Tag Archives: pimientos

earthy and herby

salvia leaf close-up 9-14
mystery salvia

What is so exciting about autumn? If things are slowing down and dying, wouldn’t that be depressing instead?

Maybe the season just finds us ready for change, glad to move on from the laziness of summer to the harvest and to tidying up, getting ready for the winter….The heat is not so enervating, and the air is fresher and not heavy.

In autumn, being a gardener, I get close up and intimate with the dirt and the plants’ roots, as there are so many perennials that need trimming and the planting beds cleared out. Today I reached my hands and pruners down through the swaying leaves of the lemon balm, to where its roots run all tangled together with oregano just below the surface of the ground, and their earthy and herby smells rose up and quite affectionately came right into my nose! I always leave the door open for them.

coleus 9-14
coleus

I pruned the spent flower shoots and leaves of the “mystery” salvia, revealing all the clumps of volunteer plants with their fresh new leaves. Better Homes and Gardens has a salvia guide online, but I didn’t have any more success than before in finding my plant among all the 30+ varieties they show. [update: it has been identified as Indigo Woodland Sage, Salvia forsskaolii.]

pimiento

 

I picked the last of the pimientos and fried them all up with slivers of garlic. Here is one of the loveliest so you can see how big and heart-shaped they typically are.

Two friends showered us with goodies from their gardens in the last few days, including things we didn’t have in our own, like lemon cucumbers and green beans and hot peppers. Tonight I managed to deal with quite a bit of the bounty and include it in a yummy dinner. The Yellow Brandywine tomato vine is loaded with fruit and now it is all ripening late. So sweet.

One last zinnia picture: This is one of the trailing type with blooms only two inches in diameter. When I look at it closely the detail grabs me. It almost looks as though tiny yellow stitches are holding the petals on. Orange is a good and even arousing color to go with the season; maybe it will help to energize me for the remaining garden work. Happy Autumn!

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blackberry wine and a white fence

At various spots in our town and country I’m sure I smell the blackberries turning to wine on their bushes – even as I am driving down the street or road that particular scent of summer-into-fall invades my car. I’ve never noticed it before…it’s probably all kinds of fruits breaking down into soil and earth and giving out their last sweetness on the way.

The sweet olive is blooming at the same time, and I must say, this is almost too much deliciousness to absorb in one day. I roasted pimientos from the garden last night, to loosen their skins, and that filled the house with…what shall I call it…Old Mexico? If Autumn has its special atmosphere, it must include all these ingredients in the recipe. We haven’t initiated the wood fires, and I’m wondering if I put off generating smoke, maybe I can prolong these other more subtle experiences. But pretty soon — maybe tomorrow?! — I will be shivering too much to care about that aspect of the season’s loveliness.

And there is plenty of visual feasting to do, with various plants making their seeds now, or putting out the last blooms, the flowers seeming even brighter in the slanted light. They are brave to emerge into the cold mornings when any day now they might get cut down by Jack Frost.

Echinacea Sombrero Hot Coral

 

October is the best month to plant any kind of peas in our area, and I haven’t had sweet peas in the garden in too long. The excitement of the fall garden is making me feel up to helping the little pea seedlings through the winter, so I went to the nursery to buy some seeds. Look what I found – an Echinacea Sombrero Hot Coral. When Kim at My Field of Dreams found something like this last month I ran to the store to get my own, but found nothing. Is this the name of yours, Kim?

Not all the fall colors are orange. Ground Morning Glory

A few weeks ago we had automatic irrigation installed, in the form of a system of plastic tubes running just under the surface of the ground all over the yard. Little black plastic emitters stick up at various places and cover the soil with a spray of water at whatever time intervals we program into the control panel.

Little fence is in the background near the street.

Not a week had gone by before one emitter very close to the front sidewalk was broken off, so we had the guys return and move that line back a few inches, and Mr. Glad installed pieces of wooden fence with stakes that poke into the ground. The paint was a little thin, so he put another coat over it first. I think it’s cute, and when the plants nearby have grown up bigger the white picket look will complement the foliage and flowers nicely.

This afternoon I’m headed back out to plant that echinacea, and also some stock and snapdragons. I’ll clear the pine needles off the cyclamen and trim the rosemary, and sniff and breathe in all these goodies of my garden.

Pimientos from the October garden.

Have you ever seen a fresh pimiento pepper for sale in the grocery store? No? That’s why, if you have a garden, you should consider growing them yourself. The little jars of diced pimientos that are the only experience most people have of them — sorry, but they are not to be compared to the fruits you can expect to harvest from your back yard.


I went around the garden this afternoon snapping pictures of the prettiest things, including the peppers.

What first caught my eye was the way the color of the Mexican Sage coordinated so nicely with the Red Russian Kale. Some parsley is peeking up at the bottom.

Arugula (with the white flower) is a real self-starter and has come back up through the basil, and the nasturtiums are still going strong.

But about those pimientos: It was about 30 years ago I encountered a fellow gardener’s planting of them, on a sunny hillside growing alongside beans and tomatoes and other more common things. Ellie said, “Pimientos are marvelous; they are good with everything. We just love them!” It was at a time in my life when I was very suggestible regarding any homemaking idea, and the garden was a big part of my homemaking.

Since then, I don’t think a year has gone by that we didn’t grown some pimientos, though one time we ended up with plants that had an odd shape and slightly different flavor. That’s when we learned that there are different varieties called pimiento. But the shape of the fruits in my photos here is what we think of as standard.

Pimientos have a richer taste than the standard sweet red bell pepper that the supermarkets carry, and the wall of the fruit is probably twice as thick. For 20+ years I would mostly serve them sautéed with mushrooms and/or onions and garlic as a vegetable dish. The skins would often slide off before I got the skillet to the table, in which case sometimes I’d sometimes manage to remove some of them. Mostly the skins got eaten.

 

But now that I have a gas range I can easily turn them around on the stove with tongs while they hiss and sputter, and have fire-roasted peppers. (I also did this with poblano peppers this summer.) After they are blackened all over, you stick them in a bowl or something with a lid — I tried a plastic bag but the peppers were so hot they melted holes in the bag — and let them sweat a few minutes until the skins rub off easily under water.

Meanwhile, the house starts to smell like a Mexican restaurant!

Once they are bare and thick slabs of sweet flesh, it is so easy to chop some up into soups or stews or salads. Lay a pepper on top of bread and cheese, or just bread…or feel really indulgent eating one all by itself. I freeze some flattened between waxed paper to use all year long.