It's been a particularly wet and dark winter here on Tiger Mountain. The chicken yard is a sea of mud (note to self: must call tree trimmers to have them deliver a few trailer loads of wood chips), the ducks are finding places to swim where there should not be swimming holes, and it's been a challenge to do even the most rudimentary cleanup/pruning/transplanting that really does need to get done this month. More and more I find myself turning to the bottle. No, not the gin, this bottle:
Okay, it's a jar. And the contents are pure liquid (okay, paste!) sunshine. Datil Pepper Relish.
A couple of years ago a blogger down in Florida
, whom I have never met, wrote eloquently about a special hot pepper that his family had grown for generations. Later, he generously shared some seeds with another blogger here in the Pacific Northwest
, whom I have also never met. Roger grew the seeds in his greenhouse and when he harvested his bumper crop this fall
he "paid it forward" by offering to share his seeds with other gardeners.
To my delight the seeds arrived by mail in their natural state, as a handful of the most fragrant little peppers I've ever seen.
It looked to me like enough peppers to make a small batch of relish, and still have seeds for planting. I used FC's recipe
as a starting point and ended up with a jar of something amazing. It's not that the peppers are so hot--perhaps they are when grown in St. Augustine, FL, but not up here, not last summer anyway. They're hot enough, but it's the fragrance and flavor that just blows me away. I've taken to adding a spoonful to everything from blackeyed peas and rice to crab cakes. And when it's really storming and dark outside I haven't quite resorted to eating it straight from the jar with a spoon, but I've come close:
I was going through my seed stash this morning and I'm thinking I need to share these seeds out while they are nice and fresh. So, while the supply lasts, if you'd like some datil pepper seeds, email me
and I'll send you some. Because it's not just the warm feeling I get from the peppers that keeps me going in the dark days of January. It's the warmth of connection to people living thousands of miles away, sharing their thoughts, their gardens, the natural beauty of the world around them with someone they've never met.