Clippings by tsheets

 Sort by: Last Updated Post Date Post Title Forum Name 


posted by: TomT226 on 01.28.2014 at 03:54 pm in Hot Pepper Forum

A sauce from Angola. It means "pepper-pepper."
3/4 cup of broken up Thai-hots, Arbols, or any other small, hot red pepper, fresh or dried.
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup lemon juice, or lime, or a mixture of both
1/2 cup EVOO
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon table salt (more if you want)
handfull of cilantro or epazote

Put everything in the blender except the cilantro, and process on high for two minutes. Add cilantro and pulse a couple of times to incorporate. Check for salt.
Let it sit at room temp for 24 hours.
Spatchcock a 5 lb. chicken and spread the marinade over both sides, and let sit at room temp for an hour. For more flavor, marinate in a bag overnight. Heat grill to medium, and place skin side down with a couple of bacon presses or bricks wrapped in foil on top. Flip after twenty minutes, and cook another twenty. Check with thermometer for 165 degrees. Use reserved marinade for dipping.
Put 1/4 cup of this in burger meat or ground lamb for a unique burger.
Slap 'yo mama....


clipped on: 01.29.2014 at 10:04 pm    last updated on: 01.29.2014 at 10:04 pm

Spicy pickled brussel sprouts....

posted by: greenman28 on 01.06.2014 at 11:52 pm in Hot Pepper Forum

My friend at the Farm was pickling brussel sprouts this weekend, and she invited me over to make a special I brought Red, Yellow, and Chocolate Ghost Peppers to make some proper sprouts! I did 6 quarts with the Ghosts, then another quart that I loaded with Jalapeno and Serrano. Due to the absorption of the brine, I'll store these upside down to keep the top sprouts fully saturated. Can't wait to try these out!

Mrs. Wages spicy pickling spice, dill, and garlic. And peppers.



clipped on: 01.08.2014 at 10:41 pm    last updated on: 01.08.2014 at 10:41 pm

RE: Oaxaca peppers (Follow-Up #16)

posted by: chocolateidea on 04.26.2012 at 06:36 pm in Hot Pepper Forum

from oaxaca
checked with a couple of local cooks. Seems I've been overlooking the red chili costeno. Seems it's everywhere and considered here a cheap everyday chili. nothing very interesting. seldom used for salsa because there are so many better chilis at the same price. They would more often use the pasilla -dried, the habanero-fresh, the canario (fresh) or something else more interesting. It is used in a basic stew or soup but everybody seemed to think - acceptable but not wonderful. We use the pasilla - a dried chilaca a lot. Plant this if you want the taste of Oaxaca. One way to eat it is as a chili relleno with plantain (here called platano macho) inside but also with picadillo(spiced pork or chicken with perhaps fruit and tomatoes) inside.
Always we quickly run the dried chilies over a flame. amazingly this makes them quite soft. Then they are usually soaked in water for a short while.
If trying to recreate the taste of Oaxaca use the fresh serrano for green salsa. So grow some tomatillos. One of our favorites here and served as a table salsa or on chiliquiles con salsa verde. The tomatillos are prepared 3 different ways - raw in a green salsa, boiled in water with just about any chili, and sliced in half and roasted dry in a skillet (especially with a smoked chili)We often dry roast the onion and garlic used in salsas. This makes the taste smoother.


clipped on: 12.04.2013 at 11:06 pm    last updated on: 12.04.2013 at 11:06 pm

RE: Oaxaca peppers (Follow-Up #10)

posted by: chocolateidea on 04.25.2012 at 03:24 pm in Hot Pepper Forum

I live here in Oaxaca and I use many of these chilies.
Chili de agua is the used fresh for chili rellenos here. Hotter than a poblano but excellent flavor. thinner skinned also used in vinegar. Sliced chilies and onions for a salsa.
Chihuacle Amarillo, Chilhuacle Negro, Chilhuacle Rojo are usually purchased dried and are used in mole negro, and mole coloradito.
Costeno Amarillo is one of my favorite chilis and is a little hard to find here in town. I have only seen it dried. It is thin skinned. It makes a salsa with a wonderful "orange" flavor. flame the chili briefly (always done with dried chilies), then soak for 15 minutes in enough water to cover. put in blender with tomatillos that have been cooked in water for about 10 minutes (boiling) - add chili or tomatillo water to have enough liquid to blend. add salt. if bitter, add sugar, if sweet add lime or vinegar. Like tomatoes, tomatillos are different each time you use them. the citrus flavor is wonderful. I could see using it in a chicken orange dish. but I always make salsa.


clipped on: 12.04.2013 at 11:04 pm    last updated on: 12.04.2013 at 11:04 pm

Crispy Pickeled peppers

posted by: scott123456 on 11.27.2013 at 01:49 am in Hot Pepper Forum

So I found a way to make crispy pickled peppers without skipping the water bath part of canning. I used pickling lime. Make sure you use ice water and follow all the directions VERY well! If you skip a soak or rinse you could cause the ph of the pickled pepper to become unsafe. There are good directions on line ckling-lime-459676

I just used the pickling lime directions from this recipe. It really does work and it made the crispiest pickled peppers I have ever had. It even works on fully mature red peppers none where mushy even after the 10min bath.

Make sure you follow the directions!!! I am an idiot and had to call poison control the first time I used it because I didn�t follow the directions. When done properly it works very very well!


clipped on: 11.27.2013 at 10:46 pm    last updated on: 11.27.2013 at 10:47 pm

RE: We....make.....holes in leaves........ (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: smokemaster_2007 on 04.23.2013 at 08:10 pm in Hot Pepper Forum

Spray with BT/Caterpillar killer.

Green light costs about the same as safer brand but you get a pint instead of 8oz.(or whatever-smaller amount).

Here is a link that might be useful: bt - caterpillar killer


clipped on: 04.24.2013 at 10:39 pm    last updated on: 04.24.2013 at 10:39 pm

RE: Pine Bark (Follow-Up #17)

posted by: greenman28 on 03.15.2013 at 12:10 am in Hot Pepper Forum

Yeah, I'm glad to pay $8.99 for a bag of Micro Bark....


clipped on: 03.15.2013 at 10:34 pm    last updated on: 03.15.2013 at 10:34 pm

RE: upwards pepper leaf curl (Follow-Up #8)

posted by: greenman28 on 02.24.2013 at 12:46 pm in Hot Pepper Forum

I would add a little white vinegar, 1 - 2 teaspoons, to a gallon of water, and then flush the pots. Should help free some of the excess fertilizer salts.



Flushing Tip
clipped on: 02.24.2013 at 08:21 pm    last updated on: 02.24.2013 at 08:21 pm

RE: Pepper Mash pict (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: sidhartha0209 on 11.16.2012 at 11:08 am in Hot Pepper Forum

There's like a kazillion different mole recipes from south of the border, so I guess that makes them all 'authentic', and some of these sauces can have up to 20-30 ingredients along with a complex preparation process.

A fresh mole that I would normally make will usually contain a blend of dried Ancho, Guajillo, de Arbol, and Pasilla (when I can find them) chiles, rehydrated with hot chicken (sometimes beef) broth , and pureed in a blender along with tomato sauce, cinnamon, cumin, allspice, cloves, oregano, cocoa powder, dried fruit (raisins, apricots, etc.), seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, pine nuts, etc.), cider vinegar, and salt to taste.

However, that's for FRESH mole, intended to be consumed within a few days or FROZEN for later. Not all those ingredients will lend themselves well to lacto fermentation or combine flavorfully with the 'lacto wang' of the finished FERMENTED product, which will keep for months in cool storage.

For FERMENTED mole, water is used in lieu of the broth. The dried fruits are dropped because sugar converts to lactic acid and the fruit's inherent sweetness will be gone. The vinegar is eliminated because it kills the lactobacilli that performs the lacto fermentation. Some consideration is also given to timing and amounts of water (liquid) & salt because whey (liquid) & salt are already integral to the fermentation process.

Salt is NOT the preservative in fermented foods, lactic acid is the preservative, formed as a byproduct of the conversion of sugars and starches by bacteria which are already inherent in the [raw] food itself. The primary function of salt in the fermentation process is to inhibit the growth of yeasts and putrefying bacteria long enough to give these lactobacilli (which thrive in the presence of salt) time to colonize and convert sugars and starches to the lactic acid which does preserve the food.

Whey, derived from gravity (NEVER SQUEEZE) strained plain yogurt is used as a starter for two primary reasons...:

1) the food has been cooked or altered in some way so that it has no inherent live lactobacilli of it's own


2) in order to have a lower sodium end product.

For the second reason alone I always use whey as a starter. (and in over three years I've never had a failed fermentation)

It's very simple,there are two options.... :

1) 2 TBSP salt per quart (no starter, raw food only)


2) 1 TBSP salt and 4 TBSP whey per quart (whey as a starter)

Simple example:

Pack a qt jar tightly with chiles (or cukes or whatever) leaving 3/4" - 1" head space, add salt or salt & whey over the top, and cover with water. Allow 3-5 days to ferment (the cooler the ambient temps the longer it takes). Place in cold storage and allow time (usually about a week) for osmosis to even out the salt (and other spices) concentration throughout the food.

There you have it, Lacto Fermentation 101


fermentation info
clipped on: 11.16.2012 at 10:42 pm    last updated on: 11.16.2012 at 10:42 pm

RE: Best use for datils? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: PEPPERMEISTER1 on 09.02.2012 at 09:38 pm in Hot Pepper Forum

I imagine they would be great in jelly. They are very fruity and pleasantly fragrant. There are many recipes available for traditional minorcan datil-ketchup sauce. Personally, I use them in all types of dishes chopped fresh. But mostly I use them to make sweet hot sauces with mangoes and/or peaches. It's a great pepper, I will be growing it again for sure.


clipped on: 09.07.2012 at 11:25 pm    last updated on: 09.07.2012 at 11:25 pm

RE: Storing peppers for mash question... (Follow-Up #9)

posted by: sleekit on 09.06.2012 at 06:53 pm in Hot Pepper Forum

Hey tsheets. Sorry for the late reply. Post got pushed off the first page. Just google "lactobacillus acidophilus pills". It's quite similar to beer yeast in how it works, but instead of making alcohol and CO2, it makes lactic acid and CO2. You can also harvest it from live culture yogurt and kimchi. It's all the same stuff. I got 3 bottles for $6 from puritan's pride (I think). The pills are easily pulled apart and you dump the contents into your mash, stir, cover and put somewhere dark. LAB needs the same conditions as ale yeast to thrive. Check every once in a while for hair mold and scrape it off if you need to. If you have any questions just make a post or email me. I'd be happy to help and I'm sure some of the wonderful people on this forum would too.


clipped on: 09.07.2012 at 11:19 pm    last updated on: 09.07.2012 at 11:19 pm

RE: Relish (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: simsedward on 08.28.2012 at 08:49 am in Hot Pepper Forum

Sure- it's super easy. Process your jars/bands/lids for canning.
The recipe calls for 5 cups chopped/ground hot peppers and 5 cups bell pepper, but I do not know anyone who uses garden space/container space for bell peppers :) so I use all hot peppers.

10 cups chopped (I use a food processor) peppers
2 Large yellow onions Chopped
2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups Distilled White Vinegar
4 tsp pickling salt
4 tsp mustard seed

Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot/sauce pan, mix well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and continue a slow rolling boil for 30 minutes. Ladle into pint jars, seal lids and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.



clipped on: 08.28.2012 at 11:35 am    last updated on: 08.28.2012 at 11:36 am

RE: ...and we're under way! (Follow-Up #65)

posted by: romy6 on 08.21.2012 at 02:14 pm in Hot Pepper Forum

Tim. Sorry for the delay on the sauce. I have made my aji lemon sauce many ways. My favorite is this.
1 papaya
10 aji lemons( less for less heat )
3 table spoons of white vinegar
1 table spoon sugar
dash of salt
3 tablespoons of lemon juice
1/2 cup of water
splash of garlic powder
quick shake of sage
quick shake of dill

boil for 20 minutes

blend again

jar it up.


clipped on: 08.21.2012 at 02:52 pm    last updated on: 08.21.2012 at 02:52 pm

Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix in More Detail

posted by: goodhumusman on 02.26.2009 at 12:44 pm in Container Gardening Forum

I recently joined the forum and discovered Al's 5-1-1 Mix, but I had several questions that Al was kind enough to answer by email. I also found the answers to other questions in several different threads. I thought it would be useful to organize all of the info in one place so that we could have easy access to it. 98% of the following has been cut/pasted from Al's postings, and I apologize in advance if I have somehow misquoted him or taken his ideas out of proper context. The only significant addition from another source is the Cornell method of determining porosity, which I thought would be germane. I have used a question and answer format, using many questions from other members, and I apologize for not giving them proper credit. Thanks to all who contributed to this information. Now, here's Al:

Tapla's 5-1-1 Mix

5 parts pine bark fines
1 part sphagnum peat
1-2 parts perlite
garden lime
controlled release fertilizer (not really necessary)
a micro-nutrient source (seaweed emulsion, Earthjuice, Micro-max, STEM, etc,)

Many friends & forum folk grow in this 5-1-1 mix with very good results. I use it for all my garden display containers. It is intended for annual and vegetable crops in containers. This soil is formulated with a focus on plentiful aeration, which we know has an inverse relationship w/water retention. It takes advantage of particles, the size of which are at or just under the size that would guarantee the soil retains no perched water. (If you have not already read Al's treatise on Water in Container Soils, this would be a good time to do so.) In simple terms: Plants that expire because of drainage problems either die of thirst because the roots have rotted and can no longer take up water, or they starve/"suffocate" because there is insufficient air at the root zone to ensure normal water/nutrient uptake and root function.

I grow in highly-aerated soils with the bulk of the particles in the 1/16"-1/8" size, heavily favoring the larger particles, because we know that perched water levels decrease as particle size increases, until finally, as particle size reaches just under 1/8" the perched water table disappears entirely.

Ideal container soils will have a minimum of 60-75% total porosity. This means that when dry, in round numbers, nearly 70% of the total volume of soil is air. The term 'container capacity' is a hort term that describes the saturation level of soils after the soil is saturated and at the point where it has just stopped draining - a fully wetted soil. When soils are at container capacity, they should still have in excess of 30% air porosity. Roughly, a great soil will have about equal parts of solid particles, water, and air when the soil is fully saturated.

This is Cornell's method of determining the various types of porosity:

To ensure sufficient media porosity, it is essential to determine total porosity, aeration porosity, and water-holding porosity. Porosity can be determined through the following procedure:

* With drainage holes sealed in an empty container, fill the container and record the volume of water required to reach the top of the container. This is the container volume.

* Empty and dry the plugged container and fill it with the growing media to the top of the container.

* Irrigate the container medium slowly until it is saturated with water. Several hours may be required to reach the saturation point, which can be recognized by glistening of the medium's surface.

* Record the total volume of water necessary to reach the saturation point as the total pore volume.

* Unplug the drainage holes and allow the water to freely drain from the container media into a pan for several hours.

* Measure the volume of water in the pan after all free water has completed draining. Record this as the aeration pore volume.

* Calculate total porosity, aeration porosity, and water-holding porosity using the following equations (Landis, 1990):

* Total porosity = total pore volume / container volume
* Aeration porosity = aeration pore volume / container volume
* Water-holding porosity = total porosity - aeration porosity

The keys to why I like my 3-1-1 mix:

It's adjustable for water retention.
The ingredients are readily available to me.
It's simple - 3 basic ingredients - equal portions.
It allows nearly 100% control over the nutritional regimen.
It will not collapse - lasts longer than what is prudent between repots.
It is almost totally forgiving of over-watering while retaining good amounts of water between drinks.
It is relatively inexpensive.

Q. Why do you use pine bark fines? Bark fines of fir, hemlock or pine, are excellent as the primary component of your soils. The lignin contained in bark keeps it rigid and the rigidity provides air-holding pockets in the root zone far longer than peat or compost mixes that too quickly break down to a soup-like consistency. Conifer bark also contains suberin, a lipid sometimes referred to as natures preservative. Suberin, more scarce as a presence in sapwood products and hardwood bark, dramatically slows the decomposition of conifer bark-based soils. It contains highly varied hydrocarbon chains and the microorganisms that turn peat to soup have great difficulty cleaving these chains.

Q. What is the correct size of the fines? In simple terms: Plants that expire because of drainage problems either die of thirst because the roots have rotted and can no longer take up water, or they starve/"suffocate" because there is insufficient air at the root zone to insure normal water/nutrient uptake and root function.Pine bark fines are partially composted pine bark. Fines are what are used in mixes because of the small particle size. There will be a naturally occurring "perched water table" (PWT) in containers when soil particulate size is under about .125 (1/8) inch, so best would be particulates in the 1/16 - 3/16 size range with the 1/16-1/8 size range favored.

Note that there is no sand or compost in the soils I use. Sand, as most of you think of it, can improve drainage in some cases, but it reduces aeration by filling valuable macro-pores in soils. Unless sand particle size is fairly uniform and/or larger than about BB size I leave it out of soils. Compost is too unstable for me to consider using in soils. The small amount of micro-nutrients it supplies can easily be delivered by one or more of a number of chemical or organic sources.

Q. Do you use partially composted pine bark fines? Yes - preferred over fresh fines, which are lighter in color.

Q. I found some Scotchman's Choice Organic Compost, which is made of pine bark fines averaging about 1/8" in size, and, after adding all ingredients, the 5-1-1 Mix had a total porosity of 67% and an aeration porosity of 37%. Is that all right? Yes, that is fine.

Q. What kind of lime do you use? Dolomitic.

Q. What amount of lime should I add if I used 10 gal of pine bark fines and the corresponding amount of the other ingredients? @ 5:1:1, you'll end up with about 12 gallons of soil (the whole is not equal to the sum of the parts when you're talking about soils), so I would use about 10-12 Tbsp or 2/3-3/4 cup of lime.

Q. What grade of coarseness for the lime? Most is sold as garden lime, which is usually prilled powder. Prilling makes it easier to use in drop & broadcast spreaders. The prills dissolve quickly. The finer the powder the quicker the reactive phase is finished. Much of the Ca and Mg will be unavailable until the media pH equalizes so the plant can assimilate the residual elements. Large pieces of lime really extend the duration of the reactive phase.

Q. Does this mean that I need to make up the soil in advance? Yes. 2 weeks or so should be enough time to allow for the reaction phase to be complete & residual Ca/Mg to become more readily available from the outset .

Q. During those 2 weeks, do I need to keep turning it and moistening it? No

Q. Can I go ahead and fill my 3-gal. containers, stack them 3-high, and cover the top one to prevent moisture loss during the waiting period? Something like that would be preferred.

Q. The perlite I use has a large amount of powder even though it is called coarse. Do I need to sift it to get rid of the powder? Not unless it REALLY has a lot - then, the reason wouldn't be because of issues with particle size - it would be because you had to use larger volumes to achieve adequate drainage & larger volumes bring with it the possibility of Fl toxicity for some plants that are fluoride intolerant.

Q. What about earthworm castings (EWC)? I think 10% is a good rule of thumb for the total volume of fine particles. I try to limit peat use to about 10-15% of soil volume & just stay away from those things that rob aeration & promote water retention beyond a minimal perched water table. If you start adding 10% play sand, 10% worm castings, 10% compost, 10% peat, 10% topsoil, 10% vermiculite to a soil, before long you'll be growing in something close to a pudding-like consistency.

Q. Do you drench the mix with fertilized water before putting in containers? No - especially if you incorporate a CRF. It will have lots of fertilizer on it's surface & the soil could already be high in solubles. If you added CRF, wait until you've watered and flushed the soil a couple of times. If you didn't use CRF, you can fertilize with a weak solution the first time you water after the initial planting irrigation.

Q. How much of the micronutrients should I add if I am going to be fertilizing with Foliage Pro 9-3-6, which has all the micronutrients in it? You won't need any additional supplementation as long as you lime.
Q. Just to make sure I understand, are you saying I don't need to use Foliage Pro 9-3-6 until after the initial watering right after planting even if I don't use a CRF? And no additional micronutrients? That's right - on both counts.

Q. Do I need to moisten the peat moss before mixing with the pine bark fines? It helps, yes.

Selections from Notes on Choosing a Fertilizer

A) Plant nutrients are dissolved in water
B) The lower the nutrient concentration, the easier it is for the plant to absorb water and the nutrients dissolved in the water - distilled water is easier for plants to absorb than tap water because there is nothing dissolved in distilled water
C) The higher the nutrient content, the more difficult it is for plants to absorb water and the nutrients dissolved in water
D) To maximize plant vitality, we should supply adequate amounts of all the essential nutrients w/o using concentrations so high that they impede water and nutrient uptake.

All that is in the "Fertilizer Thread" I posted a while back.

Q. Do you use the Dyna-Gro Foliage Pro 9-3-6 exclusively throughout the life of the plant, or change to something else for the flowering/fruiting stage? I use lots of different fertilizers, but if I had to choose only one, it would likely be the FP 9-3-6. It really simplifies things. There are very few plants that won't respond very favorably to this fertilizer. I use fast soils that drain freely & I fertilize at EVERY watering, and it works extremely well.

If you are using a soil that allows you to water freely at every watering, you cannot go wrong by watering weakly weekly, and you can water at 1/8 the recommended dose at every watering if you wish with chemical fertilizers.

Q. What about the "Bloom Booster" fertilizers? To induce more prolific flowering, a reduced N supply will have more and better effect than the high P bloom formulas. When N is reduced, it slows vegetative growth without reducing photosynthesis. Since vegetative growth is limited by a lack of N, and the photosynthetic machinery continues to turn out food, it leaves an expendable surplus for the plant to spend on flowers and fruit. There are no plants I know of that use anywhere near the amount of P as they do N (1/6 is the norm). It makes no sense to me to have more P available than N unless you are targeting a VERY specific growth pattern; and then the P would still be applied in a reasonable ratio to K.

Somewhere along the way, we curiously began to look at fertilizers as miraculous assemblages of growth drugs, and started interpreting the restorative effect (to normal growth) fertilizers have as stimulation beyond what a normal growth rate would be if all nutrients were adequately present in soils. Its no small wonder that we come away with the idea that there are miracle concoctions out there and often end up placing more hope than is reasonable in them.

What I'm pointing out is that fertilizers really should not be looked at as something that will make your plant grow abnormally well - beyond its genetic potential . . . Fertilizers do not/can not stimulate super growth, nor are they designed to. All they can do is correct nutritional deficiencies so plants can grow normally.

Q. Should I use organic ferts or chemical ferts in containers? Organic fertilizers do work to varying degrees in containers, but I would have to say that delivery of the nutrients can be very erratic and unreliable. The reason is that nutrient delivery depends on the organic molecules being broken down in the gut of micro-organisms, and micro-organism populations are boom/bust, varying widely in container culture.

Some of the things affecting the populations are container soil pH, moisture levels, nutrient levels, soil composition, compaction/aeration levels ..... Of particular importance is soil temperatures. When container temperatures rise too high, microbial populations diminish. Temps much under 55* will slow soil biotic activity substantially, reducing or halting delivery of nutrients.

I do include various formulations of fish emulsion in my nutrient program at certain times of the year, but I never rely on them, choosing chemical fertilizers instead. Chemical fertilizers are always immediately available for plant uptake & the results of your applications are much easier to quantify.

Q. Should I feed the plants every time I water? In a word, yes. I want to keep this simple, so Ill just say that the best water absorption occurs when the level of solutes in soil water is lowest, and in the presence of good amounts of oxygen. Our job, because you will not find a sufficient supply of nutrients in a container soil, is to provide a solution of dissolved nutrients that affords the plant a supply in the adequate to luxury range, yet still makes it easy for the plant to take up enough water to be well-hydrated and free of drought stress. All we need to do is supply nutrients in approximately the same ratio as plants use them, and in adequate amounts to keep them in the adequate to luxury range at all times. Remember that we can maximize water uptake by keeping the concentrations of solutes low, so a continual supply of a weak solution is best. Nutrients dont just suddenly appear in large quantities in nature, so the low and continual dose method most closely mimics the nutritional supply Mother Nature offers. If you decide to adopt a "fertilize every time you water" approach, most liquid fertilizers can be applied at to 1 tsp per gallon for best results.

The system is rather self regulating if fertilizer is applied in low concentrations each time you water, even with houseplants in winter. As the plants growth slows, so does its need for both water and nutrients. Larger plants and plants that are growing robustly will need more water and nutrients, so linking nutrient supply to the water supply is a win/win situation all around.

You can tell you've watered too much (or too little - the response is the same - a drought response) when leaves start to turn yellow or you begin to see nutritional deficiencies created by poor root metabolism (usually N and Ca are first evident). You can prevent overwatering by A) testing the soil deep in the container with a wood dowel ... wet & cool - do not water, dry - water. B) feeling the wick & only watering when it's dry C) feel the soil at the drain hole & only water when it feels dry there.

Soils feel dry to our touch when they still have 40-45% moisture content. Plants, however, can still extract water from soils until they dry down to about 25-30%, so there is still around a 15% cush in that plants can still absorb considerable moisture after soils first feel dry to us.

Q. When you water/fertilize, do you give it enough that 10% leaches out the bottom each time? Yes, I try to do that at every watering. Remember that as salts accumulate, both water and nutrient uptake is made more difficult and finally impaired or made impossible in severe cases. Your soils should always allow you to water so that at least 10-15% of the total volume of water applied passes through the soil and out the drain hole to be discarded. This flushes the soil and carries accumulating solutes out the drain hole. In addition, each thorough watering forces stale gases from the soil. CO2 accumulation in heavy soils is very detrimental to root health, but you usually can't apply water in volume enough to force these gases from the soil. Open soils allow free gas exchange at all times.

Q. Should I elevate my pots? The container will not drain the same % of water if it's sitting in a puddle, but the % won't be particularly significant. What will be significant is: if water (in a puddle) is able to make contact with the soil in the container through surface tension and/or capillarity, it will "feed" and prolong the saturated conditions of any PWT that might be in the container. However, if water can soak in or if it will flow away from the containers, there's no advantage to elevating when you're not using a wick.

Q. I like a pH of about 5.7. Is that about right? That's a good number, but you won't have any way of maintaining it in your soil w/o some sophisticated equipment. I never concern myself with media pH. That doesn't mean you should ignore water pH, though. It (water pH) affects the solubility of fertilizers; and generally speaking, the higher the water pH, the lower the degree of nutrient solubility.

Q. How do you repot? Some plants do not take to root-pruning well (palms, eg), but the vast majority of them REALLY appreciate the rejuvenational properties of major root work. I'm not at all delicate in my treatment of rootage when it comes time to repot (completely different from potting-up). Usually I chop or saw the bottom 1/2-2/3 of the root mass off, bare-root the plant, stick it back in the same pot with ALL fresh soil, use a chopstick to move soil into all the spaces/pockets between roots, water/fertilize well & put in the shade for a week to recover. I should mention that this procedure is most effective on plants with woody roots, which most quickly grow to be inefficient as they lignify, thicken, and fill the pot. Those plants with extremely fibrous root systems are easier to care for. For those, I usually saw off the bottom 1/2 - 2/3 of the roots, work a chopstick through the remaining mat of roots, removing a fair amount of soil, prune around the perimeter & repot in fresh, well-aerated soil.

I find that time after time, plants treated in this fashion sulk for a week or two and then put on a huge growth spurt (when repotted in spring or summer). Growth INVARIABLY surpasses what it would have been if the plant was allowed to languish in it's old, root-bound haunts. Potting up is a temporary way to rejuvenate a plant, but if you look ate a long-term graph of plants continually potted-up, you will see continual decline with little spurts of improved vitality at potting-up time. This stress/strain on plants that are potted-up only, eventually takes its toll & plants succumb. There is no reason most houseplants shouldn't live for years and years, yet we often content ourselves with the 'revolving door replacement' of our plants when just a little attention to detail would allow us to call the same plant our friend - often for the rest of our lives if we prefer.

Q. Is there any rule of thumb as to how often to root prune? I'm going to answer as if you included 'repotting' in your question. There is no hard, fast rule here. Some of you grow plants strictly for the blooms, and some plants produce more abundant blooms in containers when they are stressed in some manner. Often, that stress is in the form of keeping them root-bound. I'll talk about maintaining a plant's vitality & let you work out how you want to handle the degree of stress you wish to subject them to, in order to achieve your goals. Before I go on, I'd like to say that I use stress techniques too, to achieve a compact, full plant, and to slow growth of a particularly attractive plant - to KEEP it attractive. ;o) The stress of growing a plant tight can be useful to a degree, but at some point, there will be diminishing returns.

When you need to repot to correct declining vitality:

1) When the soil has collapsed/compacted, or was too water-retentive from the time you last potted-up or repotted. You can identify this condition by soil that remains wet for more than a few days, or by soil that won't take water well. If you water a plant and the soil just sits on top of the soil w/o soaking in, the soil has collapsed/compacted. There is one proviso though: you must be sure that the soil is wet before you assess this condition. Soils often become hydrophobic (water repellent) and difficult to rewet, especially when using liquid organic fertilizers like fish/seaweed emulsions. Make sure this effect is not what you're witnessing by saturating the soil thoroughly & then assessing how fast the water moves downward through the soil. The soils I grow in are extremely fast and water disappears into the mix as soon as it's applied. If it takes more than 30 seconds for a large volume of water to disappear from the surface of the soil, you are almost certainly compromising potential vitality.

I'll talk about the potential vitality for just a sec. Plants will grow best in a damp soil with NO perched water. That is NO saturated layer of water at the bottom of the pot. Roots begin to die a very short time after being subjected to anaerobic conditions. They regenerate again as soon as air returns to the soil. This cyclic death/regeneration of roots steals valuable energy from the plant that might well have been employed to increase o/a biomass, and/or produce flowers and fruit. This is the loss of potential vitality I refer to.

2) When the plant is growing under tight conditions and has stopped extending, it is under strain, which will eventually lead to its death. "Plants must grow to live. Any plant that is not growing is dying." Dr. Alex Shigo Unless there are nutritional issues, plants that have stopped extending and show no growth when they should be coming into a period of robust growth usually need repotting. You can usually confirm your suspicions/diagnosis by looking for rootage "crawling" over the soil surface and/or growing out of the drain hole, or by lifting the plant from its pot & examining the root mass for encircling roots - especially fat roots at the container's edge. You'll be much less apt to find these types of roots encircling inner container perimeter in well-aerated soils because the roots find the entire soil mass hospitable. Roots are opportunistic and will be found in great abundance at the outside edge of the soil mass in plantings with poor drainage & soggy soil conditions - they're there looking for air.

3) When the soil is so compacted & water retentive that you must water in sips and cannot fully flush the soil at each watering for fear of creating conditions that will cause root rot. This isn't to say you MUST flush the soil at every watering, but the soil should drain well enough to ALLOW you to water this way whenever you prefer. This type of soil offers you the most protection against over-watering and you would really have to work hard at over-fertilizing in this type of soil. It will allow you to fertilize with a weak solution at every watering - even in winter if you prefer.

Incidentally, I reject the frequent anecdotal evidence that keeping N in soils at adequacy levels throughout the winter "forces" growth or "forces weak growth". Plants take what they need and leave the rest. While there could easily be the toxicity issues associated with too much fertilizer in soils due to a combination of inappropriate watering practices, inappropriate fertilizing practices, and an inappropriate soil, it's neither N toxicity NOR the presence of adequate N in soils that causes weak growth, it's low light levels.

Q. Is there any rule of thumb as to how often to remove and replace the old soil? Yes - every time you repot.

As always, I hope that those who read what I say about soils will ultimately take with them the idea that the soil is the foundation of every container planting & has effects that reach far beyond the obvious, but there is a snatch of lyrics from an old 70's song that might be appropriate: "... just take what you need and leave the rest ..." ;o)


clipped on: 05.29.2012 at 02:03 pm    last updated on: 05.29.2012 at 02:03 pm

RE: What do you do with your super hots? (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: Edymnion on 05.07.2012 at 08:18 pm in Hot Pepper Forum

Yeah, these bad boys are *WAY* too hot for your normal recipes. Normal bell peppers are 0 scovilles (the unit used to describe the heat of a pepper), jalapenos are about 2k shu (scoville heat units), your habaneros generally weigh in at 30-50k shu.

The bhut jolokia generally tops 1 million scovilles. The Moruga averages 1.4 million (with some outlayers being over 2 million shu). The Trinidad Scorpion you've got will either be the mildest (at around 800k) or the hottest (also around 1.4 million).

They aren't hot peppers. They are weaponized fruit. The 7-pot pepper got its name because the people that originally grew it would put one whole, unbroken pod into a pot of stew to season it, then re-use it for another pot, and another, getting 7 pot's worth of hot stew out of one pod. They would refuse to break the pod open because it would then be too hot to eat.

So yeah, fair warning on those. Buy vinyl gloves at the very least (not rubber or latex, the heat will eat through those and soak into your skin, has to be vinyl), and don't be stupid enough to try eating one unless you are well prepared to face your own mortality.

Other than that, welcome to the club, these peppers are AWESOME! =D


Vinyl Gloves!!
clipped on: 05.07.2012 at 08:44 pm    last updated on: 05.07.2012 at 08:44 pm

Container Soils - Water Movement & Retention XV

posted by: tapla on 02.06.2012 at 02:58 pm in Container Gardening Forum

I first posted this thread back in March of '05. Fourteen times it has reached the maximum number of posts GW allows to a single thread, which is much more attention than I ever imagined it would garner. I have reposted it in no small part because it has been great fun, and a wonderful catalyst in the forging of new friendships and in increasing my list of acquaintances with similar growing interests. The forum and email exchanges that stem so often from the subject are in themselves enough to make me hope the subject continues to pique interest, and the exchanges provide helpful information. Most of the motivation for posting this thread another time comes from the reinforcement of hundreds of participants over the years that strongly suggests the information provided in good-spirited collective exchange has made a significant difference in the quality of their growing experience. I'll provide links to some of the more recent of the previous dozen threads and nearly 2,500 posts at the end of what I have written - just in case you have interest in reviewing them. Thank you for taking the time to examine this topic - I hope that any/all who read it take at least something interesting and helpful from it. I know it's long. My hope is that you find it worth the read, and the time you invest results in a significantly improved growing experience.

Since there are many questions about soils appropriate for use in containers, I'll post basic mix recipes later, in case any would like to try the soil. It will follow the information.

Before we get started, I'd like to mention that I wrote a reply and posted it to a thread recently, and I think it is well worth considering. It not only sets a minimum standard for what constitutes a 'GOOD' soil, but also points to the fact that not all growers look at container soils from the same perspective, which is why growers so often disagree on what makes a 'good' soil. I hope you find it thought provoking:

Is Soil X a 'Good' Soil?

I think any discussion on this topic must largely center around the word "GOOD", and we can broaden the term 'good' so it also includes 'quality' or 'suitable', as in "Is soil X a quality or suitable soil?"

How do we determine if soil A or soil B is a good soil? and before we do that, we'd better decide if we are going to look at it from the plant's perspective or from the grower's perspective, because often there is a considerable amount of conflict to be found in the overlap - so much so that one can often be mutually exclusive of the other.

We can imagine that grower A might not be happy or satisfied unless knows he is squeezing every bit of potential from his plants, and grower Z might not be happy or content unless he can water his plants before leaving on a 2-week jaunt, and still have a weeks worth of not having to water when he returns. Everyone else is somewhere between A and Z; with B, D, F, H, J, L, N, P, R, T, V, X, and Y either unaware of how much difference soil choice can make, or they understand but don't care.

I said all that to illustrate the large measure of futility in trying to establish any sort of standard as to what makes a good soil from the individual grower's perspective; but let's change our focus from the pointless to the possible.

We're only interested in the comparative degrees of 'good' and 'better' here. It would be presumptive to label any soil "best". 'Best I've found' or 'best I've used' CAN sometimes be useful for comparative purposes, but that's a very subjective judgment. Let's tackle 'good', then move on to 'better', and finally see what we can do about qualifying these descriptors so they can apply to all growers.

I would like to think that everyone would prefer to use a soil that can be described as 'good' from the plant's perspective. How do we determine what a plant wants? Surprisingly, we can use %s established by truly scientific studies that are widely accepted in the greenhouse and nursery trades to determine if a soil is good or not good - from the plant's perspective, that is. Rather than use confusing numbers that mean nothing to the hobby grower, I can suggest that our standard for a good soil should be, at a minimum, that you can water that soil properly. That means, that at any time during the growth cycle, you can water your plantings to beyond the point of saturation (so excess water is draining from the pot) without the fear of root rot or compromised root function or metabolism due to (take your pick) too much water or too little air in the root zone.

I think it's very reasonable to withhold the comparative basic descriptor, 'GOOD', from soils that can't be watered properly without compromising root function, or worse, suffering one of the fungaluglies that cause root rot. I also think anyone wishing to make the case from the plant's perspective that a soil that can't be watered to beyond saturation w/o compromising root health can be called 'good', is fighting on the UP side logic hill.

So I contend that 'good' soils are soils we can water correctly; that is, we can flush the soil when we water without concern for compromising root health/function/metabolism. If you ask yourself, "Can I water correctly if I use this soil?" and the answer is 'NO' ... it's not a good soil ... for the reasons stated above.

Can you water correctly using most of the bagged soils readily available? 'NO', I don't think I need to point to a conclusion.

What about 'BETTER'? Can we determine what might make a better soil? Yes, we can. If we start with a soil that meets the minimum standard of 'good', and improve either the physical and/or chemical properties of that soil, or make it last longer, then we have 'better'. Even if we cannot agree on how low we wish to set the bar for what constitutes 'good', we should be able to agree that any soil that reduces excess water retention, increases aeration, ensures increased potential for optimal root health, and lasts longer than soils that only meet some one's individual and arbitrary standard of 'good', is a 'better' soil.

All the plants we grow, unless grown from seed, have the genetic potential to be beautiful specimens. It's easy to say, and easy to see the absolute truth in the idea that if you give a plant everything it wants it will flourish and grow; after all, plants are programmed to grow just that way. Our growing skills are defined by our ability to give plants what they want. The better we are at it, the better our plants will grow. But we all know it's not that easy. Lifetimes are spent in careful study, trying to determine just exactly what it is that plants want and need to make them grow best.

Since this is a soil discussion, let's see what the plant wants from its soil. The plant wants a soil in which we have endeavored to provide in available form, all the essential nutrients, in the ratio in at which the plant uses them, and at a concentration high enough to prevent deficiencies yet low enough to make it easy to take up water (and the nutrients dissolved in the water). First and foremost, though, the plant wants a container soil that is evenly damp, never wet or soggy. Giving a plant what it wants, to flourish and grow, doesn't include a soil that is half saturated for a week before aeration returns to the entire soil mass, even if you only water in small sips. Plants might do 'ok' in some soils, but to actually flourish, like they are genetically programmed to do, they would need to be unencumbered by wet, soggy soils.

We become better growers by improving our ability to reduce the effects of limiting factors, or by eliminating those limiting factors entirely; in other words, by clearing out those influences that stand in the way of the plant reaching its genetic potential. Even if we are able to make every other factor that influences plant growth/vitality absolutely perfect, it could not make up for a substandard soil. For a plant to grow to its genetic potential, every factor has to be perfect, including the soil. Of course, we'll never manage to get to that point, but the good news is that as we get closer and closer, our plants get better and better; and hopefully, we'll get more from our growing experience.

In my travels, I've discovered it almost always ends up being that one little factor that we willingly or unwittingly overlooked that limits us in our abilities, and our plants in their potential.

Food for thought:
A 2-bit plant in a $10 soil has a future full of potential, where a $10 plant in a 2-bit soil has only a future filled with limitations. ~ Al

Container Soils - Water Movement & Retention

As container gardeners, our first priority should be to ensure the soils we use are adequately aerated for the life of the planting, or in the case of perennial material (trees, shrubs, garden perennials), from repot to repot. Soil aeration/drainage is the most important consideration in any container planting. Soils are the foundation that all container plantings are built on, and aeration is the very cornerstone of that foundation. Since aeration and drainage are inversely linked to soil particle size, it makes good sense to try to find and use soils or primary components with particles larger than peat/compost/coir. Durability and stability of soil components so they contribute to the retention of soil structure for extended periods is also extremely important. Pine and some other types of conifer bark fit the bill nicely, but I'll talk more about various components later.

What I will write also hits pretty hard against the futility in using a drainage layer of coarse materials in attempt to improve drainage. It just doesn't work. All it does is reduce the total volume of soil available for root colonization. A wick can be employed to remove water from the saturated layer of soil at the container bottom, but a drainage layer is not effective. A wick can be made to work in reverse of the self-watering pots widely being discussed on this forum now.

Consider this if you will:

Container soils are all about structure, and particle size plays the primary role in determining whether a soil is suited or unsuited to the application. Soil fills only a few needs in container culture. Among them are: Anchorage - a place for roots to extend, securing the plant and preventing it from toppling. Nutrient Retention - it must retain a nutrient supply in available form sufficient to sustain plant systems. Gas Exchange - it must be amply porous to allow air to move through the root system and gasses that are the by-product of decomposition to escape. Water - it must retain water enough in liquid and/or vapor form to sustain plants between waterings. Air - it must contain a volume of air sufficient to ensure that root function/metabolism/growth is not impaired. This is extremely important and the primary reason that heavy, water-retentive soils are so limiting in their affect. Most plants can be grown without soil as long as we can provide air, nutrients, and water, (witness hydroponics). Here, I will concentrate primarily on the movement and retention of water in container soil(s).

There are two forces that cause water to move through soil - one is gravity, the other capillary action. Gravity needs little explanation, but for this writing I would like to note: Gravitational flow potential (GFP) is greater for water at the top of the container than it is for water at the bottom. I'll return to that later.

Capillarity is a function of the natural forces of adhesion and cohesion. Adhesion is water's tendency to stick to solid objects like soil particles and the sides of the pot. Cohesion is the tendency for water to stick to itself. Cohesion is why we often find water in droplet form - because cohesion is at times stronger than adhesion; in other words, water's bond to itself can be stronger than the bond to the object it might be in contact with; cohesion is what makes water form drops. Capillary action is in evidence when we dip a paper towel in water. The water will soak into the towel and rise several inches above the surface of the water. It will not drain back into the source, and it will stop rising when the GFP equals the capillary attraction of the fibers in the paper.

There will be a naturally occurring "perched water table" (PWT) in containers when soil particulate size is under about .100 (just under 1/8) inch. Perched water is water that occupies a layer of soil at the bottom of containers or above coarse drainage layers that tends to remain saturated & will not drain from the portion of the pot it occupies. It can evaporate or be used by the plant, but physical forces will not allow it to drain. It is there because the capillary pull of the soil at some point will surpass the GFP; therefore, the water does not drain, it is said to be 'perched'. The smaller the size of the particles in a soil, the greater the height of the PWT. Perched water can be tightly held in heavy (comprised of small particles) soils where it perches (think of a bird on a perch) just above the container bottom where it will not drain; or, it can perch in a layer of heavy soil on top of a coarse drainage layer, where it will not drain.

Imagine that we have five cylinders of varying heights, shapes, and diameters, each with drain holes. If we fill them all with the same soil mix, then saturate the soil, the PWT will be exactly the same height in each container. This saturated area of the container is where roots initially seldom penetrate & where root problems frequently begin due to a lack of aeration and the production of noxious gasses. Water and nutrient uptake are also compromised by lack of air in the root zone. Keeping in mind the fact that the PWT height is dependent on soil particle size and has nothing to do with height or shape of the container, we can draw the conclusion that: If using a soil that supports perched water, tall growing containers will always have a higher percentage of unsaturated soil than squat containers when using the same soil mix. The reason: The level of the PWT will be the same in each container, with the taller container providing more usable, air holding soil above the PWT. From this, we could make a good case that taller containers are easier to grow in.

A given volume of large soil particles has less overall surface area when compared to the same volume of small particles and therefore less overall adhesive attraction to water. So, in soils with large particles, GFP more readily overcomes capillary attraction. They simply drain better and hold more air. We all know this, but the reason, often unclear, is that the height of the PWT is lower in coarse soils than in fine soils. The key to good drainage is size and uniformity of soil particles. Mixing large particles with small is often very ineffective because the smaller particles fit between the large, increasing surface area which increases the capillary attraction and thus the water holding potential. An illustrative question: How much perlite do we need to add to pudding to make it drain well?

I already stated I hold as true that the grower's soil choice when establishing a planting for the long term is the most important decision he/she will make. There is no question that the roots are the heart of the plant, and plant vitality is inextricably linked in a hard lock-up with root vitality. In order to get the best from your plants, you absolutely must have happy roots.

If you start with a water-retentive medium, you cannot effectively amend it to improve aeration or drainage characteristics by adding larger particulates. Sand, perlite, Turface, calcined DE ...... none of them will work effectively. To visualize why sand and perlite can't change drainage/aeration, think of how well a pot full of BBs would drain (perlite); then think of how poorly a pot full of pudding would drain (bagged soil). Even mixing the pudding and perlite/BBs together 1:1 in a third pot yields a mix that retains the drainage characteristics and PWT height of the pudding. It's only after the perlite become the largest fraction of the mix (60-75%) that drainage & PWT height begins to improve. At that point, you're growing in perlite amended with a little potting soil.

You cannot add coarse material to fine material and improve drainage or the ht of the PWT. Use the same example as above & replace the pudding with play sand or peat moss or a peat-based potting soil - same results. The benefit in adding perlite to heavy soils doesn't come from the fact that they drain better. The fine peat or pudding particles simply 'fill in' around the perlite, so drainage & the ht of the PWT remains the same. All perlite does in heavy soils is occupy space that would otherwise be full of water. Perlite simply reduces the amount of water a soil is capable of holding because it is not internally porous. IOW - all it does is take up space. That can be a considerable benefit, but it makes more sense to approach the problem from an angle that also allows us to increase the aeration AND durability of the soil. That is where Pine bark comes in, and I will get to that soon.

If you want to profit from a soil that offers superior drainage and aeration, you need to start with an ingredient as the basis for your soils that already HAVE those properties, by ensuring that the soil is primarily comprised of particles much larger than those in peat/compost/coir/sand/topsoil, which is why the recipes I suggest as starting points all direct readers to START with the foremost fraction of the soil being large particles, to ensure excellent aeration. From there, if you choose, you can add an appropriate volume of finer particles to increase water retention. You do not have that option with a soil that is already extremely water-retentive right out of the bag.

I fully understand that many are happy with the results they get when using commercially prepared soils, and I'm not trying to get anyone to change anything. My intent is to make sure that those who are having trouble with issues related to soil, understand why the issues occur, that there are options, and what they are.

We have seen that adding a coarse drainage layer at the container bottom does not improve drainage. It does though, reduce the volume of soil required to fill a container, making the container lighter. When we employ a drainage layer in an attempt to improve drainage, what we are actually doing is moving the level of the PWT higher in the pot. This simply reduces the volume of soil available for roots to colonize. Containers with uniform soil particle size from top of container to bottom will yield better and more uniform drainage and have a lower PWT than containers using the same soil with added drainage layers.

The coarser the drainage layer, the more detrimental to drainage it is because water is more (for lack of a better scientific word) reluctant to make the downward transition because the capillary pull of the soil above the drainage layer is stronger than the GFP. The reason for this is there is far more surface area on soil particles for water to be attracted to in the soil above the drainage layer than there is in the drainage layer, so the water perches. I know this goes against what most have thought to be true, but the principle is scientifically sound, and experiments have shown it as so. Many nurserymen employ the pot-in-pot or the pot-in-trench method of growing to capitalize on the science.

If you discover you need to increase drainage, you can simply insert an absorbent wick into a drainage hole & allow it to extend from the saturated soil in the container to a few inches below the bottom of the pot, or allow it to contact soil below the container where the earth acts as a giant wick and will absorb all or most of the perched water in the container, in most cases. Eliminating the PWT has much the same effect as providing your plants much more soil to grow in, as well as allowing more, much needed air in the root zone.

In simple terms: Plants that expire because of drainage problems either die of thirst because the roots have rotted and can no longer take up water, or they suffer/die because there is insufficient air at the root zone to insure normal root function, so water/nutrient uptake and root metabolism become seriously impaired.

To confirm the existence of the PWT and how effective a wick is at removing it, try this experiment: Fill a soft drink cup nearly full of garden soil. Add enough water to fill to the top, being sure all soil is saturated. Punch a drain hole in the bottom of the cup and allow the water to drain. When drainage has stopped, insert a wick into the drain hole . Take note of how much additional water drains. Even touching the soil with a toothpick through the drain hole will cause substantial additional water to drain. The water that drains is water that occupied the PWT. A greatly simplified explanation of what occurs is: The wick or toothpick "fools" the water into thinking the pot is deeper than it is, so water begins to move downward seeking the "new" bottom of the pot, pulling the rest of the water in the PWT along with it. If there is interest, there are other simple and interesting experiments you can perform to confirm the existence of a PWT in container soils. I can expand later in the thread.

I always remain cognizant of these physical principles whenever I build a soil. I have not used a commercially prepared soil in many years, preferring to build a soil or amend one of my 2 basic mixes to suit individual plantings. I keep many ingredients at the ready for building soils, but the basic building process usually starts with conifer bark and perlite. Sphagnum peat plays a secondary role in my container soils because it breaks down too quickly to suit me, and when it does, it impedes drainage and reduces aeration. Size matters. Partially composted conifer bark fines (pine is easiest to find and least expensive) works best in the following recipes, followed by uncomposted bark in the <3/8" range.

Bark fines of pine, fir or hemlock, are excellent as the primary component of your soils. The lignin contained in bark keeps it rigid and the rigidity provides air-holding pockets in the root zone far longer than peat or compost mixes that too quickly break down to a soup-like consistency. Conifer bark also contains suberin, a lipid sometimes referred to as nature's preservative. Suberin, more scarce as a presence in sapwood products and hardwood bark, dramatically slows the decomposition of conifer bark-based soils. It contains highly varied hydrocarbon chains and the microorganisms that turn peat to soup have great difficulty cleaving these chains - it retains its structure.

Note that there is no sand or compost in the soils I use. Sand, as most of you think of it, can improve drainage in some cases, but it reduces aeration by filling valuable macro-pores in soils. Unless sand particle size is fairly uniform and/or larger than about BB size, I leave it out of soils. Compost is too fine and unstable for me to consider using in soils in any significant volume as well. The small amount of micro-nutrients it supplies can easily be delivered by one or more of a number of chemical or organic sources that do not detract from drainage/aeration.

The basic soils I use ....

The 5:1:1 mix:

5 parts pine bark fines (partially composted fines are best)
1 part sphagnum peat (not reed or sedge peat please)
1-2 parts perlite
garden lime (or gypsum in some cases)
controlled release fertilizer (if preferred)

Big batch:
2-3 cu ft pine bark fines
5 gallons peat
5 gallons perlite
2 cups dolomitic (garden) lime (or gypsum in some cases)
2 cups CRF (if preferred)

Small batch:
3 gallons pine bark
1/2 gallon peat
1/2 gallon perlite
4 tbsp lime (or gypsum in some cases)
1/4 cup CRF (if preferred)

I have seen advice that some highly organic (practically speaking - almost all container soils are highly organic) container soils are productive for up to 5 years or more. I disagree and will explain why if there is interest. Even if you were to substitute fir bark for pine bark in this recipe (and this recipe will long outlast any peat based soil) you should only expect a maximum of two to three years life before a repot is in order. Usually perennials, including trees (they're perennials too) should be repotted more frequently to insure they can grow at as close to their genetic potential within the limits of other cultural factors as possible. If a soil is desired that will retain structure for long periods, we need to look more to inorganic components. Some examples are crushed granite, fine stone, VERY coarse sand (see above - usually no smaller than BB size in containers, please), Haydite, lava rock (pumice), Turface, calcined DE, and others.

For long term (especially woody) plantings and houseplants, I use a superb soil that is extremely durable and structurally sound. The basic mix is equal parts of pine bark, Turface, and crushed granite.

The gritty mix:

1 part uncomposted screened pine or fir bark (1/8-1/4")
1 part screened Turface
1 part crushed Gran-I-Grit (grower size) or #2 cherrystone
1 Tbsp gypsum per gallon of soil (eliminate if your fertilizer has Ca)
CRF (if desired)

I use 1/8 -1/4 tsp Epsom salts (MgSO4) per gallon of fertilizer solution when I fertilize if the fertilizer does not contain Mg (check your fertilizer - if it is soluble, it is probable it does not contain Ca or Mg. If I am using my currently favored fertilizer (I use it on everything), Dyna-Gro's Foliage-Pro in the 9-3-6 formulation, and I don't use gypsum or Epsom salts in the fertilizer solution.

If there is interest, you'll find some of the more recent continuations of the thread at the links below:

Post XIV


Post XII

Post XI

Post X

Post IX


If you feel you were benefited by having read this offering, you might also find this thread about Fertilizing Containerized Plants helpful, as well.

If you do find yourself using soils you feel are too water-retentive, you'll find some Help Dealing with Water-retentive Soils by following this embedded link.

If you happen to be at all curious about How Plant Growth is Limited, just click the embedded link.

As always - best luck. Good growing!! Let me know if you think there is anything I might be able to help you with.



clipped on: 04.15.2012 at 08:02 pm    last updated on: 04.15.2012 at 08:02 pm

RE: Fafard mix recommendation (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: greenman28 on 03.17.2012 at 01:24 pm in Hot Pepper Forum

Fafard does provide some of the best bagged potting mixes.

Their Heavyweight line of mixes is what you want, and in particular these three:
51L, 52, and/or the Nursery Mix. These mixes can also be stretched with additional Perlite
and Bark, if one were so inclined.

You'll notice that these have the least peat moss and the most bark.



clipped on: 03.31.2012 at 10:33 pm    last updated on: 03.31.2012 at 10:33 pm

RE: Which mild / dulce habanero type? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: smokemaster_2007 on 01.29.2012 at 03:36 pm in Hot Pepper Forum


Tabago Seasoning , Trinidad Seasoning , Rocotillo , Suave Orange , Suave Red , Zavory , Venezuela Sweet Habanero , Sweet Scotch Bonnet , Granada Seasoning , Havana Seasoning , Mayo Pimento , ST.Lucia red or yellow seasoning , St. Martins seasoning pepper.


clipped on: 01.29.2012 at 08:50 pm    last updated on: 01.29.2012 at 08:50 pm

RE: Mixed 'Hot' seed packet offer (Follow-Up #34)

posted by: ottawapepper on 01.24.2012 at 03:52 pm in Hot Pepper Forum

Hi Mark,

You didn't miss it in this thread. Rick is referring to a recipe I posted a while back. It's pretty simple and you can easily add or remove stuff to make it your own. It doubles, triples etc. easily. I've made it using Scotch Bonnets through Jolokias and Scorpions.


Caribbean BBQ Sauce

2 (or more) scotch bonnet chilies (or whatever chili you like), fresh or dried
1 cup orange juice (also nice with pineapple)
1 cup honey
1/3 cup Soy or Worcestershire sauce (I prefer Soy)
1 TBS ginger
1/2 tsp allspice
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp dried thyme (1 TBS fresh)

Blend together well in a blender and then simmer in sauce pan for 5-10 minutes.
Let stand in fridge overnight for fullest flavour .


clipped on: 01.25.2012 at 09:42 am    last updated on: 01.25.2012 at 09:42 am

RE: Spider mites - how long can they live without food? (Follow-Up #14)

posted by: jennq on 12.16.2011 at 06:27 pm in Hot Pepper Forum

Once you have spider mites, you always have spider mites. I've never heard of anyone growing indoors that didn't get them sooner or later, usually sooner. I just take it for granted that they will show up. No worries though, they can be controlled.

Pure cold-pressed Neem Oil (Dynagro makes a good one)- 1 oz per gallon of water, with 2 tsp soap (I use Murphy's Oil Soap, because I have it handy). Put it in a big garden sprayer and spray every side of the leaves, once a week. This knocks some of the mites off, and disrupts the reproductive cycle of the rest. It won't kill them, and they will never go away completely, but it will reduce their numbers enough that they won't hurt a healthy plant. This helps control aphids, too.

Good luck!


clipped on: 12.16.2011 at 06:33 pm    last updated on: 12.16.2011 at 06:33 pm

RE: feeding scorpions (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: smokemaster_2007 on 11.08.2011 at 10:27 pm in Hot Pepper Forum

I use a mix of Dolomite Lime and vinegar.
It makes Calcium Acetate which the plant doesn't have to wait for it to break down to use.
It's the stuff in Blossom set spray for tomatoes etc.
Not just Scorpions need extra Calcium.All chinense like extra calucium.

I use dolomite lime because it also has magnesium in it so my plants get both at the same time.

I just put an inch of lime powder in a cottage cheese container and fill it with white vinegar(5%).
Don't tightly cap it or the top will pop off from the gas it puts out when it reacts.
I add more vinegar as I use it up.
Unflavored tums worked but doesn't have the magnesium in it.


clipped on: 11.09.2011 at 03:46 pm    last updated on: 11.09.2011 at 03:46 pm

RE: Pepperoncini growing peppers like mad! (Follow-Up #24)

posted by: chile_freak on 09.26.2011 at 12:59 am in Hot Pepper Forum

was reading through this thread and wished I had seen it earlier, depending on whether you like the real crispy imported pepperoncini or the softer papa johns box style pepperoncinis, both are delicious in my opinion, because they both taste like pepperoncini. first any salt will work, but besides the anticaking agents in kosher and iodized salt both have iodine which when added to vinegar will taste extra bitter, thus the addition of sugar water, also if you look closely alot of pickled peppers have yellow#5 or #6 dyes added to them, particularly, pepperoncini and banana peppers, it does give them a slightly more appealing color especially the softer type, which are blanched in boiling vinegar water, then allowed to cool in the solution then bottled thus softening them and delivering more of the brine flavor and pulling a little of the bitter bell flavor out of them.which ever way you like them this is how I do mine and it will work either way:
1 qt jar packed full of peppers
add 1/2 cup salt( i only use sea salt,whether it be fine or coarse ground for this i use coarse)
1/4 cup sugar
fill w/ hot tap water and refridgerate overnight
pour out liquid and fill w/ cold tap water several times to rinse salt

1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
1 tblsp minced garlic
1 tblsp sea salt (fine)
1 tsp coarse ground peppercorn( i use the five peppercorn melange but black works great too)
2 tsps sugar
1 tsp ground tumeric
now I like to bring the mixture to a boil pour it over the peppers and them let them cool in it, or put it in cold if u r canning using a hot water bath
but u can add the mixture cold and let sit in the fridge for a week, the obvious advantage to using the heated method is ur peppers will be pickled in a couple of hours as opposed to several days, as they are done as soon as they cool! hope your peppers are doing great!


clipped on: 09.26.2011 at 11:22 am    last updated on: 09.26.2011 at 11:22 am

RE: Proof that Hell can freeze over (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: ottawapepper on 10.03.2009 at 11:27 am in Hot Pepper Forum

smokemaster, you are the first person who has told me I have nice looking heaters (blush).

organic_dusty, Id be happy to share my Golden Ghost Jelly recipe with you and everyone else. Honestly, its not original. Im just substituting Bhuts for Habaneros in the Habanero Gold recipe and renaming it :-))) "Originality is undetected plagiarism."

In case youre not familiar with the recipe, here are two versions. The first is the original Habanero Gold from the Bernardin (Canadian version of the Ball Blue Book). It only makes a small amount. The second is a double batch version developed by Readinglady over on the Harvest Forum.

Habanero Gold Jelly

1/3 cup finely sliced dried apricots
3/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 up finely diced red onion
1/4 cup finely diced sweet red pepper
1/4 cup finely diced habanero peppers, including seeds
OR 1/4 cup diced, combined jalapeno and Scotch Bonnet peppers
3 cups granulated sugar
1 pouch Certo liquid pectin

Cut apricots into 1/8 inch slices. Measure into a large deep stainless steel saucepan with vinegar; let stand 4 hours. Individually, cut onion and seeded peppers into 1/8 inch slices; cut slices into 1/4 inch dice. Measure each ingredient; add to apricots. Stir in sugar.

Over high heat, bring to a full roiling boil. Stirring constantly, boil hard 1 minute. Remove from heat. Immediately stir in pectin, mixing well.
Pour jelly into hot jar, dividing solids equally among jars and filling each jar to within 1/4 inch of top rim. Wipe rims. Apply lids.

Process 10 minutes in BWB (boiling water bath). Cool upright, until lids pop down, about 30 minutes. When lids are concave but the jelly is still hot, carefully grasp jar without disturbing lid and invert, twist, or rotate each jar to distribute solids throughout jelly. The jar can be inverted temporarily but do not allow it to stand upside-down for prolonged periods.

Repeat as necessary during the cooling/setting time, until solids remain suspended in the jelly.

Yield: 3 half pints

Double Batch Habanero Gold Jelly

1 cup minced dried apricots (1/8" dice) Note: Could use dried peaches or pears instead.
1 1/4 total cups minced red sweet pepper and minced red onion (1/8" dice), approximately half-and-half.
1/4 cup Habanero peppers (Note: For extra-hot, increase Habaneros to 1/2 cup and reduce red sweet pepper/red onion combination to 1 cup total.)
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
6 cups sugar
1 3-oz. pouch liquid pectin.

Prep apricots, peppers and onion. Place in a large, stainless or other non-reactive pot. Add sugar and vinegar. Bring to the boil and cook 5 minutes. Pull off the burner; allow to cool, cover and let sit overnight.
Stir occasionally if convenient.
Note: 4-6 hours would be plenty, so the time doesn't need to be any greater than the soaking time for apricots in the original recipe.

Next day, bring the mixture back to the boil. Stir in liquid pectin. Boil hard 1 minute.

Pull off the heat. If necessary, skim foam. Let cool 2 minutes, stirring to distribute solids. Pour into jars. Stir to distribute and remove air bubbles. Do the usual with the jars and lids, BWB 10 minutes.

When jars are sealed, "agitate" to distribute solids throughout the jelly.

Yield: 6 8-oz. jars.


clipped on: 08.08.2011 at 01:56 pm    last updated on: 08.08.2011 at 01:56 pm

RE: Bhut Jolokia best growing conditions? (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: ottawapepper on 01.14.2008 at 09:34 pm in Hot Pepper Forum

b hopps,

At the risk of straying off topic, in response to your comment about what to pair the Bhuts with in a sauce may I suggest the following. Im attempting to grow my first Bhut Jolokia peppers and have yet to taste one. I do hear that they are quite tasty.

I use Orange Habaneros in this sauce and it really turns out nice. First you get the fruity pepper / citrus / sweet flavor and then its followed up by a kick!

For what its worth, you may want to scale it down and try it with a small portion of Buht.


Caribbean BBQ Sauce

2 scotch bonnet chilies (or whatever you can handle), fresh or dried
1 cup orange juice
1 cup honey
1/3 cup soy or Worcestershire sauce
1 TBS ginger
1/2 tsp allspice
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp dried thyme (1 TBS fresh)

Blend together well in a blender and then simmer in sauce pan for 5-10 minutes.
Let stand in fridge overnight for fullest flavor


clipped on: 08.08.2011 at 12:56 pm    last updated on: 08.08.2011 at 12:56 pm

RE: Eating chocolate habanero's (Follow-Up #14)

posted by: chile_freak on 07.10.2011 at 05:21 pm in Hot Pepper Forum

No worries, simplest thing in the world:
8 scotch bonnets( deseed and deplacenta unless u like it HOT
2 cups cane vinegar(rice if u don't have access to cane)
1 medium onion (rough chopped)
1 medium carrot (rough chopped)
6 cloves garlic
1/8 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp corriander
2 tblsp olive oil
salt to taste
pinch of xantham gum(optional)
preheat oven to 400. place peppers(whole w/o calyx, or deseeded and deplacentaed) garlic, onion and carrot on cookis sheet and drizzle the olive oil over them, roast until, garlic softens and onions are translucent( about 8-10 mins roughly) add all ingredients to blender or food processor, and mix thouroughly, til u have a smooth texture.
strain and enjoy.good luck! Let me know how it turns out for you. This is one of the simplest hot sauces I make, other than the pepper mash of course: roast garlic and chiles puree in vinegar til desired consistency and add salt, I use thai chile mash on all kinds of stuff and, smoked habaneros make a wicked good pepper mash too( not to mention one hell of a bbq sauce!


clipped on: 08.08.2011 at 12:53 pm    last updated on: 08.08.2011 at 12:53 pm

terriyaki sauce (Follow-Up #22)

posted by: chile_freak on 08.07.2011 at 12:47 am in Hot Pepper Forum

there are four main taste categories associated w/ chinese cooking, hot and sour, hot and sweet, sweet and salty, and sweet and sour. Terriyaki of course is sweet and salty, as is sesame chicken for example. the key to a good terriyaki is balancing the sweet and salty, and to do this most chinese chefs use 3 different sweet ingredients to balance out the heavy amount of salt in the abundance of soy sauce in terriyaki now this recipe will be for terriyaki marinade but I will explain how to make it into a sauce as well.
Terryaki marinade/sauce
2 cups soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1 cup sweetened pineapple juice
1 tblsp minced garlic
1 tblsp minced fresh ginger
for the marinade just mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl and store in the fridge for 24 hours to combine flavors, then use it to marinade steaks chicken pork shrimp whatever, to turn it into a sauce just put marinade into a small saucepot bring to a boil and wisk in corn starch slurry(2 tblsps cornstarch 3/8 cup water) and reduce to med low heat, simmer 8-10 mins stirring frequently until sauce thickens and cornstarch flavor is cooked out, sauce will thicken more upon cooling, then u have a terriyaki glaze. p.s to make delicious teriyaki wings warm glaze slowly and slowly wisk in softened butter, then pour over fried wings, or for a slightly healthier alternative toss ur raw wings in a little glaze and butter and cook them on 325 for 15-20 mins or until cooked through


clipped on: 08.08.2011 at 11:07 am    last updated on: 08.08.2011 at 11:07 am

RE: Favorite hot sauce (Follow-Up #15)

posted by: chile_freak on 08.06.2011 at 12:21 am in Hot Pepper Forum

Worry not buddy, cooking for me is like hot peppers, I enjoy spreading the love. Lets see, I'll take your posts in order.

Mango Habanero Sauce
4 ripe mangoes(peeled and rough chopped)
10 habaneros
4 cloves garlic
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tsp fresh ginger(peeled and large diced)
2 cups orange juice
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1 bunch cilantro(destemmed and chopped)
1/2 cup brown sugar
cut habs in half(leave seeds and membranes for a real nice hot sauce, sweet and spicy delicious)
sweat habs, ginger and garlic(leave whole)in a med saucepan until peppers and garlic soften then add mangoes and cook til soft and mushy, then add brown sugar and stir constantly until sugar melts. then add all liquids(lemon juice, oj and vinegar)simmer for 10-15 mins add cilantro and simmer 5 min more, puree and add salt to taste.
then asian right lets see
sweet chile Thai sauce
1/2 cup rice vinegar
2cups light corn syrup
15-20 thai peppers(thai bird, thai long, thai hot thai dragon what ever u enjoy or can find)
1/8 cup chopped fresh mint
6 cloves garlic
roast peppers and garlic in 400 degree oven for 8-10 minutes
meanwhile heat vinegar and corn syrup in a small sauce pot until hot, when peppers are soft and roasted, puree all together and add mint salt to taste. this is basically thai spring roll dipping sauce, but it works great to add to shrimp or chicken stir fry.

simple General Tso's sauce
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup honey
1 cup orange juice
15-20 thai or japonese peppers
6 cloves garlic
2 tsp fresh ginger
corn starch slurry(1 tblsps corn starch 2 tblsp water mixed)
saute peppers garlic and ginger until soft, add honey juice and soy bring to a boil,stir in slurry reduce heat and cook for 8-10 mins tor until corn starch flavor cooks out.You can use this on several different things, but to make general tso's chicken pork beef or shrimp, dredge meat whichever u choose in a mixture of 1cup ap flour 1/4 cup corn starch 1-1/2 tsp salt then fry and drain stir fry whatever veggies u like, personally, I love snap or snow peas, shredded carrot and straw mushrooms then toss ur meat into the stir fry, pour over the sauce and let it thicken a bit and voila! Keep the faith man!


clipped on: 08.08.2011 at 11:02 am    last updated on: 08.08.2011 at 11:02 am

RE: Favorite hot sauce (Follow-Up #11)

posted by: chile_freak on 08.05.2011 at 01:16 am in Hot Pepper Forum

Jim it was as most things I do both sarcastic and serious ;)
I have been cooking in restaurants for 22 yrs since the day I turned 14( got a workers permit and started at my best freinds fathers restaurant, I did a 3 yr ACF(American Culinary Federation) aprrenticeship and 2 more yrs in culinary school, I am both a certified culinarian and certified Pasry cook, I have been a saucier, a butcher, a pastry chef, an executive chef and now I am currently the banquet chef for a four star hotel near= by so yes to answer your question I am seriously a chef.:)
try this out:
Peach Habanero Mole
6 ripe peaches( sliced in half and pitted)
1 large onion(or 2 med)diced
8 habaneros(yellow would be the best w/ peaches red are always great but orange will do in a pinch)
8 cloves garlic whole
1/2 cup vinegar(white will work well for u u wont taste it trust me)
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 tblsp cumin
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 bunch cilantro chopped
1/2 cup toasted pecans
place half peaches, habs, garlic and onions on a cookie sheet and drizzle lightly w/ olive oil. roast in oven @ 400 for about 10-12 minutes or until onion is translucent and skin pulls easily from a large sauce pot, put roasted items along w/ pecans and chocolate on low heat stir till chocolate melts add brown sugar,cinnamon,cumin and vinegar and stir well. add chicken stock and turn up heat to bring to a boil, reduce and simmer 40-50 mins then add chopped cilantro and salt simmer 5 more mins remove from heat puree and strain. at this point it should taste good, put it in the fridge for two days and it will taste fantastic, great w/ chicken or pork!


clipped on: 08.05.2011 at 10:44 am    last updated on: 08.05.2011 at 10:44 am

RE: a little love from the garden (Follow-Up #21)

posted by: chile_freak on 08.04.2011 at 12:48 am in Hot Pepper Forum

the simplest way I can tell you to make a good strawberry sauce. try this lets use fatali as an example:
2 fatalis (destemmed deseeded and diced)obvious ly more for hotter sauce)
1 cup chopped strawberries
2 cloves garlic chopped
2 tblsps sugar
1 small red onion diced
1 cup balsamic vinegar( preferably white the color will be nicer and the flavor is a bit more mellow)or champagne vinegar is nice also
1 cup water
1/8 tsp corriander ground
corn starch slurry( 1 tsp corn starch 3 tsps water mixed)
saute peppers onions and garlic til onions and garlic are transluscent, add strawberries and reduce heat, cook strawberries, stirring frequently until strawberries get soft and pasty, add sugar and stir continously for 2 mins,
then add corriander and stir again. then add vinegar and water and increase heat to mad high. bring to a boil then add corn starch slurry, stir vigorously and reduce heat to low stir frequently cook on low for about 10 mins or until the corn starch flavor has cooked out puree and strain add salt to taste, this sauce like any other good sauce will taste much different the next day, the flavors will marry the heat will increase, the flavor will deepen and gain complexity, etc, point is taste the next day and add salt again if necessary.
just so you all know, any pulpy fruit will work inthis recipe, peach blueberry, raspberry, pear, even banana, if sweet or strawberries are not ur thing,u can use this exact recipe w/ any pepper and as a savory, just change out the strawberries for tomatoes(fresh from ur garden works best)change the vinegar to cider or white wine, or cane.
also as I have said before, roasting ur peppers w/ a couple of cloves of garlic then puree them w/ a little oil and vinegar and a dash of salt makes a wonderful topping for anything.
if you like carribean flavor try this
switch the strawberry for banana
double the peppers
add a can of coconut milk and split the water 50/50 w/ Orange juice
use cane or rice vinegar
add a tsp of fresh ginger to the saute mix
add a pinch of powdered cinnamon and a pinch of fenugreek(go easy on both of these as they are potent flavors) if u want a really complex sauce lt me know but understand the ingredient list starts getting longer and the prep and cook times go way up :)
give these a try and Im sure u will enjoy
for the chocolate peppers I might consider a tamarind sauce,
try this:
6-8 chocolate peppers chopped (w/o seeds if u want milder)
1 onion diced
4 garlic cloves
1 carrot peeled and chopped
3 tblsp tamarind paste
1 tblsp thyme leaves
1 tsp ginger(fresh)
1/4 cup soy sauce (lite salt is preferred, better to add ur own)
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 cups rice wine vinegar
1 cup water
1/2 cup brown sugar
sautee, peppers, onions, garlic(whole) and carrot,until carrot and onion soften, then add all remaining ingredients and simmer for 10-15 mins then puree strain, this one will be hot but has amazing flavor ;)
keep in mind u can always reduce the amount of peppers if u need to I know not everyone likes it hot enough to strip paint like I do so please change the recipe to suit ur own tastes. good night all, good luck and good growing.


clipped on: 08.04.2011 at 10:32 am    last updated on: 08.04.2011 at 10:32 am

RE: Loads of Bhut Jolokia what? (Follow-Up #11)

posted by: chile_freak on 07.21.2011 at 10:51 pm in Hot Pepper Forum

I make a similar smoked red hab sauce, just as simple, except w/ cider vinegar( ilike the favor better) just smoke peppers, add 2 cloves garlic peppers salt and vinegar to a jar tighten lid as much as possible store @ room temp for a month or so, and blend strain and enjoy


See Previous clipping also
clipped on: 07.22.2011 at 10:46 am    last updated on: 07.22.2011 at 10:46 am

RE: Loads of Bhut Jolokia what? (Follow-Up #10)

posted by: sandy0225 on 07.21.2011 at 06:21 pm in Hot Pepper Forum

easy tabasco sauce

wash peppers, remove stems (You don't have to cut off the green part that's on the pepper itself, just take off any excess stems)

pack peppers loosely in a quart or even a gallon or half gallon glass jar with a secure lid. Add 1/4 t salt per quart capacity of jar. 1gal=1t salt.

fill the jar to the top with white vinegar.
Place lid on jar and set it in a warm place, like the top of the refrigerator for 3-4 months until peppers are soft. If the level of vinegar goes down, top it off with more vinegar.

dump the jar in the blender and blend until liquefied.

dump it into a strainer and strain out the skins and seeds.

store in refrigerator after blending.

Now, you could smoke the peppers and then make this sauce for a smoky taste to your hot sauce. I bet that would really be good!


See next clipping for additional ideas
clipped on: 07.22.2011 at 10:46 am    last updated on: 07.22.2011 at 10:46 am

RE: HELP!!! My Hot sauce is to hot. What to do? (Follow-Up #14)

posted by: smokemaster_2007 on 07.19.2011 at 07:05 am in Hot Pepper Forum

There is a Carolina Cayenne listed above(developed in the U.S.A. 100,000-125,000)that gets in the range the add says.

When I grew it ,it was hotter than regular Cayenne but I only grew it once.
There are probably tons of hybrids/developed cayenne types out there that are in all different heat ranges.

I was refering to Cayenne in general.

Maybe it was my growing conditions but in general , I don't think Cayenne peppers pack that much heat.
I haven't grown them in a while.

I use mostly C.Chinense,Baccatums and Pubescens for my powders and rubs heat.
Annuums I use mostly for flavor.Especially Chile Negro , Poblano and Cascabel.

For short intense bursts of heat a lot of the Frutescens do the trick.

I grow a lot of Pubescens too.
They'll fool you though.
They have all 3 kinds of Caspaicin in them so they feel hotter than they are.
They hit up all the receptors in your mouth.

I'm more into using several types of peppers to blend together to get the taste and heat i want.
I'm growing several strains of 7 Pot,Trinidad Scorpion ,Nagas and Bhuts this year with a couple seasoning type peppers to mellow them out.

I guess if the growers are using a similar strain to the Carolina Cayenne type for their powder it could reach up to 125,000 units.
I've just never had a Cayenne that I thaught was anything to write home about as far as heat goes.
I did like yellow Cayenne better than the other ones for taste when I grew them a few years back.
I've grown several different ones.Regular assorted Cayennes,Long Slim,Long red,Yellow,Carolina,Thomas Jefferson,African,Purple,Super,Orange,Golden,Turkish,Picante,Portugal,Processing and sweet.


clipped on: 07.20.2011 at 10:13 am    last updated on: 07.20.2011 at 10:14 am

another fabulous use for smoked red habaneros

posted by: chile_freak on 07.15.2011 at 10:00 pm in Hot Pepper Forum

ok so the restaurant was kinda slow tonight, so I came home early. The woman was home so I brought home some shaved ribeye to make us some philly cheese steaks, and because I love peppers on everything in particular smoked red habs, (make the best bbq sauce you ever will eat) I always keep some smoked hab paste around, well tonight when I was making the mayo to put on the hoagies I decided to throw some smoked red hab paste into the processor w/ the egg yolks garlic lemon juice and olive oil, and let me tell you, it was the best damn philly cheese steak I have ever eaten, those red habs have a wonderful fruity aroma and a nice heat, add the smoky flavor and it is down right heavenly. I liked it so much I thought I would post the recipe for anyone that wants to try it out @ home:
CHEF Paul's smoked red hab mayo
2 egg yolks
1 tblsp lemon juice
1/2 tblsp minced garlic
1 tsp spicy brown mustard
2 tblsp smoked red hab paste(im sure any other smoke pepper will work cant wait to try w/ choc habs :)
3/4 cup olive or canola oil(I use olive for everything but that just me)
salt and pepper to taste
hope some of y'all will enjoy this as much as I do
Jamie I thought of you and ur 3 prolific red habs when posting this one
oh ps. to make the red hab paste I just smoke many red habs, then puree them w/ apple cider vinegar and garlic and a dash of brown sugar, this is because I usually use it to make bbq sauce(but thats a long story and there's not enough whiskey in this bar to tell it ;)


clipped on: 07.18.2011 at 11:42 am    last updated on: 07.18.2011 at 11:42 am

RE: My peppers this year. Recipes? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: chile_freak on 07.17.2011 at 01:31 am in Hot Pepper Forum

those look great! did you see the thread another great use for red habaneros? I posted a recipe for smoked red hab mayonaise there, carribean reds are one of my favorite peppers, another super simple sauce I like to make with them is:
10 red habs
4 cloves garlic
1 small onion cut in half
1/2 cup orange juice,
1 tblsp lime juice
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 tblsp brown sugar
put habs onion and garlic on cookie sheet drizzle w/ olive oil, and roast @ 400 for 8-10 minutes or until garlic is soft and onion is translucent.set aside. add remaining ingredients to a small sauce pot and heat on high until they start frothing pretty good, pour all ingredients into a blender and puree until smooth salt to taste.
also, try just cutting your peppers in 1/4s and dropping them in a jar of white or cider vinegar with a clove of garlic or two for a week or so, this will mellow the vinegar some and the flavors will combine nicely use the vinegar on anything it will be good or after the week is up just puree the whole thing and use it to spoon on fish chicken, steak hamburgers whatever :)


clipped on: 07.18.2011 at 11:24 am    last updated on: 07.18.2011 at 11:24 am

RE: pickling pepperoncini's (Follow-Up #10)

posted by: sandy0225 on 08.26.2010 at 08:10 pm in Hot Pepper Forum

here you go. This is a great recipe and it works like a charm. If you add a small (early spring pea) size piece of alum, it stays even crisper. But if you don't add it, they will keep well for a year anyway. Don't pickle red peppers, they get soft every time. Use green ones only.

4 Pint jars, canning rings and lids

sliced peppers, hot banana, pepperoncini, jalapenos, big Jim, or whatever kind you want to use, If you use whole peppers, cut a large slit in the sides of each one so brine can get inside.

1 1/2 quarts water (6 cups)

2 cups white vinegar

1/2 cup pickling salt

In clean jars, place the sliced peppers, filling each jar about 3/4 full to allow room for peppers to expand.

Mix the water, vinegar, and pickling salt and bring to a boil.

Pour boiling brine over the peppers to 1/2 inch from the top of the jar. Place 2 jars at a time in microwaveand heat on high for about one minute. Immediately, Seal the jars with the canning lids that have been boiling in a pan of water.
set the jars on a towel on the kitchen counter. They should seal on their own at this point. They will keep at room temperature for at least a year. Keep out of bright light to preserve color. If they don't seal, place jars in refrigerator and use within 3 months of opening jars.


clipped on: 08.27.2010 at 11:30 am    last updated on: 08.27.2010 at 11:30 am

RE: Opalka BER (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: carolyn137 on 08.03.2010 at 05:04 pm in Growing Tomatoes Forum

Carolyn, I am completely open to using non paste tomatoes for my sauce. What are some good varieties?


Ikea, I never saw your question from July, so I'm late, but I'm here. LOL

Some suggestions for sense fleshed, few seed non-paste varieties.

Red Penna
Neves Azorean Red
Wes, heart
Milka's Red Bulgarian
Russian Bogatyr
Linnie's Oxheart
Indiana Red, heart
Danko, heart
German Red Strawberry, heart
Ludmilla's Red Plum

... to name a few.

I threw some hearts in there b'c almost all of them have dense flesh with few seeds and excellnt taste, as do the other non-hearts on that list, at least for me they do.



non-paste varieties recommended for sauce
clipped on: 08.04.2010 at 10:49 am    last updated on: 08.04.2010 at 10:49 am

3 new things to do with those Habs - with pics and recipes

posted by: megachili on 09.05.2009 at 01:13 pm in Hot Pepper Forum

Greetings, friends. My wife Kim and I have been having a blast figuring out new and creative things to do with habaneros, due to our high (and unexpected!) yield. I know people are sometimes stumped about what specifically to do with these pods. Weve been discovering that they are super-versatile. Here are THREE of our habanero-centric dishes, with pics and recipes. I will add more to this thread as we come up with new stuff.

Note: In the pic below are the kind of habs we used in all the recipes: traditional orange habs. Ours are a large-ish red. If you are using smaller store-bought habs, you might want to up the hab count for each recipe by a bit; for example, from 5 to 7, etc.


OK, lets look at the recipes. First up, habanero cookies!


We made 55 cookies in two versions of the recipe, and then proceeded to eat every last of them in one day. And that was WITH the two of us being on diets. Well, not that day, I guess. Thats how good these came out.

Here is a pic of Version 1 (beta) of the cookie mix, which included coconut flakes and cashews. (We later took those ingredients out).


Here is a pic of the Version 1 (beta) cookies;


Here is close-up of one Version 1 cookie, where the habanero chunks are easy to see;


In version 2, we radically improved the recipe by making it into a straight habanero peanut butter cookie and deleting the coconut, cashews and some other spurious ingredients. This is the one that the recipe below will make. Here is a pic of these addicting cookies, seconds before being consumed:


And finally here is the recipe:

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
cup white sugar
1 cup peanut butter
2 eggs
teaspoon vanilla
5 minced (medium-sized) orange habanero peppers* (about 2+ tablespoons)
1 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
teaspoon ground ginger
teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup peanut butter chips (Reeses; alternative: chocolate chips )
cup lightly salted cocktail peanuts, chopped
cup shredded sweetened coconut
1 cup oats (regular or quick cooking, not instant oatmeal)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, cream together sugar, brown sugar, white sugar, and peanut butter until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time until well blended. Add the vanilla and minced peppers. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger and cinnamon; stir into the creamed mixture. Mix in the peanut butter chips, peanuts, coconut and oats. Drop by rounded tablespoonful onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake for 13-15 minutes (depending on the size you make the cookies) in the preheated oven, or until just light brown. Don't over-bake. Cool and store in an airtight container.

Makes roughly 50-55 2.5" cookies

Removing the seeds and ribs from 2-3 of the 5 habs will result in a medium-spicy cookie. Adjust to taste.

Next up:


I have previously posted an early version of this, but weve since improved the recipe considerably, and Im posting the improved recipe here. This is a medium-hot habanero-serrano chutney using pineapple and mango. Its really great on Jamaican jerk type dishes where it blends in with the hab flavor of jerk, and also very good as a spicy sauce on shrimp, chicken, etc. Here is some of it sitting on chicken:


Here is a bunch of it canned it has a nice multi-color (orange-red) look to it.

Heres a close up of one jar of it:


And here is the recipe:

Tropical Habanero Chutney

2 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped onion
pinch of salt
2-3 cups small diced fresh pineapple
2 cups small diced fresh mango
1 cup small diced red bell pepper
2 small diced green serranos
2 tablespoons (5-6) minced orange habaneros, seeded and de-ribbed to taste
zest and juice of 1 lime
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1 cup vinegar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons water

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add onions. Season with salt and saut for 2 minutes

Add pineapple, red bell pepper, habanero, jalapeno, lime, allspice. Saute until pineapple is soft, around 7 minutes, stirring frequently

Add vinegar and sugar. Bring mixture to a boil.

Combine cornstarch and water in bowl and whisk until smooth; stir into main bowl and return to a boil.

Cook for 4 minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and let cool completely.

Store in airtight container until ready for use.

( This recipe is an adaptation of an Emeril recipe, though its changed a lot. Heres a link to the original Emeril one:,2498,FINE_22197_5927849,00.html )

Third up:


OK, that name might be a bit of an exaggeration its hot but, um, not quite hellfire. Sounds good, though. This is a tapenade consisting of different kinds, colors, and heat levels of peppers, but the main influencing flavor is, of course, the mighty habenero. It has a medium heat level while being consumed, but leaves that pleasant sheen of habanero afterburn on the lips for 15-20 minutes post-meal. This was an experimental dish, but it came out so much better than expected, and is an excellent hot pepper spread for bread, meats, etc. I highly recommend giving it a shot.

Heres what the recipe will look like right after preparation:


Heres what it would look like on a couple pieces of bread:


And here is the recipe:

cup almonds
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 large sweet onions
1 whole bulb (not clove) of garlic
teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
5 whole orange habaneros*
5 jalapenos, seeded and de-ribbed
3 large sweet peppers, e.g. bells, cubanelles, etc.
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon ground chipotle chile (e.g. brand: Spice Islands)
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

Preheat oven to 425
Separate garlic bulb into cloves; peel cloves; leave whole
Cut onions and all peppers into roughly inch pieces
Place garlic, onions and peppers into a 1 gallon plastic ziplock bag
Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, chipotle powder, smoked paprika into the bag
Seal bag and toss mixture for a minute or two (to coat vegetables)
Empty bag onto large cookie sheet; roast in oven for 30-35 minutes, flipping half-way through to promote even browning
Remove from oven and let cool
Grind almonds in food processor (pulse) until coarsely ground
Add all vegetables from cookie sheet, 3 tablespoons of oil, 2 tablespoons vinegar, basil and rosemary to food processor
Process until smooth with small chunks; do not liquefy. Use pulse.
* its hot! Seed/de-rib some of the habs to taste

Enjoy! We are continuing our habanero R&D effort and there should be at least one more new dish this week.


clipped on: 02.11.2010 at 10:11 am    last updated on: 02.11.2010 at 10:11 am

RE: Cranberry Habanero Jelly (Ottawapepper) (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: ottawapepper on 02.02.2010 at 09:58 pm in Hot Pepper Forum

LMAO Rick!

I'm glad you liked it.

I'm fortunate to live within 40 minutes of the only cranberry farm in Eastern Ontario. I currently have 2 lbs of berries and 3 liters of juice in the freezer. Oh ya, I have 12 frozen Bhuts looking for somewhere to go. I'm thinking Turkey's Revenge II, the Sequel.

OK, full disclosure (Rick, you know I'm a safety nut).


I adapted a recipe off of the Harvest Forum. The original was a Cran Jalapeno jelly posted by a trusted member, Melly.
I tweaked the ingredients (still maintaining safe acidity levels) with help from other Harvest Members. As such, I'm happy to post the recipe. Follow the recipe and procedures and it's safe for shelf storage.


3/4 cup cider vinegar
3/4 cup white vinegar
2 cups 100% unsweetened cranberry juice
1/2 cup finely diced habanero pepper
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
1 3/4 cups fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped
1 pkg liquid pectin
5 cups sugar

1. Finely dice peppers and onion and coarsely chop cranberries
2. In a large sauce pan, combine cranberries, pepper, onion, vinegars, and juice
3. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low
4. Simmer 15 20 minutes to allow flavors to blend and to soften up cranberries
5. Add sugar and return to a hard boil for 1 minute
6. Remove from heat and stir liquid pectin in well
7. Add jelly to hot sterilized jars
8. Wipe rim of jars with a clean damp towel
9. Position lids as per usual instructions
10. Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes
11. Remove jars and allow them to cool
12. During the cooling, periodically "gently" invert jars to distribute solids.

Yield 7 or 8 - 250ml (1 cup) jars


clipped on: 02.03.2010 at 10:41 am    last updated on: 02.03.2010 at 10:41 am

RE: orange habaneros......any recipes? (Follow-Up #16)

posted by: organic_dusty on 08.21.2009 at 02:54 pm in Hot Pepper Forum

Hi Travis, here's that recipe:

Forbidden Fruit Fire Sauce

6 whole Mango, peeled and seeded
6 whole Kiwi, fruit peeled
10 whole fresh Orange Habanero chile peppers, stemmed and seeded (NOTE: leave seeds in at least 4 if additional heat is desired)
2 whole fresh Red Carribean Habanero chile peppers, stemmed and seeded (OPTIONAL)
3 whole Lime, juice of
3 whole Lemon, juice of
5 tablespoons Blood Orange Juice (frozen concentrate can be used)
1/2 jar of red Maraschino Cherries, including juice (16 oz. jar)
15 golden cherries, fresh and depitted
1/3 cup distilled white Vinegar
1 teaspoon Salt
2 cups Water
1.5 oz. white Tequila, must be top-shelf - I like Don Julio Blanco (OPTIONAL)

In a 4 qt. stock pot add Habaneros, water and salt. Boil very slowly for 15 minutes. Remove from heat then carefully drain, saving 3/4 cup of water.

Place all of the ingredients (EXCEPT VINEGAR and CHERRIES) along with the saved water in a blender and puree until smooth. Return mix to the stock pot and simmer on medium low heat for 10 minutes. Stir frequently.

Remove from heat and stir in the vinegar. Allow to cool for a bit then pour back into blender. Add the Mararchino Cherries (and juice), the fresh golden cherries, and the tequila (optional) and puree until very smooth. Pour into bottles and store in the refrigerator.

Preparation suggestions: Make sure you wear kitchen gloves when handling the Habaneros and have proper kitchen ventilation when boiling them. Red Carribean habs are twice as hot as the orange habs so use caution. This sauce is oh-so smooth, mildly sweet and seriously hot. A tropical delight with a devilish sting.


clipped on: 08.21.2009 at 03:49 pm    last updated on: 08.21.2009 at 03:49 pm

RE: Sauce suggestions (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: pepper_d0g on 08.19.2009 at 01:59 pm in Hot Pepper Forum

Here is one of the best simple hot sauce recipes I have come across that meets your criteria (courtesy of Emeril). You can adjust the heat by the number and type of peppers you add. Ken


* 20 tabasco or serrano chiles, stemmed and cut crosswise into 1/8-inch slices, or 12 very ripe red jalapenos (about 10 ounces)
* 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
* 3/4 cup thinly sliced onions
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
* 2 cups water
* 1 cup distilled white vinegar


Combine the peppers, garlic, onions, salt and oil in a non-reactive saucepan over high heat. Saute for 3 minutes. Add the water and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes, or until peppers are very soft and almost all of the liquid has evaporated. (Note: this should be done in a very well-ventilated area!) Remove from the heat and allow to steep until mixture comes to room temperature. In a food processor, puree the mixture for 15 seconds, or until smooth. With the food processor running, add the vinegar through the feed tube in a steady stream.

Taste and season with more salt, if necessary. (This will depend on the heat level of the peppers you use as well as the brand of vinegar used.) Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve and then transfer to a sterilized pint jar or bottle and secure with an airtight lid. Refrigerate. Let age at least 2 weeks before using. Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.


clipped on: 08.19.2009 at 02:09 pm    last updated on: 08.19.2009 at 02:09 pm

RE: Storing Hot Sauce (Follow-Up #10)

posted by: ardnek710 on 01.08.2008 at 07:38 pm in Hot Pepper Forum

Fruitalli Glaze

4 cups peach nectar (45%fruit juice)
4 cups apricot nectar (45% fruit juice)
1 cup black cherry extract
1 cup each diced finely (used food processer for finer dice) of dried peaches, dried apricots, and dried tart cherries
2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped fatalli peppers
3 cups vinegar
7 cups sugar

I mix the fruit juices together on a simmer, then I prep the dried fruit and onions. This allows the fruit juices to cook some water off before mixing in the rest of the ingredients.
Then mix in all the ingredients and bring to a roiling boil. Once it has come to a boil, you can pull off heat, cover and let sit out overnight.
Next night, bring back to a boil and cook until it gets to 225 degrees (this produces a glaze like texture, you can cook till it gets as thick as you like) and then can in jelly jars. BWB for 15minutes for seal.

1. Based off the Habanero Gold Recipe from the Ball Blue Book with alot of tweaking

2. I ended up adding more fatalli because in the end product it just isn't that hot. There is alot of sugar and alot of cooking here and it reduces the heat. That being said, if you taste the glaze it is really really hot but when you cook with it, the heats not there.

3. you can alter the quantities and types of fruit. You CANNOT alter the ratio of vinegar to low acid items (onion, fatalli). If you want to alter these, you must stay in proportion.

any other questions just ask?



clipped on: 08.13.2009 at 12:26 pm    last updated on: 08.13.2009 at 12:26 pm

Red Savina Habs... delicious sauce recipe!

posted by: megan_anne on 08.02.2009 at 11:47 pm in Hot Pepper Forum

The Red Savinas have been coming in like mad! I've had plenty for experimenting with in the kitchen, and came up with a sauce recipe that some of you might like to try. Feel free to experiment and make adjustments to your tastes. Since "to taste" is generally how I cook, all measurements are very approximate. The flavor is reminiscent of a Caribbean style sauce... sweet and slightly tangy with a strong heat that builds up bite by bite, but isn't crazy hot (unless you use a bit more pepper)


2 mangoes
1 15-oz can pineapple chunks in JUICE, or equivalent fresh
juice of 4-6 limes
"good wad" of cilantro leaves, about 3/4 cup
4 to 6 Red Savina habaneros or Scotch bonnets (though I guess any kind of habanero might work... never tried), or more if you like it REAL hot, like I do :)
Generous dashes of fresh-ground allspice

Peel and seed the mango, cut into pieces, and throw into the food processor. Add the pineapple with its juice, and the lime juice. Strip cilantro leaves from the stems and add to the mix. Cut up the habs and remove the veins and seeds (if desired). I do, mainly to avoid hard, funny-textured bits in the sauce, and add more peppers if I want extra heat. Finally, add the fresh-ground allspice to taste. Process until the mix is a smooth puree with pulp, adding more fruit juice (pineapple or lime, again to taste) to create a sort-of smooth sauce that's thick enough to form a nice glaze.

Heat slowly in a covered saucepan until the mix just begins to bubble but not boil.

Remove from heat and can using your standard canning technique or refrigerate in a tightly-covered container (but use within a few days).

Excellent with grilled chicken, pork or fish-- also makes a really good stir fry sauce. Delicious with lime-cilantro rice!




clipped on: 08.03.2009 at 11:55 am    last updated on: 08.03.2009 at 11:56 am

RE: seed saving question (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: carolyn137 on 07.15.2009 at 08:03 am in Growing Tomatoes Forum

There is no one way to ferment seeds.

Check out Victory seeds for the way Mike does it and there's lots of other methods posted at different sites that Google will bring up.

The time it takes to get full fermentation of the seeds varies with the temp as well as the consistency of the fermentation mix. And as Dave said above you DO have to have the pulp as well. Sometimes it even varies due to a specific variety.

So if anyone says ferment for 3 days, ignore it, b'c that may just not work for everyone. And don't cover the fermentation so that the fungi and bacteria in the air can fall in and form the fungal mat.

When I do fermentations I use ALL the interior of the tomato and throw away just the cell wall and skin.

You know the fermentation is working if you look for the bubbles along the side of the fermentation container, which is why it's a good idea to use clear containers. I use one pint clear deli containers that I buy new from local places where they use them. Of course I get stares when I say I'm going to use them to ferment tomatoes for seed, but heck, that lightens up their day as well. LOL And those deli containers are soaked after use, washed and recycled for the next batch to set up the next week or to be used the next year. Label each pint with good tape and use a sharpie to write the variety name so you don't ge mixed up.

And going back a bit, never but never ferment just one fruit of one variety unless that one fruit is from bagged blossoms. Always use several fruits from one plant and better still are several fruits from two or more plants in order to help ensure that any cross pollinated fruits with hybrid seeds get diluted out as well as preserving the biodiversity found within a single variety.

I don't use a sieve, I just manually remove the fungal mat, slowly pour out what liquid I can, most of the seeds having fallen to the bottom but many still sticking to the undersides of the pulp, and then with a pistol grip end on the hose blast it into the container, swirl the contents, pour out the xs liquid and glomps of pulp, and keep doing that until the seeds are at the bottom and the liquid above is clear.

Then slowly, very slowly, pour our that liquid, and then dump out the seeds onto a prelabeled PAPER plate, spread the seeds around with your finger so there are no clumps, keep out of the sun and let dry slowly, then scrape them off and put them into envelopes or whatever.

I use only fruits from later ripening ones b'c insect pollinators are most active in my garden ealy in the season.

When it's in the 80's my fermentations take maybe 4-5 days but as temps cool in the Fall it may take a week or more to get a complete fermentation.

I'm sure someone will come along and suggest using Comet or Oxi-clean or similar to bypass the fermentation way of doing things, but I prefer doing fermentations rather than using something chemical; just my preference.

Doing fermentations I consider to be a rite of initiation into seed saving, LOL, and to date I've done thousands upon thousands of them b'c I'm an old lady who has grown, to date, about 2500 different varieties and each year I would do hundreds of fermentations for seed to list in the SSE Yearbook plus making seed offers online as well as sending seeds to tomato friends.

Now I grow far less and someone helps with seed production for me since I now have to use a walker, but I still do a few fermentaions here at home with some help.

Try it, it will stink, but you'll love it and you aren't a true tomato afficianado until you do. LOL



clipped on: 07.15.2009 at 10:20 am    last updated on: 07.15.2009 at 10:20 am

RE: orange habaneros......any recipes? (Follow-Up #9)

posted by: rdback on 06.09.2009 at 01:07 pm in Hot Pepper Forum

Hi Dusty,

That's a nice friend you got there! Your post made me shuffle through my "Clippings" file looking for Hab related recipes. Below are a few. I haven't tried ottawapepper's sauce yet (forgot I had it), but I did make readinglady's Hot N' Sweet Confetti Jelly. First time I every made jelly in my life. Everybody that tried it said it was pretty darn good. "Enter it in the County Fair" they said. So I did (first time I ever did that too).

Enjoy - Rick


posted by: ottawapepper on 01.14.2008 at 09:34 pm in Hot Pepper Forum

I use Orange Habaneros in this sauce and it really turns out nice. First you get the fruity pepper / citrus / sweet flavor and then its followed up by a kick!


Caribbean BBQ Sauce

2 scotch bonnet chilies (or whatever you can handle), fresh or dried
1 cup orange juice
1 cup honey
1/3 cup soy or Worcestershire sauce
1 TBS ginger
1/2 tsp allspice
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp dried thyme (1 TBS fresh)

Blend together well in a blender and then simmer in sauce pan for 5-10 minutes.
Let stand in fridge overnight for fullest flavor
posted by: annie1992 on 10.02.2006 at 12:10 am in Harvest Forum

here are two versions. The first is the original Habanero Gold, but it makes a small amount. The second is Readinglady's adaptation of it, it makes twice as much. Of course, it takes liquid pectin which I often have a problem with, but I can't figure out how to make it without the pectin.

Habanero Gold Jelly

1/3 cup finely sliced dried apricots
3/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 up finely diced red onion
1/4 cup finely diced sweet red pepper
1/4 cup finely diced habanero peppers, including seeds
OR 1/4 cup diced, combined jalapeno and Scotch Bonnet peppers
3 cups granulated sugar
1 pouch Certo liquid pectin

Cut apricots into 1/8 inch slices. Measure into a large deep stainless steel saucepan with vinegar; let stand 4 hours. Individually, cut onion and seeded peppers into 1/8 inch slices; cut slices into 1/4 inch dice. Measure each ingredient; add to apricots. Stir in sugar.
Over high heat, bring to a full roiling boil. Stirring constantly, boil hard 1 minute. Remove from heat. Immediately stir in pectin, mixing well. Pour jelly into hot jar, dividing solids equally among jars and filling each jar to within 1/4 inch of top rim. Wipe rims. Apply lids.

Process 10 minutes in BWB. Cool upright, until lids pop down, about 30 minutes. When lids are concave but the jelly is still hot, carefully grasp jar without disturbing lid and invert, twist, or rotate each jar to distribute solids throughout jelly. The jar can be inverted temporarily but do not allow it to stand upside-down for prolonged periods.
Repeat as necessary during the cooling/setting time, until solids remain suspended in the jelly.

Yield: 3 half pints

Hot 'N Sweet Confetti Jelly

1 cup minced dried apricots (1/8" dice) Note: Could use dried peaches or pears instead.
1 1/4 total cups minced red sweet pepper and minced red onion (1/8" dice), approximately half-and-half.
1/4 cup Habanero peppers
Note: For extra-hot, increase Habaneros to 1/2 cup and reduce red sweet pepper/red onion combination to 1 cup total.
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
6 cups sugar
1 3-oz. pouch liquid pectin (I used Ball, which I've decided I like better than Certo.)

Prep apricots, peppers and onion. Place in a large, stainless or other non-reactive pot. Add sugar and vinegar. Bring to the boil and cook 5 minutes. Pull off the burner; allow to cool, cover and let sit overnight.

Stir occasionally if convenient.

Note: 4-6 hours would be plenty, so the time doesn't need to be any greater than the soaking time for apricots in the original recipe.

Next day, bring the mixture back to the boil. Stir in liquid pectin. Boil hard 1 minute.
Pull off the heat. If necessary, skim foam. (I did need to skim a bit.) Let cool 2 minutes, stirring to distribute solids. Pour into jars. Stir to distribute and remove air bubbles. Do the usual with the jars and lids, BWB 10 minutes.

When jars are sealed, "agitate" to distribute solids throughout the jelly.

Yield: 6 8-oz. jars.


clipped on: 06.10.2009 at 10:09 am    last updated on: 06.10.2009 at 10:10 am

RE: orange habaneros......any recipes? (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: brien_nz on 06.07.2009 at 06:25 pm in Hot Pepper Forum

Here is the recipe that got me hooked on chiles, specifically Habaneros.
Grilled Salmon with Habanero-Lime Butter
"Grilled salmon marinated in orange juice, lime juice, tequila, and habanero peppers, then served with a habanero-lime butter. Remove the seeds from the peppers to tame the heat. You may wish to wear rubber gloves while chopping peppers to protect your hands from the spicy oils."
PREP TIME 25 Min COOK TIME 16 Min READY IN 2 Hrs 41 Min

60 ml 1/4 c vegetable oil
120 ml 1/2 c orange juice
45 ml 3 tbsps lime juice
15 ml 1 tbsp tequila
1 tbsp grated lime zest
1 tbsp minced habanero pepper (or 1 1/2 dried peppers minced and soaked in hot water for 10 mins.)
1 clove garlic, minced
4/150 g salmon steaks
55 g 1/4 c butter, softened
1 g 1/4 tsp garlic salt
15 ml 1 tbsp lime juice
2 tsp minced habanero pepper (or 1/2 dried pepper).
2 tsp grated lime zest

In a bowl, stir together vegetable oil, orange juice, 3 tablespoons lime juice, tequila, 1 tablespoon lime zest, 1 tablespoon habanero pepper, and garlic. Reserve a small amount to use as a basting sauce, and pour the remainder into a shallow baking dish. Place the salmon in the shallow dish, and turn to coat. Cover, and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours, turning frequently.
In a small bowl, mix together softened butter, garlic salt, 1 tablespoon lime juice, 2 teaspoons habanero pepper, and 2 teaspoons lime zest. Cover, and refrigerate.
Preheat grill for medium heat.
Lightly oil grill grate, and place salmon on the grill. Cook salmon for 5 to 8 minutes per side, or until the fish can be easily flaked with a fork. Transfer to a serving dish, top with habanero butter, and serve.
And here is another that I requested and got from this forum.
Chocolate Habenero Ice Cream Sauce
From rootdoctor

2 habaneros diced very fine
4 T butter non salted
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk or cream
1/2 cup fresh sliced strawberries

Melt butter over low heat, add diced habs (no seeds). Cook and mash the habs for 3-5 minutes, add brown sugar stir constantly until melted, add vanilla and cream, cook stirring constantly until caramel like consistency.
Add strawberries and serve over vanilla or chocolate ice cream.
the combination of HOT and cold and HOT and sweet is simply amazing.
I like it better when I used my Red Savina hybrids - they have a slightly cinnamon after taste.
I sent a recipe to Ben and Jerry's but the bas..rds just now claim to own it and say they will prosecute me if I send it on to anyone, so here it is for everyone.
Even folks that are afraid of chili peppers enjoyed this, most asked for seconds heheheheheh.
Enjoy it!! TiMo
Briens Variation
Make Habanero butter by adding the finely chopped pepper to softened butter. Mix well and leave for the flavours to be absorbed (24 hrs or so). Then proceed as above. If using dried Habaneros, chop finely and soak in about 2 tsps of boiling water before mixing. The Habanero butter is delicious on baked potato, grilled salmon or even just toast!
Btw you could search the recipe exchange forum, or ask there.


clipped on: 06.10.2009 at 10:09 am    last updated on: 06.10.2009 at 10:09 am

RE: Is my soil hopeless? (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: kimmsr on 05.01.2009 at 08:43 am in Soil Forum

No soil is hopeless, but what to do to make it into a good, healthy soil depends on what you are starting with and what material you can get to change that soil. Start by contacting your counties University of California USDA Cooperative Extension Service office about having a good, reliable soil test done. The will not only tell you what your soils pH is but give an indication of why it is where it is as well as a much better reading of the major nutrients, something your "home" test kit will not do. Also dig in with these simple soil tests,
1) Structure. From that soil sample put enough of the rest to make a 4 inch level in a clear 1 quart jar, with a tight fitting lid. Fill that jar with water and replace the lid, tightly. Shake the jar vigorously and then let it stand for 24 hours. Your soil will settle out according to soil particle size and weight. A good loam will have about 1-3/4 inch (about 45%) of sand on the bottom. about 1 inch (about 25%) of silt next, about 1 inch (25%) of clay above that, and about 1/4 inch (about 5%) of organic matter on the top.

2) Drainage. Dig a hole 1 foot square and 1 foot deep and fill that with water. After that water drains away refill the hole with more water and time how long it takes that to drain away. Anything less than 2 hours and your soil drains too quickly and needs more organic matter to slow that drainage down. Anything over 6 hours and the soil drains too slowly and needs lots of organic matter to speed it up.

3) Tilth. Take a handful of your slightly damp soil and squeeze it tightly. When the pressure is released the soil should hold together in that clump, but when poked with a finger that clump should fall apart.

4) Smell. What does your soil smell like? A pleasant, rich earthy odor? Putrid, offensive, repugnant odor? The more organic matter in your soil the more active the soil bacteria will be and the nicer you soil will smell.

5) Life. How many earthworms per shovel full were there? 5 or more indicates a pretty healthy soil. Fewer than 5, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, indicates a soil that is not healthy.
which can help you understand more about what needs be done to your soil.

Here is a link that might be useful: UC CES


clipped on: 05.14.2009 at 02:43 pm    last updated on: 05.14.2009 at 02:43 pm