It’s September, my favorite time of the year! The garden doesn’t look as pretty as it did a month ago, but the fruits of all the labor are now starting to be harvested! I am fortunate to live with an accomplished gardener…I don’t have a green thumb at all. My husband is a passionate gardener and my Mom took him under her wing many years ago and taught him the all the “Italian gardener tricks”! When I tell Italians I meet in Italy about what we have, even they are jealous!

My blogs for the next few weeks are going to focus on the beautiful produce we get and what my family does to preserve them for the winter. We preserve some things by canning, freezing and even baking. So sign up for this weekly Blog at the bottom of this post so you don’t miss a thing!

I love roasted peppers, the smell alone is so intoxicating. In my part of the country, we have the most beautiful Red Shepherd Peppers this time of year. We didn’t grow them this year but they are plentiful at the Farmer’s Market. This is how we roast them and preserve them for the colder months:

  • choose firm, bright red peppers (if you like heat, add a few of a hot variety too)
  • heat the grill to the highest setting (the outdoor grill will accommodate lots to save time)
  • rinse them under water and allow to air dry
  • place them directly on the grill and close the lid
  • after about 5 minutes, start checking them and turning  them once they are charred
  • continue turning them until they are evenly cooked and have several char marks on them…they will start to collapse
  • remove from the heat and let them cool in a bowl, making sure to collect the juices
  • the trick is to freeze them with the skin on, the skin protects from freezer burn and they can remain in a deep freezer for 2-3 months
  • once cool, place them, along with some of the liquid,  in “zip top, freezer bags” and remove all the air and zip shut and place in a deep freezer
  • when you are ready to use them, thaw them and remove the skin, seeds, and membranes
  • rip the flesh into strips and add the liquid (strain it if there are charred particles in it) to a bowl along with the strips of peppers
  • season with sea salt to taste
  • add good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • enjoy  as a side dish with Italian sausage or with smashed, baked, mini potatoes

Here’s a quick video to show you how I grill them:

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Stay tuned for more harvest tricks of an #Italianmamma at harvest time!

Ciao for now, Natalina


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