppers. When I am processing large quantities of hot peppers, I wear a heavier-duty type glove made for medics and law enforcement officers to wear when working with patients trapped in crushed vehicles where their hands near more protection from broken glass or jagged metal. These slightly thicker medical gloves protect my hands really well from the burning after-effects of handling lots of cut peppers.

What are peppers doing to our GI systems? Likely cleaning them out really well for sure.

I get equally good yields in hot, humid years and hot, dry years, but it is more important to choose peppers bred to have good resistance to disease if you are in an area that is extremely humid on an ongoing basis.

I love peppers so much that I grow lots of ornamental ones mixed into flower bed borders too. All the ornamental ones I grow are hot, hot, hot so I generally don't harvest and eat those peppers.


    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 11:17AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

I can see Jay and I were typing and posting at the same time, Pam.

I meant to add this. I grew up in Texas and Jay grew up in New Mexico and if you look at our pepper gardens, you can see how it influenced us. He prefers New Mexico-style/Anaheim type chiles that are used so much in the cuisine there, and I prefer jalapenos, which are used so commonly in Texas cuisine. Interesting, isn't it? lol

When I was a kid, I thought the only hot peppers in the world were tabasco peppers and jalapeno peppers, although my dad did grow some hot banana peppers as well when I was a teenager. I probably was in my 30s before I ever planted an Anaheim or New Mexico type of chile pepper. When I discovered Tomato Growers Supply Company and Totally Tomatoes, which likely was in the late 1990s, I was stunned to find the huge variety of both tomato and pepper varieties that were available. I had so much fun trying so many different kinds of peppers, but discovered the only hot ones we use in large quantities were jalapenos, serranos and habanaros, and thats why I mostly grow them.

I'd grow poblano peppers more but they just don't produce well for me most years.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 11:28AM
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Jay, Dawn - you are the greatest! I'm working on a book now (and I'm seriously behind on this book) but I'm also making my pepper and tomato and (tree) seedling lists.

Your suggestions and thoughts really helped me to get closure (hopefully) on the pepper list.

Jay, I've been on the NMSU site but didn't know where to start. Now I know to start with the Heritage varieties. I love anaheim / poblano peppers. Chili rellenos is one of our favorites. I've visited NM - Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Taos, and Four Corners twice recently, and we will be in Santa Fe on business in March. I think the Heritage varieties will provide good choices for this coming year.

Dawn, your description of how you got acclimated to hot peppers was amazing but funny. I've watched people in Hot pepper contests, tears rolling down their faces as they ate more hot peppers. I had no desire to walk down that path!

The tomato list is so long, it's frightening. Every time I open the tomato file, the list seems to have grown. I don't need or want to grow that many tomato varieties, but they are so different and interesting. This year, one of my new varieties was a very productive yellow-gold tomato from Afghanistan - Rumi Banjan. I didn't think they could grow tomatoes in Afghanistan! This variety produced well, and still had tomatoes and flowers on it when I pulled the plants last week.

It's Nov 28. I'll try to wrap up the pepper list by Friday, then move on to the baby trees and tomatoes. Those are the hardest two lists.

In theory, I grow vegetables for two people - Pete and me. In reality, I give lots away -- to folks at the office and to family and friends who aren't in a position to grow good stuff. I would do this full time if I didn't need to make a living! ;- D

Thanks again. You understand these dilemmas. I am so grateful for your advice.

Take care,

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 11:33PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


You're welcome.

I never intended to be much of a hot pepper eater, but then quite a few years back, a friend of ours cooked cheese-stuffed jalapenos wrapped in bacon on a grill and I ate one and was addicted. Once you start down that hot pepper path, there is no turning back.

Some years I can oodles of jalapenos as candied jalapenos (you just substitute jalapenos for cucumbers in any bread-and-butter pickle recipe). This year I was so tired of canning after dealing with The Great Tomato Glut of 2012 that I just halved and deseeded jalapenos endlessly, roasted them, and froze them in the quantities needed to make a batch of grilled jalapeno poppers. I know we have enough to make at least a batch a week for the next 12-18 months. I didn't can any, so some of our friends likely will be disappointed when there's no jars of peppers in their Christmas gift bags. Hopefully they'll like the other stuff they get as much as they like the candied jalapenos. I'll make up for it next year by canning a lot of peppers since I won't be canning a lot of tomatoes.

There are several tomato varieties recently introduced to the USA from Afghanistan and Irag. Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds usually has some of them in their catalog every year. Al-kuffa is one from Iraq that I remember seeing there. I think it is likely that tomatoes are found in some places we'd never expect to see them. The ones I've grown from Africa, like Heidi, have amazing heat tolerance.

Frightening tomato lists? Been there, done that, trying to reform and grow fewer tomatoes and more of other things. My worst (or best, depending on how you look at it) tomato year probably was 2006. I literally was giving bags of tomatoes away to anyone driving down the road who stopped to say hi, whether I knew them or not. The garden was spectacular that year and people often stopped just to look at it. Then I tackled them and forced them to take home Walmart bags full of tomatoes. (That is only a slight exaggeration.) Not expecting a drought year, I was trialing tons and tons of varieties new to me and planted 600 plants. Yes, it was absolutely as ridiculous as it sounds. It was a horrendous drought year and I watered a lot, but got tons of tomatoes. Even plants grown outside the fenced garden in poor soil grew and produced well enough for me to know if those varieties were worth growing again. The deer eventually ate the plants outside the fence, but left the ones inside the garden alone even though I only had a 3' fence back then.

I'll never stop trialing tomato varieties that are new to me, but I am trying to rein it in to only a handful a year. My tomato list is relatively short this year but I will trial about 5 paste varieties that are not even on the list yet. My mind is more-or-less made up about which paste types I'll try this year, but I never completely make up my mind until I see what Gleckler's Seedmen and Southern Exposure Seed Exchange have each year that is new to me. I also recently ordered Brandywine and Rinaldo from Remy's Sample Seed Shop, so they may get added to the list for either spring or fall. The 2013 trial of paste tomato varieties will be aimed at finding good, dry meaty varieties for dehydrating using Brokenbar's wine-marinated sun-dried tomato recipe. This past summer was my first time to make them, and they are incredibly good.

In theory, I grow veggies for three people but in reality I give away a lot too. I used to give away a lot more, but then I began preserving more and more for the gardening off-season, and I don't give away as many fresh veggies any more. I do send them to work with our son, who is a professional firefighter. They really love to cook with fresh, organic veggies at his fire station. We also give Tim's coworkers, our family and friends gift bags containing between 2 and 4 jars of canned goodies every Christmas, so I always am on the hunt for something new and different in terms of canning. It takes a lot of gift bags, but I order them in batches of 250 from an online retailer and that quantity usually lasts 2 or 3 years. This past summer's big hit was Spicy Pickles, but I didn't make many batches of them. We've given away all I made except for one jar that is in our refrigerator. I intend to make a lot more of them next year, which means I'd better plant lots of cucumbers.

I do garden more or less full-time, and friends always say I ought to sell at the Farmer's Market. I don't think I ever will though. I am afraid that if it became a business, I wouldn't enjoy it as much as I do. There would be a whole different kind of pressure/stress involved in gardening ft I was doing it as a livelihood. I'd rather just preserve a lot of stuff and give away the rest. Tim seems to harbor some sort of dream/illusion that we'll raise veggies to sell after he retires, which I find sort of humorous since he is not a gardener! Of course, after he retires he might become a gardener. I suppose stranger things have happened.


    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 9:12AM
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Pam I will add a few more comments this morning. Like Dawn stated our growing preferences is influenced somewhat by where we were raised and also by the cooking habits of those around us. Not only was I influenced by the native Mexican culture around me I was also influenced by my Dad and Granddad who were both chuckwagon cooks. Also I was fortunate to of ate a few authentic chuck wagon meals while branding, shipping, ect. Most of the cooks I was around used various NM chiles for the desired flavor. Then they used jalapenos, cayennes, serrano types for desired heat levels and also some added flavor. These peppers were used fresh, dried and reconstituted to make a red chile sauce(This was common especially on the chuck wagons and still a widely used method),dried and flaked or powdered, roasted and pickled. Many times a combination of these are used to obtain the desired flavor and texture. The thing many don't realize most chuck wagon food was made with dehydrated/sun dried,canned or pickled items that could be stored with no refrigerating or cooling. This included most if not all perishable items. The meat was either dried or canned. Peaches, tomatoes, onions, tomatoes, peppers, ect were usually dehydrated/sun dried. The types, varieties I grow today reflect the influences when I was young. I usually grow 6-12 NM chile varieties, 4-8 jalapeno varieties and then at least one cayenne type along with a serrano,poblano type and also 2-3 non NM peppers types. I have a non NM favorite named Hungarian Volcano. Has heat and very good flavor. The two most important types I must grow every year though are the NM Chile types and jalapenos. Many are happy with the Hatch Chiles sold at the store. The way I look at it is many are happy with a store bought tomato while others desire a Brandywine. And once you have acquired the taste for Brandywine a store bought tomato isn't enough. Another reason is my climate is close to ideal to grow the chile types. I also like sweet/bell pepper but production here is low in years with intense heat like the past few. Over the last 4 years I've cut down the numbers I grow of them. This year I plan on 4-5 plants just for a few fresh to eat. I can always buy bells at the stores and farm markets if needed for making something.

I will list a few of my favorite sites along with the NMSU site to browse for chile/pepper info and seeds. They are Sandia Seeds, Native Seeds and Chile USA. I have obtained seeds from various sources and individuals but these offer some good info along with seeds. One of my favorite for chile rellenos and roasting is Colossal Kim. It is a Colorado selection. I'm going to add a link to the Facebook page of a site where I enjoy visiting. They do sell some product but also have some good recipes and info. Hope you have a great growing season. Jay

Here is a link that might be useful: NM Chile Monster

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 9:48AM
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Jay and Dawn, I love your stories. Where we grow up is a big part of who we are when we grow up.

Jay, your memories of chuck wagon meals are so strong, I can almost see the smoke and smell the food simmering. I was in NM with my daughter in Sept, wanted to try local dishes like red chile, carne adovada, green chile cheeseburgers, but we spent too much time driving from Alb to Santa Fe to Taos to Bandelier, and not enough time walking around towns and trying the food.

I go back to NM in March, hope we have time to remedy the "no NM food" problem.

I copied your post and saved it so I can check out the seed sources.

Dawn, so much of what I read here is new to me. I didn't know about candied jalapenos - don't think I've ever seen or tasted them. Our house gets very hot in the summer so I don't use the oven. In summer, we move cooking operations out to the screen porch. We have a grill that also has a couple fo burners, and a big propane cooker that has a cast iron pot for fish fries, oysters, etc. We also use the propane cooker to cook crabs, soups, etc.

I don't have a dehydrator but after I read Brokenbar's wine-marinated sun-dried tomato recipe, I need to put one on the Christmas list.

Re: dehydrators: Any suggestions, recommendations or cautions?

Brokenbar said she has a commercial dehydrator that dries tomatoes at 165 degrees in about 6 hrs. I think she said it was an Omcan commercial dehydrator.

This year, I bought Mucho Nacho and Grande (HOT!) plants from Bonnie, and planted seed for Italia, Red Marconi, Ancho Poblano, and Fooled You (no flavor at all). I harvested several 5 gallon buckets of peppers just before Sandy hit, but that was nothing compared to what you grow. The Red Marconi did well, better than Italia, the poblanos took a long time to size up but they were great when they did.

Take care,

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 2:28PM
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Also a New Mexican, the land de mi chante! Love Chile Monster. Also suggest trying Native Seed Search out of Tuscon (but have grow out facilities in NM)for heirloom chile and others from across the SW and even Texas. I remain a firm believer that if not grown in Rio Grande drainage soils it just won't taste the same. Sorry but just won't.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 6:01PM
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Chriser I was born in Tucumcari and raised early on around Logan. At that time in the 50's and 60's there were several small market growers along the Conchas canal. A few heirloom/landraces were grown that was very good. There has been many arguments over the best flavored NM chile and where it is grown. Personally I don't feel the Hatch chiles have the flavor they did in the 50's and 60s. And why I don't buy those offered commercially anymore. I attribute that to them growing more for production, size and disease resistance rather than flavor. But each chile offers a flavor unique to itself. That is why I grow so many different varieties. To me some of the varieties with the best flavor are grown in the little villages and reservations. I could list several I feel that has great flavor. Again flavor/taste is a personal preference. So varies with each of us. Jay

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 11:07AM
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They say chiles from Chimayo and Espanola are the tastiest and always green chile best when "estas pintado" (with some red and orange color). Not mentioned is the noticable difference in crops during wet and dry years. Dry weather makes chiles hotter and smaller and wet years make chiles fat and mild (boo) which is likely how Rio Grande varieties will fair East of the Pecos... Interesting about chiles along Conchas canal. Historically, Comancheros and Mexican (not Spanish) land grant denizens along the upper pecos watershed likely grew plenty of chile but with one diff from Rio Grande drainage, the storage and preparation of red chile. The dry line exists there and humidity too high for storage as chile ristras thus in chile prep they're not blanched and meat scraped... instead my Eastern NM hispanic friends typically make chile "carribe" from dried ground chile pods. I'm an ENMU alumni with ancestors from San Jon area. Do you know the Tillmans from San Jon area?

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 11:49AM
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Hottest jalepe�o: My experience is not as broad as Dawn and Jay's, but we did live in Mexico for 14 years and try most of what they had down there. Eventually I managed to bring back seed to a jalepe�o type, grown in a mountainous area of three eastern states. It's my wife's all time favorite. Like most jalepe�os, it does have some variation in heat levels. But Chile Rayado never comes close to mild.

Last week, I believe I ran into the hottest chile rayado ever. I was making a large pot of duck stew and decided to add just one pepper, to "give it some flavor." I selected a small chile rayado, chopped it up and added it. Both of us struggled to finish our bowls of stew, when we took it to work for lunch. Honest! One would have thought I'd thrown in an habanero!

Like other jalepe�os I've grown, chile rayado is early and prolific. The peppers are large for a jalepe�o. If I had to limit myself to only one hot pepper, personally, I'd waver between chile rayado and an habanero. But, Jerreth wouldn't waver at all. She's pick chile rayado.


PS. Sorry for the funny characters, I was trying to spell jalepeno correctly, with the Spanish characters.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 1:50PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Pam, Commercial dehydrators the size of Brokenbar's cost thousands of dollars. She sold SDTs to several restaurants in her area, so she was dehydrating a huge amount of tomatoes annually. There are many good dehydrators sized for home gardeners, and we've discussed them here before. I'll find an old post that includes a previous dehydrator discussion and link it.

The stove in my kitchen is a Bosch and it is a dual oven--you can use it as a regular oven or as a convection oven. Within the Convection Oven mode of operation, you can use the Dehydrate feature to dehydrate food at between 140 and 160 degrees. I love it, love it, love it. Next time you're in the market to buy a new stove for the kitchen, if you look around at the ones with convection ovens, many of them now have built-in dehydration modes.

I had a small American Harvester countertop dehydrator before we bought the Bosch stove and a Nesco one before that, and they worked fine for my needs. The funny thing is that when we bought the Bosch, we didn't even know about the Dehydrate feature until we were driving home and I was reading the manual. Our oven had died and I wanted a stove right then, and I wasn't that picky about its features. It was hot, I was tired and I just wanted to go to the store and buy a stove, get it over with and come home. I did choose the Bosch because of its convection oven, and then discovered the happy bonus of it having a Dehydration mode.

We don't cook meals in the kitchen a lot in the summer either, preferring to grill outdoors in the shade. Also, I tend to keep the stovetop busy with canning and the oven busy with dehydrating tasks, so if we didn't grill outside, we'd have to eat cold sandwiches or salads far too often. Our kitchen is on the west side of the house, but shaded by trees, and it does get hot in the summer. When I am canning it is steamy and hot. I totally understand why so many people used to have summer kitchens separate from the main house.

George, Peppers get hotter in hot years, so your peppers should have had record-setting heat both last year and this year! A friend of mine thought that a Fatali pepper Tim gave her was a mild squash pepper back in the drought year of 2003 or 2005 and popped it in her mouth while her husband was trying to tell her "No, don't eat that one raw, he said it is very hot...." That probably was the last Fatali pepper she ever ate. The Fatali peppers were so much hotter than usual that year, which we blamed on the hot weather. I, too, if forced to choose one pepper to grow likely would grow a Jalapeno like Mucho Nacho or Chichimeca, and then I'd just make Jalapeno Gold Jelly instead of Habanero Gold.


Here is a link that might be useful: Previous Discussion on Dehydrators, Foodsaver

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 7:00PM
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Dawn, My stove is a JennAir but the convection oven can be set at those low settings for dehydrating. I'm sure your Bosch is much better and after a couple of months with my new Bosch mixer, I am totally sold on the brand. Al has a Bosch drill which he thinks is the greatest. The brand appears to have a lot of quality products.

I love peppers, but I want the taste but not enough heat to hurt. LOL

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 9:14PM
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George that sounds like a nice Jalapeno. One I'll have to mark and try to grow sometime.
I will list the varieties of chile and jalapeno varieties I grew in 012. This will give some idea of the diversity of my list.
Chile types grown were Agco Fire Red, Big Jim, Big Jim WC, Larson's Big Jim, Nu-Mex Heritage Big Jim, Big Jim Legacy, Islet Long, Namber Supreme, Jarales, Casados Native, Chimayo, Lumbre, Mosco, Hatch Green, AZ-20,Serrano Temperquino, Larson's Colossal Kim, Kim's Colossal, Zia Pueblo, Zia Pueblo Mix, Guajilla, Sandia, San Felipe and Barker's Hot. Jalapeno types grown were Craig's, Nu-Mex Vaquero,Gigante,Nu-Mex Jalamundo, Biker Billy, Rome, Grande, Larson's Jumbo and Black Hungarian. I also grew 4 India varieties that Chandra sent me that I like and they did well here. And the Hungarian Volcano that I mentioned before.

The Lumbre is the hottest chile type I grow followed by Barker's Hot.

I vary my list some every year. And hope to cut down the number of varieties some this year. But will still try to maintain a wide varieties of flavors and heat ranges. Carol you should try some of the milder NM chile types. They are grown more for flavor rather than heat. Jay

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 2:29PM
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Hi Dawn,

Many thanks for the link. I found Brokenbar's recipes, then read other posts where she described how she grows tomatoes and how she processes them.

I'm thinking about two purchases - a canner and a dehydrator - and trying to get a clear idea if one or both are worthwhile. I searched GW to find posts by you and others on the OK forum about drying tomatoes and processing vegetables.

I'm trying to decide whether to get a canner like yours, or a Presto 23 qt pressure canner and cooker. My husband wants a big stock pot (he used to work in restaurants and uses a big pot to make stock).

Canners: I have friends who swear by their pressure canners. I read that you have a Ball Elite 21 qt waterbath canner, not a pressure canner. That made me stop and think. I plan to use the canner for jam, jellies, pickles, vegetables - mainly tomatoes. I'm not clear on the pros and cons of these types so I've been reading. Still not clear.

Dehydrator: Am considering a Nesco dehydrator but not sure if I would process enough tomatoes to make it worthwhile. Doubt I would use it to make jerky.

I'm at the reading and thinking stage now, not the take action stage -- yet.

Take care,

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 3:25PM
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Pam, I have a water bath canner and a pressure canner, but this year I only used the water bath canner, which is really nothing but a large stock pot with a lid and a rack to fit in the bottom. So you could fill you husbands stock pot needs and your jelly making needs with one pot.

You might want to look at the Harvest Forum on GW before you make a decision about a pressure canner. There are some real experts on canning that frequent that forum.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 4:37PM
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i grew NuMex last year. the key and what i failed at was get them in the ground early! the plants wanted to do well and i would grow them again.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 6:59PM
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Jay, I have grown quite a few different peppers and I like most of them. For several years I have grown a small pepper that I original got from George and although I don't eat it, I dry them and grind them for Al.

I love the taste of poblano but would love to find one that would grow as big as those I see in the grocery store. Some years I have so many that I get tired of picking and one of my friends comes in to take the rest, but they are never large.

As we have discussed before, I have much better luck growing sweet peppers than I do hots and some of you have the opposite, so I think we can attribute the difference to weather conditions. Since (most years) I have considerably more rain than most of Oklahoma, that would appear to be the reason. Except for jalapeno types, it is usually fall before I have any hot peppers. I love Habanero Gold Jam and I could just eat it from the jar with a spoon if I would let myself. LOL

I freeze lots and lots of peppers every year for winter cooking and I love the fact they they are cut and ready to use and I can just shake out what I need. I wish I could find one or two NuMex type peppers that I liked and that weren't scorching hot, then maybe I would only plant those two, along with sweets and jalapenos. My least favorite peppers are banana, and I don't grow either the hot or sweet anymore. I usually grow bells in red, orange, yellow, and purple. The only reason I grow Purple Beauty is because it is normally the earliest bell to ripen in my garden.

BTW, my Baker Creek catalog arrived today.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 9:21PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


The general rule of thumb is that boiling water bath canning is used for high-acid foods (including fruit, pickled vegetables in vinegar, tomatoes and sauerkraut (which you ferment first and then can). You use steam-pressure canning for low-acid food like meat, seafood, poultry, most vegetables and combination products that contain both high-acid and low-acid ingredients like chili, soups, stews, for example.

An easy way to figure out if you would use a steam pressure canner enough to make buying one worthwhile or if a boiling water bath canner would be more useful to you, would be to buy the Ball Blue Book (or visit the website of the National Center for Home Food Preservation) and check out the recipes. As you read through the recipes, observe whether the ones that appeal to you are preserved via pressure canning or BWB canning.

Ironically, I dehydrate a lot more now that I have an oven that does it than I did when I had a dehydrator that sits on the counter. Of course, my oven is bigger than the dehydrator, so I can dehydrate a lot more at once. If you don't dehydrate a lot, you might not want to buy a dehydrator.

I generally use my BWB canner for everything that can be safely preserved using the BWB method, and freeze or dehydrate everything else. I know how to pressure can and I have done it, but it generally is a longer process (the processing time for some pressure canned items is over an hour) and I don't do it very often any more.

I have 4 stock pots in sizes we refer to as big, bigger, biggest and gigantic. I like my Ball Elite more than I like all 4 of them together because its bottom is much heavier and thicker and heats so evenly and does not scorch quickly. However, the set of stock pots that I have were not really high-quality but they've done the job for many years. You can use any stockpot as a boiling water bath canner and you can purchase canning jar racks in several different sizes so I would think it would be possible to find a canning rack that would fit in a stock pot. You can find a standard sized canning rack on the canning aisle at Wal-Mart, but for other sizes you'd likely have to look at Lee Valley Tools, Canning Pantry, or someplace else similar online that offers more sizes.

How you choose to preserve food usually depends on your family's preferences. My family prefers frozen green beans to canned ones, so I freeze all the ones we can't eat fresh instead of canning them. I have a friend whose family prefers the texture of canned green beans, so she pressure cans hers. Different strokes for different folks and all that.

You also have to consider your weather and its effect on your electrical power. We rarely have power outages here, being just far enough south to generally escape the ice storms that cause severe and long-lasting power outages across many parts of OK some years. Thus, I fill my freezers with food and know the risk of a power outage that lasts long enough for the food to spoil is incredibly low here. Since you're in hurricane country, you might be better off preserving more food by canning than by freezing unless you have a generator that would allow you to keep the freezer running.

For years and years I searched for a salsa recipe that was not as vinegary (or hot!) as my dad's and never really found one we loved (although we ate them all), until I found the Annie's Salsa recipe at the Harvest Forum. It is just ridiculous how much we love Annie's Salsa, particularly when I use Realemon and ReaLime as an approved sub for some of the vinegar. By varying the type of hot peppers I use, I make it with different levels of heat and indicate the extra heat by putting 3, 4 or 5 stars on the jar label.

I have found food preservation to be just as much of a fascinating journey as gardening has been. You just don't know where the food preservation activities will lead you. I used to be happy if I made a batch or two of peach and plum jelly, a couple of batches of salsa, a few batches of pickles and some canned tomatoes. Now I can endlessly all summer long until I've completely exhausted myself.

When you have technical questions, the experts over at the Harvest Forum can answer any question you can come up with.

It sort of amuses me that canning and other forms of food preservation have become so popular again. In the 1980s and 1990s I often felt like I was the only person my age who was canning. If I needed to ask a question, I was calling someone who was old enough to be my grandmother. Nowadays, everyone is canning. While I think that is great, it also means that the stores run out of canning supplies more than they used to.

For much of my adult life, people my age thought that I was weird because I preferred to grow our own veggies and fruit and to preserve as many of them as I could. Now, after being "out of style" for so long, I suddenly find that I am right back in style again. Tim and I get a big laugh out of that!


    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 11:03PM
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Hi Carol, thanks for the advice about the Harvest Forum. I didn't think about going where the experts gather. ;-)

I had a water bath canner, moved to a tiny cottage where we lived for several years. I had a small garden but it didn't produce enough to preserve so I gave the canner away. I'm looking for info about why people prefer one over the other. Harvest Forum sounds like the place where this has been discussed, probably often.

I had the same experience with poblanos that you describe - smaller than I wanted/smaller than grocery store - until this year when I planted the poblanos in the overflow garden (free range, benign neglect, no supplemental water, where excess plants go to grow or die). I have a big cleared area - about 60' x 60' - where I put things that don't require frequent surveillance - the blueberries, fig trees, bees hives, Irish and sweet potatoes, garlic beds, perennial seedlings - this is also where I put extra tomato and pepper plants that don't fit into the raised beds. I planted the poblanos here when I ran out of room in the raised beds. After planting them, I forgot about them for a long time - at least 4 months - until late Oct,. When Sandy was imminent, I stripped the garden of everything. When I harvested them, the poblanos were as big, or nearly as big, as the ones at the grocery store. Very satisfying.

But I don't know why. They were growing in very dry soil and were exposed in windy conditions. I didn't hover, waiting for them to bear, so the peppers may have had enough time to grow big. The long range precip and temp forecast for the coming year doesn't look so hot, but I plan to grow them again in 2013. I'd like to try a few varieties, see who stands above the crowd. I will try to plant them earlier too. This may not make any difference at all ...

Take care,

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 11:26PM
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We have a NESCO and love it.

Carol, that little pepper I passed on to you is presently called Frank's Thai Hot. My kids purchased the first two plants from Frank's Nursery, in Howell, NJ, in 2003. It is not Thai Hot, as I have seen it before. Though, that's how it was labeled. The closest commercial variety, that I've seen is called Thai Dragon. But that pepper doesn't hold its fruit in the same position as mine. Therefore, I finally settled on "Frank's Thai Hot," as a name. I did offer it in Seed Savers Exchange. Time will tell if it gets preserved.

I grow it every year. It's highly ornamental. It's early and hardy. I swear I could direct seed it and still get a good crop. It's so prolific that I almost never pick the fruit like normal peppers. I simply wait until the end of the season, cut the plant off at the ground, and hang it in the shop. The leaves fall off and I have literally hundreds of dried chiles for cooking, or flakes.


    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 9:51AM
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Thanks George. I have the name written down, but I couldn't think of it when I was typing. I knew it was 3 words and I could only remember the first two. We ripped out the vines this week and there were still a few peppers on the plants. It is a pretty plant with all of those nice little red peppers on it. Regardless of what you call it, we call it George's pepper at our house. LOL

I almost never buy peppers because I grow so many and freeze plenty for cooking, but I did buy a package of those little sweet peppers at Walmart last night to add to a relish dish I was taking to a friends house today. I still haven't decided which peppers they are, but I see one in the Johnny's catalog that looks like them. They are the sweetest peppers I have ever tasted and taste almost like fruit.

This weather is crazy, isn't it? I went to Walmart Saturday evening after dark and the temp at the bank was 73. In December, and at night???

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 7:20PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


I'm sure we probably have had days in the 80s in December in earlier years, although I cannot think of any offhand.

All my plants are so confused, and I am right there with them. The 'Pink Lemonade' honeysuckle is blooming, and so are some marigolds and periwinkles that froze to the ground on a night in the 20s and then regrew. The Laura Bush petunias didn't freeze and have been blooming all along. My two fig trees just finished dropping all their leaves last week, and now have new little buds forming. The trumpet creeper vine also froze but now is putting out new foliage.

In the greenhouse, the tomatoes and peppers are still flowering and setting fruit, and the lettuce is starting to act like it wants to bolt, even though I have the doors and vents open for as long as possible every day to help keep it cooler in there.

The Malva sylvestris 'Zebrina' and 'Magic Merlin' are in bloom, but so is the less-welcome native mallow that is a weed. Henbit is blooming in the garden and yard, and dandelions are blooming in the lawn.

Two young peach trees planted as bare root trees last February haven't even lost their leaves yet, and one old plum tree has random blooms and new leaves popping up every few days.

I'm beginning to wonder if this will be the winter that we don't have much winter weather at all.

The Marietta Christmas Parade is tonight and I am starting to wonder if Santa will make his big appearance wearing bermuda shorts, a t-shirt and sandals. It seems too hot for the old guy to wear that heavy suit of his. I hope he brings all of us some rain for Christmas.


    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 2:00PM
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If we don't get more cold weather then the insect problem will probably be a nightmare in the Spring. The weather is just unreal. I tried working outside for awhile, but the wind was blowing so hard I was afraid I would have to walk back from Kansas. We have a few small showers in the NE corner of the State and the weather report just said more rain clouds would form later tonight. I sure hope some of them form in our area. We started getting dark clouds just before dark.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 7:26PM
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My Numex Anaheim does very well. It's planted right next to the concrete sidewalk, a horrible spot and going on three years old. The leaves turn a little yellow, I add a bit of ironite or sulpher, about every 3 months or so. My soil is super alakaline, off the charts. The soil is shallow and hard, too.
This pepper is a very heavy producer, too!
I also have a jalape�o "tree", almost 4 years old in the same garden, along with two big, 4 year old eggplants.
I started new plants this spring. My favorite non-hots are a sweet scotch bonnet, sweet habanero, a mild, yellow jalape�o and anaconagua. Also growing chiltepans, native here and they love a nice shady spot in the heat of the summer. Itty bitty peppers, beautiful plants, great flavor, adds a lot to a hot sauce.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 10:58PM
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Hi! First time post- I picked up Sandia Hot new Mexico gren chile seeds and started them in seed trays a while back, they've germinated great and eventually transplanted them to 3-4inch containers once they reached four-5 leaves. Out of the 50, a good 30 are growing good with approx 9 leaves looking nice. I need help from here- when do I transplant them and how? I have 5 gallon buckets and would like to grow them all seperatelt in then, but I've already transplanted two to the buckets and put them outside (the others still in the 4 inch containers inside on window sill light). The two I tested in the 5 gallon buckets are not growing at all- the ones inside are still growing but the stalk is thin.
I also tested four others in a garden bed outside, and those are growing with a very thick stalk and beautiful green.
Ones inside on sill in 4 inch containers are a very thin stalk, light green, but good leaves.
What's the difference, is it too hot? Are 5 gallon buckets too big for one plant? And when do I move the inside guys to outside containers? I'm in southern California and its pretty hot out- but I'm not sure what's wrong. Need help! It's VERY hard to find information on growing actual chilies that I purchased in Albuquerque, New Mexico and how to grow them in southeb California. ANY advice would be greatly appreciated. I wanna get these beauties to flower! And why are the stalks from inside so thin?

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 5:24PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Andrea, I have no idea how to reply to your question since we are in Oklahoma and our weather may or may not be similar to yours. The nice thing about out weather is that it bounces all over the place like a ping pong ball sometimes, so we are not necessarily stuck in endlessly hot weather every summer (though some summers we are) We do have lots of hot weather most years though. So, how hot is 'pretty hot' right now for you there?

I put my spring crop of pepper plants in the ground in April and/or May. I don't remember exactly when I finished up, but the daily highs were varying between the 70s and 80s and the nights were staying above 50 degrees, though we had an occasional cold night. (I covered them up on the late cold nights.) They've done just fine and are producing great harvests already. I think I started harvesting peppers about 3 weeks ago. I added three chile plants for fall a week ago at the request of our son, and I planted them when we were having highs in the mid to upper 90s and lows in the 70s. They looked a little wilty their first day, but I kept them well-watered and they adjusted just fine. Those were transplanted directly into the ground in a raised bed and I always do my mid-summer transplanting in the evening so the plants can recover overnight in somewhat cooler temperatures and without the sun beating down on them.

Transplant your plants into their buckets as soon as you can, preferably in the evening so they can recover overnight from the almost-inevitable transplant shock. Disturb the roots as little as possible while transplanting them and water them well. You want the soil-less mix in the 5-gallon buckets to stay evenly moist but not soggy/waterlogged.

There is a huge difference between indoor and outdoor growing conditions. Plants outdoors not only have the benefit of very strong sunlight, but also the wind. When the wind blows, the movement helps encourage the plant stems to become more strong and stocky. Plants grown indoors have much weaker light, even if they are in a self-facing window, and they don't have as much wind movement. Both tomato and pepper plants (which are related to one another) benefit from wind movement that helps their stems thicken up as they grow. When I move plants from my greenhouse to the outdoors to harden them off, I'm always amazed at how quickly the stems get big and thick and stocky. After I put the plants in the ground, that improved stem growth continues.

Peppers adore heat but need consistent moisture (remember, though, moist not soggy). They will need to be fed consistently if grown in containers because every time you water, the water will flush nutrients out of the soil-less mix when water drains out of the drainage holes that I hope you have in the bottom of your 5-gallon containers. Peppers are very heavy feeders and appreciated being kept well-fed. With plants in the ground, you can feed less often, or not at all if they are in rich, fertile soil because the roots can spread and grow and search for nutrients. Plants in containers are restricted to the container so need to be fed often to make up for the leaching of nutrients by the water.

If you are in a part of Cali that has the Santa Ana winds, it is very important to put your containers in an area where something, whether it is the wall of a building, a solid fence (wood, metal, stucco, etc.) or a row of trees/shrubs can serve as a windbreak to help protect the plants from the winds.

Did you try asking at the California forum here at Garden Web? Or the Hot Pepper forum? I am sure there's lots of people at both forums who can help you with answers to your questions and undoubtedly some of them understand your specific climate better than I do.

Now, I am going to link some info on "Growing Chile" from the New Mexico Chile Pepper Institute webpage. They have lots of info on how to grow peppers on their website. You just have to read it and adapt the info to your specific growing conditions. You might note the linked info actually originated with the University of California at Santa Cruz. While Santa Cruz's coastal weather might be more mild than your weather in southern Cal, all the information in their document still is accurate.

Good luck,


Here is a link that might be useful: How To Grow Peppers

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 5:57PM
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Andrea NM chile peppers are dear to me. I was raised in NE NM and ate them basically my whole life. Many were grown in the area where I lived. There was an irrigation canal in the area and many grew several acres of them. So I will add my 2 cents. Again Dawn has covered everything very well but I will add a few thoughts and ask a question or two.

First no a five gallon bucket isn't too big. The first question I have is what growing medium do you have in the bucket? That might be the issue. Depending on the medium you might need to feed them.

Unlike Dawn I don't plant my chile peppers until it is warm to hot here. Which is usually late May to early June. Bell and sweet peppers will do well in cooler temps but I've had the chile types I grow get stunted and not grow for sometime if set out when it is too cool. I treat the chile types very much like I do okra. I transplant them the same time I'm planting okra seed. We each have to find out what works in our garden and climate. And again varieties make a difference also. Some are more tolerant and more adapted to cooler temps than others. The Sandia is an average chile type in my opinion. But not one of the best. In a normal year I will grow 12-14 different varieties of NM chile peppers. Each has their own flavor , heat level and use.
Again I would start with your growing medium, feed them if needed and they should grow fine. Many of the varieties grow well in semi arid regions where it is hot and dry. Although some require cool nights to really produce well. Jay

    Bookmark   July 4, 2014 at 10:53AM
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