A glut of pimientos

This morning’s trip to the veg patch, down a narrow track to the bottom of the valley where a lozenge-shaped field beside the river is planted with young almond trees, yielded a bag full of long thin Spanish green peppers. This is the first year the veggies have been planted here, a change of location prompted by Pablo declaring the soil here was in better condition than at the huerta’s previous location amongst the olive trees. All the locals around here plant their veg patches alongside and amongst other crops in the fields, changing location every year in the manner of crop rotation recognised by English allotment-holders. The walk to the current huerta is pleasant early in the morning, when the air is cool and it feels as if the valley is taking a deep breath before the heat builds again. At the moment the thermometer on the terrace is hitting 41°, with hardly any breeze to stir the windmill. Even the birds are quiet. Our windows and shutters are closed from 11am not opening again until the sun has gone down around 9pm when we open the house up to the cool evening air. chopped in the bowl 5-8-13Spanish green peppers are nothing like the thick-skinned ones in UK supermarkets, instead they are thinner skinned and more the shape of red Romano peppers. And more importantly, they don’t give me indigestion – I won’t touch the English green bell peppers for this reason. So with the first of the pepper glut, we set to in the kitchen, chopping and bagging. This is best done when the peppers are freshly picked, we don’t bother blanching them before freezing [my mother, who learnt everything she knew about freezing from Mary Berry’s Popular Freezer Cookery in the 1970s, would frown with horror if she knew] but we have discovered that blanching neither improves the longevity, texture or flavour of the frozen peppers once defrosted and cooked months later. There’s nothing more delightful on a dark winter day to eat a lunch of revueltos con pimientos [scrambled eggs with fried peppers], it’s like a mouthful of summer. I use the smallest freezer bag and put in two handfuls of sliced peppers, two handfuls being enough for two people, suck out the air with a straw and close with a wire bag tie.chopping 4-8-13Today we chop enough peppers to fill nine freezer bags, plus enough for revueltos con pimientos at lunchtime. We eat inside in the cool, away from the baking heat of mid-day, with a shandy in our plastic chilled beer mugs [bought from Hipercor, the food department of department store El Corte Ingles]. Stylish they are not, but they do make a truly cold drink possible. We keep four of these in the freezer compartment, ready to go! freezer bags 4-8-13

Our vegetable gluts have gained notoriety amongst our friends in Spain, who have become accustomed to our visits when we arrive loaded with bags of vegetables. One Spanish friend falls with delight on the pimientos which he likes to cook over a hot griddle, brushed with oil so they turn black and smoky, and generously sprinkled with salt just as his mother cooked them throughout his childhood.

5 to remember
una bolsa – a bag
delgado/a – thin
largo/a – long
la posición – location
la piel – skin

One thought on “A glut of pimientos

  1. Marianne

    Totally agree, Sandra – I’m not a fan of the thick-skinned English green bell peppers. Our Spanish pimientos are much nicer. Interesting to read that you freeze them without blanching – I’ve not tried that, but I will now! 🙂

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