November 8th, 2011

Scaling the Scoville

I started eating hot peppers when I was young. My Serbian grandmother (Baba), kept a garden and one of the best treats was her banana peppers dipped in a mix of oil and salt.

When I delivered newspapers in the wintertime, I would often stop at Joe's Market in St. Clairsville and buy a bottle of either Frank's or Louisiana Original Hot Sauce to sip along the way. I still drink various hot sauces, like Texas Pete, Chohula and Frank's. I even keep a bottle of Dave's Insanity but it is just a little too high on the Scoville scale to nip unadorned straight from the bottle. Yes, it's an addiction.

I usually buy jalapeno and banana pepper rings in jars and I've tried quite a few brands. Of all the commercially-available ones, my favorite by far is in the Delallo brand line. They are usually crisp, fresh, have the right amounts of salt and vinegar and seem to have the least fodder-like materials (stems, tops, seeds, etc). Surprisingly, Heinz canned peppers are usually are soft, soggy, and way too vinegary. The Bell-View brand earns an honorable mention for price but have more 'fodder' and as far as flavor goes, sit somewhere between the Delallo and Heinz brands.

When I go to the grocery store, I usually buy a jar of the Delallo Mild Rings for my youngest daughter and leave them in the living room by the front door, for the times when she stops by the house to do laundry or pick up her mail.

I'm a pusher.