How To: Chili Gardens


| 12/30/2009 3:45:48 PM


Patsy Bell HobsonPatsy Bell Hobson is a garden writer and a travel writer. For her, it's a great day when she can combine the two things she enjoys most: gardening and traveling. Visit her personal blog at http://patsybell.blogspot.com/ and read her travel writings at http://www.examiner.com/x-1948-Ozarks-Travel-Examiner. 

Chili herbs and spices are easy to grow in the heat of my full-sun zone 6 garden. However, it is the impending snowstorm that has gotten me to start thinking about chili. As you page through the seed catalogs this winter, consider growing a salsa garden or a chili garden. Peppers are colorful enough to plant in a full-sun flower bed—not for the flowers, which are usually small, white and unremarkable. The foliage can be lush and the color variety of the peppers ranges as wide as the heat levels.

Nutrients in peppers depend on the variety and maturity. Both sweet and hot peppers are high in vitamins A and C. If you make your own chili seasoning, you will get many levels of taste and a lot less salt.

1-4-2010-3
Chili con carne ingredients change according to the region and the cook.
Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons 

Start with ancho chili peppers, the key ingredient in chili seasonings. These rich and flavorful peppers have very little heat. I buy whole, dried peppers and crush them in a plastic bag for pepper flakes. The best way to crush any kind of dried pepper is to place them inside of a heavy plastic zipper bag. Then, smash the dried peppers.



Use gloves when working with peppers. Even the slightly hot peppers can burn. I can't say this enough: WEAR GLOVES. If you don't have gloves, put your hands in plastic produce bags or plastic zipper bags.



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