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Green pepper pickled in Kombucha

Every autumn some peppers do not have time to mature to red. They can be eaten green. But this year, almost all of them were still green when I had to harvest before the first frost. They keep well in the fridge, just the taste deteriorates after a week or two. A change I do not like – they’re going to taste like peppers from the supermarket, when they get this off-taste. To avoid the off-taste, I usually salts my peppers lightly, and put them in the refrigerator. This year I tried kombucha pickling instead.

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Green pepper pickled in Kombucha

I have for some years made kombucha regularly. Gradually I discovered that kombucha have more uses than just as a healthy soft drink. Inspired by “The Art of Fermentation” written by Sandor Ellix Katz, I covered the cut green peppers with kombucha, added a pinch of salt and poured a couple of teaspoons olive oil on top. The closed glass I put in the fridge for maturing, unlike how I make kombucha.

The pickled green peppers turned out wonderful. They are still crunchy, has maintained a good pepper flavour, has a delightful sour tinge and no added sugar. It has not been necessary to heat or boil, should be great if you prefer raw food. The only drawback is that the colour of the peppers have changed to olive green. A light kombucha SCOBY developed on top. I removed it once, it didn’t develop again.
The kombucha pickled green peppers are delicious as a condiment on rye bread open sandwich and with hot meals.


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Today’s harvest

Today’s harvest included:

Eggplants/Aubergines. Solanum melongena I harvested some of the late fruits, certainly failing to produce seeds. They are grown in open ground, because I am trying to develop an open-air variety. This summer’s heavy rains made me pessimistic, but now many of the plants stands out there in the rough weather with one, two or more fruits. I wonder if water was a limiting factor in the other years I’ve grown eggplants out in the garden?
Apparently they have thrived with melons in the same bed. The melon plants was growing fine all summer, but the rain have prevented any pollination – no melons this year 😦

Groundcherries. Physalis sp. In the bowl is what I picked up from the ground today. I last cleared the ground two days ago. I find the taste very similar to cape gooseberries. The fruit is somewhat smaller. They are grown outdoors, and gives a good yield, in contrast to the low yield of cape gooseberries in my climate. The fruit should not be picked from the plant, but picked up when they fall to the ground. They are protected by the delicate husk, so they don’t get bruised or dirty.
This year I got a much better yield than last year. Primarily I think, because they have a more fertile soil. I grow two cultivars, one without a name, and one called ‘Goldie’. There is no big difference, they taste the same, but ‘Goldie’ is probably a bit bigger in growth and fruit.
Some fruits are ready to eat picked from the ground, others have to further mature for a few days. The berry turn yellow when the delicate aroma and sweetness emerges.

Sweet pepper. Capsicum annuum Purple bell peppers (No cultivar name) and red-orange-yellow ’Alma Paprika’ FS584 apple pepper, both from outdoors. ’Alma Paprika’ FS584 is known to be early, and it has lived up to my high expectations. The plant is densely packed with fruit, and even though I’ve picked these 4, it still seems overloaded with fruits 🙂 The purple bell pepper is the big surprise. I thought it was a greenhouse variety, but it has fared well in open ground, and set four purple bell peppers.

Tomatillo. Physalis ixocarpa We have been pleased with the tomatillos. They do not taste of much, or in any way significant, apart from slightly acid. But in sauce and casseroles gives a wonderful taste to the other ingredients. Could it be the umami taste? They go well with most ingredients in the kitchen, are easy to grow, and gives a good yield. It might be clever to tie them up a bit. But when the fruit comes with its own wrapper, you can safe time and just let it ramble along the ground. This is one of the vegetables you can eat daily.


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Pot Maker – my new toy

Last summer I was presented a pot maker, a small tool for paper pot making. I didn’t use it until now, but came to love by first paper pot finished. No more hurling around in our house and garden looking for small pots, used beakers and the like. Now I only have to find the little pot maker and an old newspaper.

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How I use my little pot maker

I start finding a newspaper section, preferably without glue in the folding, and cut it in three slices. Now I have a lot of paper strips in the right size. Then I fold a little top border, and roll it around the pin. I can do it quicker along the edge of the kitchen table. Press the surplus paper under the bottom, place it in the saucer and rock it gently to lock the bottom of the pot. Now the difficult part, to slide the new paper pot off the pin. I do it by pushing gently from top of the pin.
Now it speeds up, and a collecting tray is most convenient.

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Sweet pepper in the new paper pots

All pots came in use at once for my small sweet pepper plants. Now they live in a warn out wash tub.

All this happened on april 2. —–time is running 🙂

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Typical sweet peppers from 12 plants of 2. generation from a cross

This year I have grown 13 plants of my unintended pepper cross. One plant quickly got diseased after transplant, lots of brown spot on the leaves, that soon dropped to the ground. I discarded this plant late, to ensure a heavy disease pressure on the other plants, to reveal any others with the same tendency. No other plants was infected, except for a few minor spots of no importance.

Plant #2 also has problems showing now late in the season. All the small unripe fruits are rotting away. No other plants are affected. I will not continue this breeding line !

I transplanted in a row, according to the development of the plants at transplant. First plant was also first to get ripe red peppers. But for the rest there seems to be no connection between development at transplant and days to harvest. Plants # 5 and 6 didn’t even make a single ripe pepper. Plant # 11 as a contrast have given a rich harvest, and still have a lot of green peppers to harvest before first frost within the next two weeks.

It started as a secret love affair between german ‘Roter Augsburger’ and croatian ‘Zlatni Medal’, who in summer 2007 stood close, rubbing their flowers in the summer wind. Next year it showed up in the row of ‘Roter Augsburg’, where a single plant look in between the parents. It can be seen in a post from last year.

As ‘Roter Augsburger’ and ‘Zlatni Medal’ are very early varieties, suitable for open ground in Denmark, I understood this could become a happy ending love affair, if given some attention in the next years, until one or more varieties has become true breeding.

Several plants with chocolate colored fruits was a surprise, as granny is red and grandpa is orange red (not easily distinguished in my photos). They look like ‘Sweet Chocolate’ in color, I might grow that for comparison.

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Seeds of turnip (Brassica rapa)

Early december I visited Irkutsk in eastern Siberia. As you may expect, I have brought some seeds back home. I was happily surprised to find an easy accessible and an rich variety of garden seeds in the shops. The turnip seeds I purchased are the former famous ‘Petrovskaja’ and the variety ‘Djetskaja Metja’ (childrens dream), looking to me like ‘Goldball’.

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Seeds of pepper (Capsicum annuum)

I hope it’s the earliest varieties I brought home. I’m excited to learn if they are early enough to grow in open ground in my garden. Could it be that just one or two of the peppers or eggplants will be earlier than I seen in other varieties?
Two of the peppers are “housepeppers”, used in Siberia to grow on the window sill. One of those are a F1 hybrid, needing a dehybridizing to be stabilised, if I’m to grow it on in future generations.

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Seeds of eggplant (Solanum melongena)

In the shop I didn’t find time to spell my way through all the kyrillic letters. Therefore I had a great laugh, as I later read “Blek Bjuti” on an eggplant seed batch, as I realised it is the wellknown “Black Beauty”. Luckily I also have a white variety, “Vkus Gribov”, translating in to “Taste of Mushroom”. With this name it can hardly be anything but an original russian variety, or at least from one of the neighboring slavic countries.

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Pepperbed with different varieties.

Now time has come to linger in sweet red peppers. Over the years I’ve found some very early and faithfull varieties. From right it is Zlatni Medal (1 plant), Roter Augsburger (3 plants), a bastard (1 plant), Amager Kohorn (3 plants) og Yesil Tatli (1 plant). Peppers on the last four plants are still green – slightly blushing on the sunny side – and probably red in next week.

The bastard should have been a Zlatni Medal. I think they have succeeded to croos, Zlatni Medal and Roter Augsburger. It can happen, when standing so close, the flower touch each other on windy days. It’s very bad, when preserving a variety, but excellent if you want to develop an even hardier pepper. The trick is, to save seeds from fruits close to a neighbor variety for a chance cross, and to save seeds from fruits at save distance from other varieties to keep a pure variety. To have this work, neighbor varieties must have different inheritary traits, like shape and color.
I still haven’t seen insects cross my peppers – remember I’m up in northern europe – but I guess it will happen sometime in a good summer. As a security I allways store old seeds, returning to them, if a favorite should be lost in a crossing.

Wonder, if my peppers should be treated as well next year, as melons have been this – with trenched horsemanure and black plastic mulch. I guess they would be gratefull.

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Melon in front, sweet pepper behind

The last three days I have been hardening melon and sweet pepper plants before transplant. I do it by locating them in the deep shade of lilacs the first day, second day I move them halfway out of the shade, and third day almost completely out of the shade. On the fourth day I can transplant to the garden, so I did today.

If I didn’t harden off the plants, but transplanted directly from the greenhouse to open ground, the plants would get sunburned on the leaves.
Plants need time to adjust to sun and wind, just as we people also need time to be able to tolerate the sun. If the adjustment take place over some days the leaves have time they need to build a more tough leave surface, just as we people need a little time to develop a protecting sun tan.