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Hedging peppers against future uncertainties

Cubanelle peppers from Larga Vista Ranch are a special fall treat.

Cubanelle peppers from Larga Vista Ranch are a tasty fall treat.

A recent purchase of a bushel of Cubanelle red peppers from Larga Vista Ranch seemed a bit extravagant at $40. But then considering that winter is on the way, along with the possibility of socioeconomic collapse, perhaps the peppers were a hedge against future uncertainties in the vegetable commodities market.

The Cubanelle variety was developed in Italy, but is also apparently favored in Caribbean cooking. It is nearly as fat as a bell pepper, but longer. It has an intense flavor, which tends toward sweet rather than hot.

The plan: Freeze most of the peppers, dry some, and eat as many as possible in the meantime. These peppers are so intensely red that they are surely packed with phytonutrients. The flavor of the Cubanelle speaks fall in a way that can only be experienced through the smell of these peppers roasting or dehydrating in the oven.

Thus far they have been great in chile con carné, omelets and salads. They are fantastic roasted. I’ve put several dozen away in the freezer after slicing them lengthwise, gutting them and placing them in freezer bags. I’ve also successfully dried these peppers in the oven at 170 degrees with the door left ajar for about four hours. The only problem is I have not been able to actually store any peppers this way because they are eaten almost as soon as they are removed from the oven.

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