Hot Peppers in Upper Midwest Turn Up the Heat
Did you ever notice that places with short summers produce the most robust flowers in the short growing season allotted to them, with sunflowers the size of flying saucers? Well, it turns out that crops during an unusually dry growing season behave in much the same way.
The Associated Press reports a chef in Milwaukee, expecting his batch of jalapeño peppers (a key ingredient in so many Mexican dishes), to be “tame,” discovered instead they were closer to firecrackers. “They are hot,” said Dan Jacobs, the top chef at Roots Restaurant and Cellar. “At this time of year, they shouldn’t be this hot. But the warm weather, the no rain, that’s going to cause that.”
Irwin Goldman, a horticulture professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, tells the AP that “peppers really like hot weather. When it’s dry and hot outside, you’ll get a higher concentration of alkaloids.” The same phenomenon also happens in onions, garlic and certain fruits, he said.
The downside, though, is that the upper Midwest has baked for weeks in temperatures above 100 degrees, and that’s no good at all for the other summer crops we love to cook, especially corn on the cob.
Peppers aside, maybe it’s just too darn hot.
Make the most of summer with great sweet and spicy pepper recipes!