Picking green peppers
I’m in Kentucky. We’re due for a hard frost this weekend. I have been harvesting my cayenne peppers as they turn red and have had a great haul. I still have loads of peppers but they’re all green. With this frost coming, if I pick these green peppers, do you think they’ll still be hot and usable? I’m guessing they’ll still turn red after I pick them. I don’t know. I’m still new at this.
Yes. They’ll still be very usable. And if you leave them sit in a box, they should turn red, as well. I had two bushels of “leftover” peppers of all kinds and we had to pick them because of a very cold snap. Slowly, all of them turned red! — Jackie
My sis and I shared a package of Hopi squash seeds. Now we share the same problem. We would like to make the seeds available to others, but do not know how to tell if the plants have cross pollinated. How do we tell if the seed is true? One source says the seeds should be white, another says the seeds should be brown. We have both, all look like long, beautiful grey watermelon on the outside, even though the plants were sown on different farms, and not near other winter squash. What should the squash look like on the inside when it is ripe. Thick or thin? Pale or bright colored orange? Do we need to hold them in storage for a bit to improve flavor and quality?
Forest Grove, Oregon
If you only planted one Cucurbita maxima squash/pumpkin species, and you had no close neighbors who did, your seed will be pure. Some common C. maximas are Atlantic Giant, Howden pumpkins, Hubbard, Sunshine, and quite a few other winter squash. Summer squash, acorn and butternut squash are NOT C. maximas and won’t cross with them. Hopi Pale Grey squash are roundish or oblong and have a “belly button” on the blossom end. The skin of mature squash is light blue gray. The inside has a quite thick orange flesh. The seeds are hard, fat, and whitish tan. (You don’t eat Hopi Pale Grey squash seeds without cracking the seed covering off; it’s too tough!) Nearly all winter squash should be stored at least a month or more before eating for the sweetest flavor. I’m glad you had a good harvest! Our squash were direct seeded and came in late. So many were quite immature. But we brought the largest ones indoors and they are gradually turning blue gray. The taste won’t be as good as truly ripe squash, and the seeds may not be mature, but at least we can eat the squash! We’ll do better next year! — Jackie
Canning pumpkin soup
Can I “can” pumpkin soup? Whenever I make it I usually have a lot of it — much more than I care to eat over the next few days. Here’s what I put in it:
2 cups pumpkin puree
2 cups chicken broth
Ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger to taste
1 cup sugar (to taste)
A dash of onion powder
And then I also add a little butter and then a cup or two of milk. I know I can’t can it with the butter or milk, but could I make it without that, can it, and then just add the milk and butter as needed?
Lowman, New York
I see no reason why you couldn’t can up your pumpkin soup, provided that you didn’t add the milk and butter (it would over-heat and a scorched taste might result). Mix up your soup, being light on the seasonings, as the flavors get stronger in canning and storage, then heat it to boiling. Ladle hot soup into hot jars, leaving 1 inch of headspace. Process quarts for 90 minutes and pints for 75 minutes at 10 pounds pressure. If you live at an altitude above 1,000 feet, consult your canning book for directions on increasing your pressure to suit your altitude, if necessary. — Jackie