12.14.2019

Red Hot Holiday Peppers!

Red Hot Holiday Peppers! (In The Philippines)


THAI CHILI PEPPERS

I have been able to find most things that I loved in the USA here in the Philippines and for most of the things that I can't find there are pretty good substitutes.

Jalapenos are one of my favorite items that seem to be scarce in the Islands. Now, this is probably only true in places like the province where I live. I have been able to find various brands of canned jalapenos in the city and some were good and some were pretty far from good. In ten years of looking I have yet to find anyone growing fresh jalapenos in the Philippines, which seems crazy to me because the Philippines has perfect weather for them. 

I grew jalapenos in the states and every year we had literally buckets of juicy fat jalapenos of superb quality. They start off green, but eventually they turn red. They also sweeten a bit when they redden. The general lore is that, whether red or green, the more whitish/brown streaks the jalapenos have down the side the hotter they are. I have found that to be virtually true.

A ROW OF JALAPENO PLANTS
A row of our jalapenos in USA

Here is a closeup of the bottom two plants:


JALAPENO PLANTS FULL OF FRUIT

You can see that those tiny plants are stuffed with fat green peppers.

In the markets I would see the little peppers like the one in the image above and I would always ask people if they were hot. Always the vendors would reply, "hindi," so I never bought them. Then I figured out that there was a miscommunication. People in the Philippines think that these peppers are not hot due to the difference between the way they consume them and the way in which I like to eat them.

Filipinos use one or two of these peppers in soup. After cooking the peppers a good while the heat is gone.

I like to eat them fresh and just bite right into them. Eaten this way you experience the full heat. The heat varies from none to #$@! and averages right around the typical Serrano and probably a bit hotter than the average jalapeno.  I believe that these particular peppers might be Thai chilies. They have papery skin and are nowhere near as appetizing  as juicy jalapenos.

We also have of "siling labuyo" growing around our place. They are called "bird's eye" peppers and they are about the size of a fingernail. Siling labuyo can be extremely hot. I do not prefer them because they do not taste good sometimes. The chickens do love to eat them though. 

I have heard rumors of "sili mataba" also known as red jalapeno, but I have never seen them here.

We recently visited the market and I could not resist overbuying the peppers because they looked so good and fresh. To avoid letting them go to waste I decided to do a quick pickle prep.

So I chop up the peppers:


Add some garlic and a pinch of salt:


Pack the chopped peppers, garlic and salt into a jar filled with vinegar:

THAI CHILI PEPPERS IN VINEGAR

Wait about two weeks:



and



But I doubt they will last two weeks.

Update 12-15 


The peppers are very good, but my wife has forbidden me to open the jar at the dinner table ever again.

Update 12-22


None of the peppers were able to make it to the two week point, but they definitely get better with time. They plump up and the skin softens. I intend to reuse the vinegar for the next batch and eventually it will be super hot.
 

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