Asian markets can be a blast if you love to cook and garden as much as I do. (Now if I could just learn to love to clean up after I cook I'd be set!)
This morning I had a sudden hankering for homemade, unfried springrolls, so I rode my bike to my neighborhood Vietnamese market, DoBond Market, to stuff my backpack with missing needed items (I dumpster dived some cool clothes items behind an apartment complex on the way there). I am a garlic and hot pepper junkie, and my replacement "Filipino-Mexican Tree Pepper" is still months away from bearing meaningfully, so I grabbed this 8 ounce bag of dried peppers from Thailand for $4. I nibbled about 1/4 of one....they are FAHKING HOT!!!! I used some to make a giant batch of Vietnamese dipping sauce for tonight's springrolls, and to store in a bottle in the fridge and freeze the rest, then a handful of the dried peppers to make a batch of FAHKING HOT sauce for me and my young friend Ezra, plus tore open a few to get maybe 200 seeds.
I sowed those seeds, plus ones from 3 Thai peppers I had bought fresh from DoBond a few weeks ago, in 4 inch pots filled with soil my chickens made for me in their free range compost path that encircles my back yard. I watered them good from one of the backdoor rainbarrels, and will give them a good drenching of dilute fish emulsion when the seedlings come up. Of course I am taking a chance that the dried ones from Thailand were heat-treated or irradiated, but if they DON'T sprout, I still got 1/2 pound of dried FAHKING HOT peppers for $4. If they do sprout, I will have oodles of plants to add to my gardens and sell from my front porch cottage business, and to share with friends and neighbors, plus one for Ezra so he can learn at 14 to "grow his own".
In the past, I've grown red adzuki beans, soybeans, mung beans, and fava beans from Asian markets, plus urad beans from an Indian market, all sold in bags to be EATEN...so I get a LOT very cheaply vs. buying the same thing in teensy imported seed packets.
I now am stepping up into 4 inch pots some seedlings I got from dried pods in Okeechobee in May when I went to see my Dad when my Mom was dying. I got them at a Mexican market there, and the cashier charged me nothing as I when I handed her the bag she felt the near-total absence of weight and gave them to me when I told her I got them for the seeds. They struck me as a cayenne (Capsicum annuam?) type. Not very hot, but good flavor nibbled dry. Those seeds sprouted very readily.
I will let folks know if I get germinations from these dried pods (I am SURE I will from the locally grown fresh ones). I NEVER buy hot sauce as hot peppers are so easy to grow...in Denver I grew them in pots I could bring in during those "charming" August or September blizzards. For us "pepper heads" Tobasco Sauce is not even hot, and just one plant of a good hot pepper can let you make oodles of home made FAHKING HOT sauce. In future posts I will share some great recipes I've devised for hot sauces that are not vinegary but instead full-bodied and slightly sweet.