Saturday, September 15, 2018

An Old Nerd Loves A New Pepper

This is the Numex Orange Suave.

It is a pepper.

I grew it.

I grew a bunch of other stuff, because I always do, but except for the skinny Asian eggplants where a couple of them came out looking like poop emojis, they’re not very interesting. The Numex Orange Suave is interesting.

Basically, it’s a habanero. That they’ve bred the heat out of. Literally by a factor of around 100,000. So if you’ve wondered what people say when they talk about the bright, citrusy flavor of habaneros because whenever you eat one all you can think is DEAR GOD SAVE ME WHAT HAVE I DONE, like me, these peppers are magical.

Technically, they do have some heat. If you don’t take the seeds out and don’t take the ribs out and use them, there’ll be a brief heat that dissipates very quickly. But it dissipates so quickly that if you cook them at all, or chop them up and put them in something you don’t eat immediately? Effectively zero heat and all flavor. You’d have to add heat from another source just to get these up to “mild”.

The plant is also prolific as fuuuuuuuuck. I’ve been picking ripe ones for MONTHS off a plant I started in early May. Dozens and dozens and dozens of them off one plant, and they’re still coming in. It’s an unparallelled success in the home gardening arena. I have two ice cube trays full of pulverized ones to tide me over the winter until I grow it again, and I will grow it again. I like this pepper so much I’m going to try and dry one out and harvest the seeds from it in case for whatever reason the plant sale where I got them this year doesn’t have them next year. I’ve never done that. It’s fucking unprecedented and some serious hippie shit.

I’ve used them in adaptations of habanero recipes with some success, and it’s tough to tell if the failures were the recipes themselves or the fault of using a different pepper. And I’ve just... used them in stuff where I thought their flavor would help, like in slaw dressings and corn salads and salsas. Oh and I put them in sausage, which is why I’m posting this first so I can reference them in the sausage post.

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