I love spicy food. Like, really love it. Mama Tixqueen came up with her famous taco casserole, chock full of jalapeño peppers, while she was pregnant with me (and because everything else tasted like cardboard). I ate a lot of peppers in utero, y’all.
My dad loved peppers and hot sauce, too, and as a kid, he tried to teach me what he called “hot sauce zen.” We would have contests to see who could eat the spiciest thing without showing signs of too much pain. He won. Whatever.
I love peppers and use them voraciously in my cooking. I’ll eat them raw. I’ll eat them pickled. I’ll eat them in sauces, stews, chopped, stuffed.. I haven’t met a pepper I didn’t like. Growing them in my garden, of course, was the next natural step.
Pepper growers are a different breed of gardener. Can I say that? I say this with the utmost love and respect, but, pepper gardeners, y’all are straight up crazy. Browse any online community of those dedicated to growing hot peppers and you’ll see a lot of stick-waving contests. Who’s got the hottest pepper? Whose pepper produces true to type? Who can get the most seeds to germinate?
I’m geeky, but I draw the line at GARDENING COMPETITION. Can’t we just enjoy it all? Why does it have to be about who has the biggest plants or the hottest peppers? Whatever.
I’m growing quite a few different pepper varieties this year. As you can see from the above photo, I grow my peppers in containers. I leave the raised bed for other things, and unfortunately, I haven’t gotten my Actual Yard to be a lot more than a big pile of rocky clay. It’s on my to-do list.
My number one goal, though, is to be a Real Southern Girl™, level up, and produce my own jalapeño jelly from one of my plants. Fingers crossed.
So what am I growing? Presenting my…
2015 Hot Pepper Grow List
1. Mucho Nacho
I wanted a jalapeño in the mix, but I didn’t really want to bother with your standard, run-of-the-mill jalapeño variety. Part of the fun of gardening, for me, is cultivating varieties I can’t necessarily buy at the supermarket.
Mucho Nacho takes that “run-of-the-mill” jalapeño and ups the ante a little, supposedly. Bigger, more substantial peppers that are great for pickling or stuffing. I love stuffed jalapeños.
These guys are pretty tame as hot peppers go, but I love their fresh, mild flavor. I grew Anaheims last year and Mom and I enjoyed chopping them up into burgers.
3. Dragon Cayenne
I’m excited about these because my cayenne variety last year was decimated by disease or a sinister something else. Cayenne pepper plants have so many little leaves. Looking forward to seeing how this one does!
Another new variety for me this year. I was attracted to these because of how long the fruits get–6 to 8 inches! I love big peppers. Unfortunately, something is already chomping on them in the garden (I suspect it’s a squirrel)
5. New Mexico 6-4L
As you can tell, I’m not growing a ton of super hot varieties, because the culinary uses for those varieties take a lot more work. This pepper is another mild poblano variety.
Stuffed poblano peppers. Cheese. Beans. Rice. ‘Nough said.
Honestly, not sure what kind of pepper this is.. or what to expect. I picked something I didn’t recognize at the Spring Planting Festival in April and went for it. I will report back on my findings.
8. Carolina Reaper
So, yeah, “I’m not growing a lot of super hots.” That’s true. I’m not. But.. if I am going to grow a super hot variety, why not try THE HOTTEST PEPPER IN THE WORLD? This guy’s only been around for a few years, so there’s a lot of controversy about whether or not the new cultivar is producing true-to-type. But, hey, Herb had them at the plant sale.. and I bought two plants.
Wish me godspeed.
9. New Mexico 6-4L
I would say that I’m growing this guy, but.. there is an Animal™ who likes to nibble on it, so we’ll see if the poor little dude survives.
Pretty standard. I originally only had one plant of these guys, but… I couldn’t resist grabbing another at Home Depot.
I had lots of luck with my serrano peppers last year. I love their flavor and am looking forward to having a nice crop this year, as my plant seems to be thriving already! Hooray.