Monday, January 03, 2011

Do you Peppadew?

If you haven't tried these damnable little things yet, then let me warn you. They are GOOD. I'm not a huge fan of hot stuff, although I can handle my share, but these peppers are just a hint of hot and then sweet, and even smoky. Lovely.

Now the part that makes my blood boil: they are patented. Yeah, not the preparation process, but the actual plant, seed, etc. A farmer in South Africa discovered this natural hybrid growing on his property, developed the sweetened, canned product, and laid rights to the plant and seeds themselves. They are actually known as juanita peppers. (The variety) They fall around 2500 on the Scoville scale. That is right in the neighborhood of the pepper we grew this year: the Cherry Bomb.

So, being ever frugal, and completely frustrated by not being able to create these delectable dainties ourselves, I fudged. I figured out the sugar brine that Peppadews are preserved with. Took our cache of Cherry Bombs, cleaned them (with gloves on!) and packed them up.


Captured the sweet. Missed the mark on the smoky...I believe that is the unique feature of the juanita pepper. Could try alternative spices...but I'm not sure what would do the trick. Cherry Bombs are larger than Juanitas, so the snack appeal is somewhat less, but I can live with that. Also, it was my first time canning peppers. I followed salsa directions for heat and time. May need to adjust to get slightly firmer results. Or it may be a matter of processing the peppers a little earlier, when they are crisper.

Definitely will grow more Cherry Bombs with plans to repeat and perfect the preserving. I think with a sampler jar at the market, I can do quite well in sales. Of course, that doesn't stop me from looking for the elusive Juanita. It's January, and seed catalogs are coming up on the agenda...

( Note: We will not be growing this pepper...ever.)


Susan said...

Well, that stinks. Having had the opportunity to sample a Peppadew (on your divine front porch), I share in your outrage. But, I will gladly volunteer to test your alternatives...'o)

LindaG said...

When I was looking at seedless grape varieties, I found there are a couple grown in Australia that are 'patented', too.

Really frustrating.

Good luck with your experiments. Maybe add a touch of liquid smoke or something similar next time. Or try grilling them before you brine them?

Kathy said...

What if you did a really short smoke on them before pickling? We bought a used little chief smoker so that I could smoke and dehydrate paprika peppers. Worked great! Next stop... chipotle peppers! :)

melanie said...

Kathy-does the smoker soften the peppers as it works? The idea sound delicious - but I am also struggling with a certain texture objective...

Kathy said...

Yes, it does. I haven't tried the peppers, but saw it on food network and was intrigued enough to look for the seeds as well :)

So, they are crunchy? Or firm?

Maybe smoked pepper pieces in the brine?