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Exploring the World of Spice and Smoke
Tags >> gardening

Sweet Heat: It's raspberry picking time!

Posted by: Gwyneth Doland

Tagged in: gardening

Heidi's Raspberry Farm is open for visiting pickers here in Albuquerque, and the raspberry brambles are dripping with fruit. (Heidi's is a frequent Scovie Award entrant and winner; in 2007 the company won five awards!)

Heidi's all-organic jams are outstanding, especially the Raspberry Red Chile Jam anRaspberry bushesd the Raspberry Red Chile Ginger Jam. But because it's a family tradition, I like to make jam at home, too.

So after an hour or so of stooping over the rows and digging around for the best berries, I had about five pints picked. A few hours later I had a couple of burns, a filthy kitchen and eight jars of raspberry...soup. Dammit! It didn't gel. I must not have cooked it long enough. Some kind of cooking expert I am!

Maybe I'll try to cook it down again, or maybe I'll just go out and buy some of Heidi's jam. It's way better than mine anyway...

For those of you with raspberry bushes nearby, here are a few suggestions for your bounty.  How about rasberry barbecue sauce? Or hey, since it's also peach season, what about grilled peach halves with chipotle raspberry puree?

Got more ideas? Put them in the comments!

Chile grower Sebastiano Marrone sends these photos of some rather unusual pods from his pepper garden. 'Biquinho' is a Brazilian variety that very little is known about. The name means "little beak."  Rocoto Longo (long rocoto) is a stretched-out version of the Peruvian rocoto that is usually apple-shaped. It is native to the Canary Islands. 'Aribibbi Gusano' is called the "caterpillar pepper" because of its unusual shape. It is from Bolivia and its flavor has citrus overtones. --Dave DeWitt

Allen Boatman, a friend who teaches horticulture in Tampa, Florida, sent me this photo of a variety of Capsicum baccatum that he calls 'Aji Bird'. Amazingly enough, at the time this photo was shot, the plant was only about ten months old. The pods are very much like chiltepins, suggesting that this plant represents a very primitive type of baccatum that was (and still is) spread by birds. It has very large leaves in relation to the pods and Allen says he drops a pod or two into his morning coffee! --Dave DeWitt

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