Tuesday, August 9, 2011
The Year of Slavic Vegetables
When choosing some vegetable varieties this year I inadvertently developed a bit of a Slavic theme...'Hungarian Heart' tomatoes and 'Bulgarian Carrot Pepper' hot peppers.
I didn't know that Hungary and Bulgaria were sources of tomatoes and peppers, which I associate with South and Central America in terms of provenance.
I'm guessing these of course originated in the New World and the particular varieties were developed in Eastern Europe, eventually making their way back across the pond. The 'Hungarian Heart' tomatoes are indeed heirlooms I ordered from Seed Savers Exchange. The Bulgarian peppers were found in a nondescript container at my local garden center, and I can't say if they're an heirloom or not.
Regardless of where they came from, I'm very pleased with both plants thus far. The peppers are very spicy--much hotter than a jalepeno but not to the level of a habanero. (I am growing jalapenos and chili peppers as well in the container 'o fire, but I unfortunately had to pass on habaneros this year after doing some serious digestive damage with last year's chocolate habaneros!) I look forward to making my own crushed red pepper with the dried Bulgarian Carrot Peppers, which have been producing profusely over the past few weeks.
The first 'Hungarian Heart' just ripened, so I have yet to weigh in on their taste. But the one I have so far is enormous...and in fact shaped like a heart! I'm hoping it will create a delicious base for homemade salsa...not exactly a Slavic food but hey, it's a multicultural garden over here!
After such a lousy spring and slow, dreary start to summer I feared it would be a terrible year for tomatoes and peppers. But with the exception of the bell peppers (which have never once grown well here), my plants are doing extremely well so far. Maybe Eastern European vegetables are accustomed to such weather? I don't really know. And what about the non-Slavic types, like the 'Amish Paste'? Oh well, no reason to look the proverbial gift horse in the mouth!