It gets a bit overwhelming doesn’t it? The summer fruits. All those bags of cherries, boxes of blueberries, stacks of peaches, apricots and nectarines, piles of figs, that will disappear in the blink of an eye. Not to mention the mini sweet peppers that appear for a short time in summer.
I have given you recipes from my grandmother Vera Anderson for red pepper jam, and other vintage ideas for saving green tomatoes (pickles or piccallili), blackberries (cordial), and a Mennonite cookbook suggestion for freezing pie fillings–-pear, peach, blueberry, and even green tomato work well.
But those recipes merely scratch the surface. The next few installments of Ancestors in Aprons will suggest ways to deal with this onslaught of summer fruits and vegetables. Rest assured I’ve been freezing pie fillings as fast as those summer fruits jump into my grocery cart, but as much as I love pie–there are other ways to eat summer fruits and vegetables.
Roasted Mini Peppers
- Start with a one pound package of Mini Peppers, olive oil, garlic salt and herbs (preferably fresh) of your choice.
- Heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Rinse peppers and blot dry. In a bowl large enough to hold all the peppers, mix 1/4 cup olive oil, garlic salt, and herbs of your choice. I used fresh thyme and oregano for an Italian flair.
- Scoop the peppers out of the oil with a slotted spoon (saving oil) and place on foil-lined cookie sheet or broiler pan.
- Bake for ten minutes. Turn peppers with tongs and return to oven for another ten minutes. Bake until peppers start to collapse and turn black (You decide when enough is enough) .
- Remove from pan and let cool slightly. While the peppers are cooling I turn the oven off and put a canning jar and its cap in the oven (some spaghetti sauces come in jars appropriate for reuse). That would thoroughly sterilize the jar.
- Remove stems from smaller peppers (the seeds are edible, so don’t worry about them. Usually if you pull the stem out, most of the seeds will come with them.
- Any larger peppers can be cut in half lengthwise and have the pulp and seeds removed along with the stem.
- Carefully remove the canning jar from the oven. Using tongs, drop the peppers in the jars, and screw on lid.
- Pour in the reserved seasoned oil, and add as much olive oil as needed to almost cover the peppers.
The peppers covered with oil will keep in the refrigerator about two weeks.
When the peppers are thoroughly cooled, they can be frozen BEFORE adding oil , to keep them even longer.
How do I use them?
- Add them to lunch meat sandwich.
- Stir into meatloaf.
- Dress spaghetti with marinated peppers and oil.
- Chop into an omelet.
- Stir them into corn or green beans to liven up canned vegetables.
- Chop and scatter in a salad–green salad, macaroni salad, potato salad.
- Mix them into soups or stews in the last minutes of cooking.
- Eat them straight out of the jar.
Disclaimer: I have to admit that despite the fact that this recipe is in the spirit of our waste-not grandmothers, I have not found evidence that our great-grandmothers roasted vegetables in this manner. I have to believe that with open fire cooking, some vegetables must have fallen into the coals. And someone must have realized that seasoning with herbs and oil would make them even tastier. Nevertheless, the concept of roasted vegetables seems to be a recent style in American cooking, starting in the 1950’s when backyard grilling became popular.