Habanera Peppers and saving the seeds
By Joseph Parish
A recent conversation with a close friend revealed his concern about saving vegetable seeds in the event of a world wide collapse in the infrastructure. His major concern was the saving of non hybrid type seeds. I explained to him that there are currently several rather large storage facilities which specialize only in saving these heirloom seeds in the event of disasters.
He rushed to his garden and shortly returned with about 12 beautiful habanera peppers and placed them on the table in front of us. I would like to dry these peppers and reserve the seeds for future use he explained. This way I will be able to use the seeds for next years planting carefully replacing those which I used.
I have successfully saved seeds for many years now so I was vaguely familiar with the process. First you have to make certain that the peppers or vegetables that you have selected are actually mature. In the case of my friends peppers I would let the pods grow to maturity until they reach the red color stage and start to be wrinkly. I would then split the pods open and gently remove the seeds. You should then wash them in order to remove any of the membrane that may be present. Next, I pat the seeds dry with a hand towel and let them dry overnight for 24 hours on paper towels.
At the end of the 24 hour period I check to make certain that they are dry and carefully place them into small paper bags which are then slid into jar with a lid firmly attached. Make sure you label the jar with the name of the vegetable and the current date. You should plan to use the seeds with a two year period of time.
Just to get you off to a good start I have included a short recipe that you may try. We used my friends fresh picked habanera peppers and prepared them as stated below. The recipe is for Stuffed Habanera Peppers.
This recipe is simply awesome and presents a bit of a spicy bite as you serve these habanera peppers stuffed with a delightful Italian sausage mixture and then baked in tomato sauce.
8 mature habanera peppers
2 tablespoons of butter
1/2 cup of finely chopped onion
1/2 cup of cubed celery
1 can of crushed tomatoes
1 small can of tomato sauce
2 cloves of minced garlic
2 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
2 1/2 teaspoons of salt
1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
2 pound of mild Italian sausage
1 1/2 cups of Italian bread crumbs
Cut the tops of the peppers off and remove the seeds. Bring to boil a large pot of salted water. To this water add the peppers and reduce the heat. Simmer the peppers until they become tender but make sure they are still firm. Usually this will take about five minutes. Drain the peppers and set them aside.
Now heat up the butter in a skillet. Sauté the onions and celery until they are tender, should take about three to five minutes. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, the can of tomato sauce and the garlic. Season the mixture with the Italian seasoning, the salt and the pepper. Simmer uncovered for approximately ten minutes. Preheat your oven at this time to 350 degrees F.
In a large mixing bowl continue to combine the egg, some salt and pepper, the Worcestershire sauce and the Parmesan cheese. Mix in the sausage, the bread crumbs and the tomato sauce mixture.
Fill each of the peppers with this meat mixture. Place all the filled peppers into a three quart casserole dish and cover them with any remaining tomato sauce. Bake for 1 hour and you are ready to experience a new culinary delight.
Copyright @ 2009 Joseph Parish
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