A big harvest month, October is also a big month for strange food celebrations.
Like for instance National Pickled Pepper Month.
Pick a peck of pickled peppers
Besides the datil pepper, which Greater Jacksonville has just celebrated, local growers and backyard gardeners cultivate a surprisingly wide range of peppers, mostly for pickling.
Besides the datil, it’s not unusual to find gardens devoted to
- banana peppers
- bell peppers (in many varieties)
- cayenne peppers
- cherry peppers
- serrano peppers
While these varieties do not yet account for much revenue in terms of Florida’s commercial production, you find them pickled and offered for sale at farmers’ markets, festivals and fairs all over Greater Jacksonville.
Although individual picklers have their own preferences for pickling spices, whether they pickle pickled peppers sour or sweet, all of them use vinegar.
Besides acting as a preservative for storing in jars, vinegar tenderizes the meat of the pepper as well as helps color.
Hot pepper fans derive a very important benefit from peppers pickled in vinegar – less heat because of the vinegar, more of the true flavor of the pepper – because of the vinegar.
Go to your local grocery store and look on the pepper aisle.
There’s a pickled pepper for everyone.
How many pickled peppers Peter Piper picked
Peppers are big business, pickled and otherwise.
Americans started eating more salads.
With pickled peppers – hot ones, sweet ones, tart ones. (And fresh ones, too.)
By 2009 (most recent statistics available) the United States annual consumption of just bell peppers came to 9.8 pounds per person.
And each and every one us ate 6.6 pounds or chile peppers, every other kind of pepper except bell peppers and pepper plants that produce pepper corns.
That’s right, pepper fans, on average Americans eat 16.4 pounds of pepper a year.
- The 2011 chili pepper crop totaled 4.8 million cwt (100 pounds), $146.8 million.
- The 2011 bell pepper crop, about 17.6 million cwt was worth $684.9 million.
- In 2012 Florida is the nation’s second largest producer of bell peppers, accounting for about 33% of national production, worth about $247.7 million.
Hey, GJE, why the 411 on bell peppers?
A. Not only can bell peppers be sun-dried like tomatoes, they can be pickled as well.
B.You go with the statistics you’ve got.
C. In 2012, of the entire United States fresh vegetable market in 2012, Florida vegetable growers are second in the nation in area harvested (11.1 %), percentage of production (8.7 %) and in total value of crops harvest (11.4%).
©2013 All rights reserved.
OFFICIAL BIO: K Truitt is a second-generation, native Floridian born in Jacksonville. Truitt worked in public higher education for 25 years and knows newspaper publishing, printing and graphic design. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org