Author Topic: Growing some Calabrian chilies this year  (Read 4576 times)

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Offline Jet_deck

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Re: Growing some Calabrian chilies this year
« Reply #40 on: May 01, 2013, 09:53:12 PM »
This chili experiment could turn out to be great, if some of you briany types can duplicate their process.  Why is there so little on the interweb about these chili's and how to exactly prepair them.  Maybe I should consider taking Italian at a night class or by CD.  Or, I guess I could just by more Calabrian Chili's from Amazon. :-D
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Offline jeff v

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Re: Growing some Calabrian chilies this year
« Reply #41 on: May 01, 2013, 11:17:29 PM »
I think the drying is an important step. The ones you buy in the jar with oil look like they have been dried.

What about the mint? I've seen it in several recipes.

Hmm, I've never thought hey were dried but also never really paid attention. The mint sounds odd to me.
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Offline jeff v

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Re: Growing some Calabrian chilies this year
« Reply #42 on: May 01, 2013, 11:20:34 PM »
Why would you dry them only to preserve them in oil? Doesn't make sense to me.
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Offline tinroofrusted

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Re: Growing some Calabrian chilies this year
« Reply #43 on: May 01, 2013, 11:32:35 PM »
Why would you dry them only to preserve them in oil? Doesn't make sense to me.

Maybe the idea is that you remove some of the moisture which would help in preserving them, but not too much. The recipe quoted above (and which I now see was unearthed by Craig earlier) cautions that you shouldn't dry them to the point of becoming brittle.  Also, when you take out some water, then they probably are more receptive to soaking up that delicious olive oil. Sort of like a sponge. 

The jar I got (which is cherry peppers from Italian Harvest) lists the following ingredients: Hot whole calabrian pepers, extra virgin olive oil, vinegar and salt. No herbs. And they are really delicious too.  They cost me $14 for a 6.7 oz. jar at Claro's Italian deli. Very expensive, but worth it!  I would love it if I could grow some that would taste anywhere near as good. 

Offline jeff v

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Re: Growing some Calabrian chilies this year
« Reply #44 on: May 01, 2013, 11:43:07 PM »
Maybe the idea is that you remove some of the moisture which would help in preserving them, but not too much. The recipe quoted above (and which I now see was unearthed by Craig earlier) cautions that you shouldn't dry them to the point of becoming brittle.  Also, when you take out some water, then they probably are more receptive to soaking up that delicious olive oil. Sort of like a sponge. 

The jar I got (which is cherry peppers from Italian Harvest) lists the following ingredients: Hot whole calabrian pepers, extra virgin olive oil, vinegar and salt. No herbs. And they are really delicious too.  They cost me $14 for a 6.7 oz. jar at Claro's Italian deli. Very expensive, but worth it!  I would love it if I could grow some that would taste anywhere near as good.

This made me want to check the labels for two different sizes I have for Tutto Calabria (retail and food service size). They taste the same, and I don't pick up any basil. Maybe slight oregano or even mint(power of suggestion?)
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Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Growing some Calabrian chilies this year
« Reply #45 on: May 02, 2013, 08:48:41 AM »
Maybe the idea is that you remove some of the moisture which would help in preserving them, but not too much.

I think this is right.
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Offline Jet_deck

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Re: Growing some Calabrian chilies this year
« Reply #46 on: May 02, 2013, 10:01:25 AM »
If you cut one in half, the skin is very, very thin and the "meat" isn't much thicker.  I don't think the salt adds much in the form of preservation as it does to help the oil absorb.  The vinegar probably does most of the preservation?
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Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Growing some Calabrian chilies this year
« Reply #47 on: May 02, 2013, 10:24:57 AM »
If you cut one in half, the skin is very, very thin and the "meat" isn't much thicker.  I don't think the salt adds much in the form of preservation as it does to help the oil absorb.  The vinegar probably does most of the preservation?

I would say in this case, vinegar is more of a flavoring, but it certainly aids preservation as well.
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Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Growing some Calabrian chilies this year
« Reply #48 on: May 03, 2013, 01:10:46 AM »
I finally got them big enough to plant. They really grow slow in the cold weather we've been having. It's been two months to this point. Next year, I'm going to start the seeds in January.
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Offline tinroofrusted

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Re: Growing some Calabrian chilies this year
« Reply #49 on: May 03, 2013, 07:59:12 PM »
Got my seeds!


Offline hotsawce

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Re: Growing some Calabrian chilies this year
« Reply #50 on: May 04, 2013, 04:13:04 PM »
Just wanted to chime in and say I love that you guys are growing some of your own stuff. I don't have much of a green thumb, but I've been reading up on "square foot gardening" and organic growing and though I may not have the opportunity to grow some things that need a whole summer here in NJ, I'm looking to get into it and will likely post pictures or a journal when I start (all missteps included, ha.)


Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Growing some Calabrian chilies this year
« Reply #51 on: May 05, 2013, 01:03:17 PM »
I just pulled a leaf out of a Tutto Calabria Long Hot bottle, and I'm pretty sure it was a mint leaf.
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Offline tinroofrusted

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Re: Growing some Calabrian chilies this year
« Reply #52 on: May 12, 2013, 10:06:56 PM »
OK, these Calabrian chiles are my new obsession. They are so delicious.  I think the salt and oil combine with the peppers in some sort of alchemical reaction.  I am dying for my seeds to germinate (nothing so far  :().  Here is an article I ran across about "Calabrian chile culture".  Several varieties are identified, including the "naso di cane", or "dog's nose".

http://www.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474976725192

Quote
Here in the States, peperoncino refers to those tangy, pickled peppers you get with a deli sandwich or with a pizza.  Although very tasty, this is not the full extent of the peperoncino.  In actuality, there are several varieties of peperoncini grown in Calabria.  These varieties include sweet peppers, such as the peperone, which literally means "big pepper", to the more spicy variety, such as the Italian Cayenne pepper, the naso di cane, or "the dog's nose".  The ciliega (cherry), amando (loving), and sigaretta (cigarette) are also varieties of chiles grown in Calabria.

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Growing some Calabrian chilies this year
« Reply #53 on: May 12, 2013, 10:16:33 PM »
OK, these Calabrian chiles are my new obsession. They are so delicious.  I think the salt and oil combine with the peppers in some sort of alchemical reaction.  I am dying for my seeds to germinate (nothing so far  :().  Here is an article I ran across about "Calabrian chile culture".  Several varieties are identified, including the "naso di cane", or "dog's nose".

http://www.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474976725192


Some of mine took the better part of a month to germinate. Next year, I will start in January and keep them at 70F+. It's just now starting to get warm here, and they are just now really starting to grow. These plants seem to like heat.
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Offline tinroofrusted

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Re: Growing some Calabrian chilies this year
« Reply #54 on: May 12, 2013, 11:39:41 PM »
These plants seem to like heat.

I guess Calabria gets pretty hot in the summer. Probably they will take to Texas just fine.  Here it doesn't get so hot so maybe I will need a little mini-greenhouse to get them to grow (assuming they germinate at some point!).

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TinRoof

Offline tinroofrusted

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Re: Growing some Calabrian chilies this year
« Reply #55 on: May 15, 2013, 09:36:47 AM »
I cleaned up the translation of the recipe I posted and thought I would put it here for posterity: This came from
http://www.deliciousalento.com/2011/08/peperoncini-piccanti-sottolio.html

Ingredients:
- 500 grams hot peppers like "tiaulicchi" or "little devils"
- 500 grams of sweet peppers like "horn" (for a superhot preserve you can omit them!)
- 4 cloves garlic (pressed)
- Dried mint as needed
- White wine vinegar as needed
- Salt as needed
- Extra virgin olive oil  as needed
- Airtight glass jars

Preparation:
Clean the chiles with a cloth, remove the stalks and and put them in the sun to dry. It'll take 4-5 days to dry them, but remember to bring them back in the house every day at dusk so as to protect them from moisture!  When they are ready (faded but not too dry; they must not crumble!), score them one by one at the tip with scissors (I  leave the seeds, which give the maximum hotness!).  Now add the white wine vinegar until if they absorb it, leaving less than a finger at the bottom, salt them (the salt will preserve them!) and season them with dried mint and pressed garlic.  Let them rest, covered by a cloth, for a whole day and mix them from time to time.  Take the sterilized glass jars (I do it quickly in the microwave) submerge chilies and cover completely in oil (you already know: oil extra virgin olive oil). Close the jars hermetically and let them rest in the pantry for a few weeks, at least 3-4!  By this winter they will be the ideal condiment on just about EVERYTHING! They will warm both the body and the heart! DELICIOUS!

Note re: potential health risks of canning peppers
Further research on the web indicates that there are some potential health risks associated with canning low acid vegetables such as peppers in oil, due to the risk of botulism poisoning. (My translation of this recipe is not an endorsement of this method of preparation.) I've read some comments on various websites that recommend against home canning low acid vegetables in oil. Others say that use of a pressure canner is recommended.  I don't have any expertise in food safety. If anyone here has expertise in this area I would be interested in your comments on whether it is safe to can homegrown peppers in oil. 


Offline tinroofrusted

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Re: Growing some Calabrian chilies this year
« Reply #56 on: May 23, 2013, 10:05:56 PM »
I recently ran across some peppers (C. Pubeescens) known as "Manzano" or "Peron" (in Mexico), and "Rocoto" in Peru, and "Locoto" in Bolivia. They look like a large habanero, or a small orange bell pepper.  They are very common in the Andes.  The seeds are black!  The flavor is medium hot, and very fruity. Although less hot than the Calabrian cherry peppers packed in oil, I found the flavor quite delicious.  What interested me is that they are usually used fresh because of their thick wall that makes them not very good candidates for drying.  But that same quality might make them a good candidate for canning.  I am on the lookout for some more of these to do a test batch of chiles packed in oil. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capsicum_pubescens

Regards,

TinRoof
« Last Edit: May 23, 2013, 10:50:46 PM by tinroofrusted »

Offline tinroofrusted

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Re: Growing some Calabrian chilies this year
« Reply #57 on: May 28, 2013, 10:14:40 PM »
Here's a bit more information about Calabrian canning methods. This comes from the book "My Calabria" by Rosetta Constantino.  The traditional Calabrian method of preserving foods is called "Sott'Oli" which translates to "Under Oil", or "Below Oil".  The vegetables are heavily salted, boiled in red wine vinegar, and then covered completely in oil.  Traditionally the vegetables would be stored in an earthenware crock which would be kept in a cool place. A weight would be placed over the vegetables to keep them under the oil.  The book does not give a recipe for hot peppers preserved in this way, but it does give recipes for Zucchini Sott'Olio and Melanzane Sott'Olio  (Eggplant), and Pomodori Verdi Sott'Olio (Green Tomatoes).  I would think that the preserving method for hot red peppers would be pretty close to the methods prescribed for these  vegetables.  I will post a recipe for a couple of these a bit later. 

Regards,

TinRoof

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Growing some Calabrian chilies this year
« Reply #58 on: May 28, 2013, 10:19:20 PM »
I would think that the preserving method for hot red peppers would be pretty close to the methods prescribed for these  vegetables.  I will post a recipe for a couple of these a bit later. 

Regards,

TinRoof

I think you're right, and I'm really looking forward to the recipes. There is no reason why this method can't be combined with traditional canning methods to further assure safety. My guess is that this would be an accurate description of the preparation of the Calabrian chilies we buy now.
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Offline tinroofrusted

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Re: Growing some Calabrian chilies this year
« Reply #59 on: May 29, 2013, 02:12:27 PM »
POMODORI VERDI SOTT'OLIO (GREEN TOMATOES PRESERVED IN 0IL)*

Ingredients:
5 pounds (2.25 kilos) green (unripe) tomatoes
1/2 cup (70 grams) kosher salt
6 cups (1.5 litres) white wine vinegar
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
5 cloves garlic
4 small fresh hot red peppers, such as cayenne or Thai, or to taste, sliced crosswise
Extra virgin olive oil for topping jars

Method:
Cut the tomatoes into 1/4-inch-thick (6-millimeter-thick) slices. Make layers of tomatoes and salt in a stainless steel or plastic colander. Top them with a heavy weight. (A water-filled pan smaller than the colander works well.) Let stand for 24 hours to draw out the juices. 

In a heavy 8-quart pot (stainless steel or other non-reactive metal), combine the vinegar and 3 cups (750 ml) water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the tomato slices, pushing them down into the liquid with a wooden spoon. Return to a boil and cook until the tomatoes are tender, not mushy, about one minute. Do not overcook the tomatoes or they will fall apart.

Drain the tomatoes and place in a large colander. Top them with a heavy weight to squeeze out the liquid. Let the tomato slices drain under the weight for 15-20 minutes or until cool enough to handle.

Cover a table with thick cardboard, and then lay clean kitchen towels on top of the cardboard.  Arrange the tomato slices on the towels, spreading the tomatoes apart. Let dry at room temperature for 24 to 48 hours. They should look dry but still feel a little damp. 

Place a layer of tomato slices in a wide-mouth 1 quart canning jar or in each of two 1-pint canning jars.  Sprinkle with some of the mint, garlic, and hot peppers and drizzle with olive oil.  Repeat the layering until you have used all the tomatoes, pressing gently on the layers as you make them.  When you have made the final layer, top with enough oil to submerge the tomatoes completely. 

Cover and refrigerate for at least two weeks before sampling to give the tomatoes time to absorb the seasonings. Bring them out of the refrigerator for about an hour before serving to allow the oil to liquefy. Return leftover tomatoes to the refrigerator, topping with oil so they remain completely submerged.  If kept submerged in olive oil and refrigerated, the tomatoes will last for up to six months. 

*Adapted from My Calabria, by Rosetta Constantino (2010, W.W. Norton & Co.)