We may have harvested the garden earlier in the fall, but it took us a while to deal with some of the fruits of our labours... All the potatoes came from leftovers that I didn't find last year. The sweet potatoes came from a single yam shoved in the ground as an experiment just before we left for the cottage in August!
Janice harvested the sage and peppermint. She uses them for tea - she swears by sage as a natural decongestant.
I planted a hot pepper plant on a whim, thinking I could use them for pest control (being annoyed about the untimely demise of my poor, poor cucumber plants). Unfortunately, peppers grow slowly and the cucumbers were a distant memory before my bumper crop of peppers ripened.
Now, we have a bit of family lore surrounding hot peppers. Mom grew a hot pepper one year, and led astray by a television advertisement my brother was foolish enough to eat one right off the vine. I remember vividly finding him drooling over the garbage can and wondering what on earth happened. I was very amused, but the blisters in his mouth were impressive. It took weeks for those burns to heal, None of us will ever bite a pepper without first checking if it is hot! So I wasn't about to try my peppers raw.
Instead, I cut the smallest one up for a large chili I was making and just about melted the inside of my husband's stomach. We did not insist Elizabeth try even a small bite. We did eat the chili, but diluted with equal parts yogurt and cheese, followed by copious amounts of milk and water. I wiped the counter and washed my hands. Then I accidentally touched my lips with my supposedly clean hands and yelped. Turns out that this pepper was potent enough that only generous amounts of lemon juice used as "soap" could remove the spice. Poor Jesse who lives with us used the cutting board before I figured this out and ended up with unexpectedly spicy fish for supper.
Brendan decided that rather than attempt to use all our peppers before they rotted we should try drying them in the oven. (It was cold enough that we couldn't just air dry them, they got mouldy!) Three days in the oven later, the great pepper experiment was declared a great success. I haven't actually had the courage to use a small amount in my cooking yet, but if I still have some come cucumber season I have a plan!