Frogs and Reapers

By September 19, 2015 Journal, My Garden No Comments


Kevin eating the Reaper was…painfully epic. He said it was the hottest thing he’s ever eaten, substantially hotter than the Reaper we bought from Fiddlehead Farm last year. He said this between spoonfuls of yogurt, gasping, and then dumping sugar directly on his tongue in a desperate attempt to break up the oils. He had eaten a very small slice off the end, with no seeds.

Then he got some of the juice on his face and was scrubbing it with Tecnu, the poison-ivy remover, trying to get it off. It’s…um. Quite a thing.

I feel this weird mix of satisfaction and horror. On the one hand, I didn’t get into gardening to make things that destroy the taste buds. On the other, I have succeeded in what we’ll call a mid-level gardening challenge–peppers aren’t hard at all, but the super-hots can be dicey, and part of the challenge is making them come out super-hot, since we get so much water here in NC. (In another year, I might not have succeeded as well–the drought helped. I hand-watered them all, no irrigation, so I could balance the watering against the weather.)

On the gripping hand, they’re dangerous and also useless. You can’t cook with them. If I dried one and ground it into powder, other than the screaming as grains got in my eye, I could put maybe two grains in a gallon of chili. The guy who makes Cackalacky sauce wants a couple for a special Halloween blend, so a few will go to good homes, but there’s honestly no point in growing them again in the garden. You can’t use them for anything. I might save seeds from a couple Reapers just to have them, but I don’t know that I’ll bother, since their germination rates are really poor.

Next year, I’ve got a single Thai pepper from the owner of Thai Lanna restaurant, who brought her seeds over from Thailand, and twenty seeds of a Bolivian pepper, the name of which means something like “Lunatic Caterpillar.” I’m growing just those two, widely separated, so that I can get enough seed to save. In practice, it seems like we use Habeneros, Jalapenos, and Thai peppers, and I bet we’d use Shishito, too, so I may give them a try in 2017.