Add some pep!

Tapa the World

2115 J St.
Sacramento, CA 95816

(916) 442-4353

A friend recently gave me a big bag of homegrown peppers. I wondered how hot they would be. Despite the coolish summer we’ve had, the serranos she grew in East Sac were incendiary!

Peppers tend to get hotter in spice level when the temperatures soar because it concentrates the juices. You might even find some jalapeños with stretch marks from growing quickly in hot weather. They appear as brown striations that don’t hurt the quality, but may indicate spiciness.

Several years ago, I had a special dish at Tapa the World (2115 J Street) that was just quickly sautéed whole mini chiles with olive oil and salt. Some were little balls of fire and some were almost sweet. It was like playing Russian roulette with your tongue.

If you have a bumper crop of peppers, consider making them into a ristra, a hanging bunch of dried peppers. String them carefully by the stems and let them dry in a well-ventilated warm area. Turn frequently to prevent mold and you’ll have chiles to last all winter!