Little Green Chilies

January 22, 2010

Little Green Chilis

Little Green Chilis hang in my window to dry

An alternative to chocolate to encourage milk consumption.

Last Saturday I went to the Grand Lake Farmers Market with a budget.  I had $17 and I did not want to go by the ATM because the market would be closing in 15 minutes. 

I know the vendors pretty well, so I went to the hot spots to fill the pantry this week.  Apples, oranges, collards, brocoli, cauliflower, carrots.  At the apple stand I filled up on the $0.50/lb box for drying apple chips.  When my list was checked off, I proudly saw that I had $1.75 left. 

It was after 2pm and everyone was packing up, but I still had some cash!  The nearest booth was run by an Asian family, where I have bought cucumbers and gotten a few lessons on sweet potatoes.  I put the coins (all coins) on the table infront of the lady by the scale and asked, “What can I buy for $1.75?”  Her son was scooping eggplant into a box, she squinted at me. 

Chili close up

Strung with needle and thread.

“What you want?”

I shrugged.  My list was full.  I wanted to spend $1.75.

She nodded and placed 2 cucumbers, 1 large egg plant, and 2 sweet potatoes in front of me.

“Chilis two dollars,”  she said, and placed a bag of 25 small green chilis on the top of the pile.  I could tell they were a gift.

“Thank you!”  I said, and handed her my change, dumping out the change purse in her hand to show I was offering evertyhing I had.  I think I might have paid $1.97, there were pennies.

When I got home I sat down at my computer to see if I could determine what kind of chili I had been given.  Primarily, I wanted to know what it tasted like and what I should do with it.  But after several serches and chilihead blogs, I couldn’t find anything that looked like my little green chilis. 

So, I opened the bag, broke the tip off of one just enough to expose the skin inside, and touched my toungue to the chili.  I did not break out in a sweat.  My eyes did not water and my nose did not run.  But I took one deep breath and walked briskly to the kitchen, where I preceeded to finish a carton of milk….from the carton.

Even after downing a pint of leche, the tingling heat of the chili remained on my tongue and shocked my taste buds a new everytime I touched my tongue to the roof of my mouth, as if I were reactivating the chemicals.  It stung like a snake bite for at least 10 minutes. 

I wondered if the little lady at the farmers market was chuckling to herself on the way home, imagining me in this condition. 

I still don’t know what these little chilis are, but I know they are too hot for us!  I have shown them to every person who walks in my house, and the Asian friends I have say things like, “Oh, my mother grows those!” and “The little green ones are the hottest.”  Somehow, though, I can’t seem to give them away to anyone who recognizes them.  “No, we don’t cook with those, they’re too hot for us!”  I’ve been told that the custom is to pick them young and green, when they are only 2 inches long, for their intense heat.  Apparently, if left to mature, they will turn red and reach up to 12 inches long. 

My needle still threaded from my popcorn garland, I decided it wouldn’t hurt to dry a few.  There is no way we’ll eat more than one or two fresh, so I figured this was the best way to preserve them, even if I do keep giving them away to unexpecting guests.  In 5 days they have begun to shrivel a little, hanging in my cold kitchen window, and one has turned completely red. 

If you have a recipe for the fresh or dried version, please share.  Right now, the only ideas I have seem to be cruel jokes….

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8 Responses to “Little Green Chilies”

  1. katie said

    too bad you’re past white elephant gifting season, and that sam is all the way on the east coast, he’ll eat anything!

  2. betsyj said

    Oooh, woulda been a great white elefant gift. I bet dry chilies travel well, maybe they’ll be dry by summer for a beach trip!

  3. jim said

    I enjoy gardening and I enjoyed this article. A good read. Keep it up.

  4. mom said

    Perhaps they can be used for self-defense?

  5. They look like Thai bird chiles.

  6. […] cloves garlic 1/4 red bell pepper 1/4 yellow bell pepper 1/4 red onion one of the little dried chilis hanging in my kitchen window.  (The recipe called for crushed red […]

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