Adding a vivid montage of colors, the "pepper room" as we refer to it, helps to brighten up the normally drab root cellar. This is where we are able to keep the last of our fresh and soon to be dried peppers in good condition all the way into December...the smaller ones anyway. Larger bell and Italian pepper varieties will store fairly well down here for a good month and the smaller mini, pepperoncini, and banana will keep much longer than that. We simply make sure to pick the ones that have started to wrinkle a bit and use those first. Some of the peppers are left in their summer pots, their leaves will begin to shed in the dark but this will keep the peppers fresh longer than if they were removed from the plants.
These hanging peppers will be brought upstairs a few at a time to dry when we begin using our wood stove in November.We string and dry some of our peppers in the greenhouse but never have enough warm dry weather to complete the task.
I try to maintain a cool temperature of around 40° with fairly high humidity as this seems to be about perfect for the peppers and apples stored in this room. This is also where we keep fresh tomatillos, cucumbers, and larger zucchini to use as needed for the next couple months. Most of our green tomatoes are ripening upstairs but a few, especially our Burpee Long Keepers, are kept in the root cellar to slow down that process. The Burpee tomatoes can be used well into February this way. The flavor dissipates with storage age but they are still a worthy rival for any store bought tomato. So as not to lead anyone astray, the Burpee tomatoes don't really taste all that great even in their prime and are grown solely for purposes of storage. Peppers on the other hand not only continue to ripen but also become somewhat sweeter with age.
We also froze a few gallons, and have made an incredible amount of zesty chipotle salsa since the ingredients include a large amount of peppers. One of my goals for next season is to grow jalepenos and make my own chipotles inspired by this great post on Smoking Chipotle Peppers. I absolutely love the smoky hot flavor but balk at the purchase price...it's past time we grew our own.