something so small

“Nobody sees a flower, really, it is so small. We haven’t time – and to see takes time like to have a friend takes time.”

— Georgia O’Keeffe

Whew!  I didn’t think I would manage it.  I found Indigo in the Victory Garden.

The second jalapeño pepper plant was in flower, and just look at those stamens.  Indigo with a velvety ochre stripe down the middle of each one.  And so tiny.  The whole flower doesn’t come to a half an inch from petal tip to petal tip.

You’re probably wondering why I said the second jalapeño pepper plant.  See, when I bought the first, I was under the impression that jalapeños were self-pollinating.  That is, one plant could do the job by itself, without even the help of pollinating insects.  But then the first plant grew tall and strong and lovely and put out a ton of blossoms, and not a single pepper.

I bought a second plant not to waste the investment in the first.  They’re both in medium large pots set among the more decorative container plantings by the walkway to our front door.  (And I discovered this plant, although not flashy, is rather decorative for a vegetable plant.)  Before the second plant was a foot tall, and long before it could mature enough to flower, the first plant decided it was time to make peppers.

Wind, I’ve since learned, is the deciding factor for these plants.  They’re not wind-pollinated as corn is, from row to row.  But when the wind blows, those lovely little blossoms flutter on their stems and drop some pollen into their own hearts.

Our spring and early summer weather was unusually calm.  Therefore, no peppers.

And you know what is really weird?  The bees and small wasps do visit these blossoms — even though, according to what I’ve read, their presence is superfluous.  Maybe they just like that combination of cadet blue and gold.  (Is it Blue, or is it Indigo?  Once again, it’s a conundrum.)

Next time this happens to me, I have a remedy that doesn’t involve spending more money or being drowned in jalapeños.  Just gently shake the plant.  Easy, peasy.  I even tried it out when we had a slow moment in the fruiting later on this summer.

But now we’ve got tons of the things.  Way more than is needed for pico de gallo, salsa, and the occasional taco night.  So we’ve had to discover new ways to use them up.  My sister passed along a super quick and wonderful recipe to us this summer, and I’m pretty sure she got it from somewhere else — but not so sure that I can give attribution, nor guarantee that we didn’t change it drastically in the course of doing it over and over this summer without a recipe printout to hold us true to course.

Here is the current incarnation:

  • Remove stems and halve and seed jalapeño peppers.
  • Fill the hollowed halves with cheese.  (We’ve tried several kinds so far, and my favorite was shredded processed cheddar, but F. liked sheep’s milk feta in there.  I want to try ricotta and Parmesan at some point.)
  • Wrap raw bacon around each half and place on a broiler pan, cheese side up.  (We use about half a strip of our CSA’s pasture-raised bacon per halved pepper.  I think you could try turkey bacon and have a wonderful result, if that’s your thing, and I’ve been wanting to try peppered bacon, myself.)
  • Broil for about 8-9 minutes on the top shelf.  (Ovens vary, and ours is old — maybe from the 1970s, so keep a close eye on it the first time, as if you’re cooking toast.  I speculate that a modern oven might do it even more quickly.  You might not even need to do it on the top shelf.)
  • Serve as appetizers, with toothpicks.

Or, if you are less worried about etiquette and there are no guests around …

… you could do like we do and grab them up with your fingers right off the broiler tray.  Delicious!

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