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26
Sep

drying peppers  copy

I still remember that fleeting image of red peppers lining the road as I drove from Izmir back to Istanbul at the end of a fabulous boat trip way back in 1982. I didn’t stop and always regretted not having taken a closer look. So, when I came across a similar scene a couple of weeks back as Jason, Filiz and I drove from Gaziantep to Maras, I immediately asked the driver to stop the car.

The set-up was slightly different. The sheets were further away from the road, spread in the middle of the fields, and there were no women working – back then, it was all women, dressed in the typical floral pants, busy spreading fresh peppers or packing already dried ones. This time, they were just men and the sheets were plastic and fairly dark as against the brilliant white cotton ones I saw back then. Still, the work was the same. The men were spreading fresh peppers to dry or gathering the already dried ones to pack into large bags to carry to market.

We drove on to Maras to have our salep ice cream (which by the way, was very disappointing) then we went up into the mountains to visit farmers making cheese. The landscape up there was gorgeous with not a single built house in sight but the conditions in which the peasants lived were incredibly primitive with no running water or electricity. And the structures are all temporary — they move up there from their village for the season. Again plastic had taken over from traditional materials, except for the shower below which was built with the traditional reeds.

primitive shower copy

And on another stretch of the road, on our way to see bastik (grape leather) being made, we came across the following gorgeous structures to dry both aubergines and peppers. As you can see from the clips, some of the aubergines are cored, strung on thin cotton cords and hung between the poles whilst some are diced and spread on sheets on the ground. The cored aubergines are eventually stuffed whereas the diced ones are cooked with rice or burghul. In either case, they need to be re-hydrated before use.

[vimeo]http://www.vimeo.com/15046502[/vimeo] [vimeo]http://www.vimeo.com/15046040[/vimeo]


There is 12 comments on this post


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    What an excellent write-up. Thanks for stopping and taking the time to document it. I wonder, do you suppose that drying the peppers on plastic might take longer, or result in an inferior product, because cotton would have absorbed some of the moisture.


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    i am sure it is not as good as cotton but it seems that plastic is replacing everything these days, there and elsewhere. glad you enjoyed the post jeremy.


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    What a great blog, again! You are getting more and more high-tech and the pics more and more enticing with every blog. These pictures bring me right back to our trip to the Palmyre when you bought from the ladies living in the small house at the back of the cafe, a plastic bottle full of wonderful ‘Aleppo’ pepper. So wonderful, I use it on almost anything I cook. A quand un voyage similaire en Turquie?? Je suis prete. Gros merci Anissa pour ton super blog.


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    l’automne prochain justement pour faire la recolte des pistaches, et les legumes au soleil, etc. je te dirais. peut etre aussi l’iran. je suis tellement contente que tu aimes mon blog. xx


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    Hello Anissa
    What a wonderful picture of red peppers contrasting the blue of the sky (and plastic) and the white of the sacks. How delicious they must taste!
    I have been busy busy busy but at least managed to go back to Brazil last month. M came with me and she too fell in love with the place, its people and its food. we spent a weekend with Lulu and Alexandre, and I’m seeing them again at the book fair in Frankfurt next week.
    Hope all is well with you, and enjoy your trip to Australia.
    Best,
    Christian


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    nice to see you here again christian. we must meet when i am back properly. and i am not surprised M loved brazil. great place and great people, and of course great food. and i loved lulu and alexandre.


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    There are always those “should have; could have” moments, aren’t there? How wonderful that you were able to get this really wonderful shot of the peppers this time . Sure, it would be nice to see the peppers on cotton sheets rather than plastic (What a shame that plastic is taking over) but this still looks really spectacular. Was there also an aroma of peppers? There are so many of them!

    And the dried aubergines are also amazingly beautiful. I heard on the video soundtrack that you didn’t think they could be dried in London but I wonder if using a dehydrator might work. Of course, not the same flavour of the sun so perhaps the dehydrator aubergines would be somewhat faded.


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    there was definitely an aroma of peppers, not overpowering but quite heady. it was a very special moment, and the family we visited next door was even more special. i guess you can dehydrate the aubergines in a city but it won’t be the same. i meant to bring back some with me but i never got round to buying them. next time 🙂


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    The aubergine drying is really beautiful. Have never actually used dried eggplant but it sounds like it could be tasty, especially in rice.


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    they are delicious cooked with rice. had them like this in gaziantep last month.


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    You’ve inspired me to go to Turkey! I wanted to join you this fall on your tour, but the timing was off, so I’ll be going in June. Can you recommend a cooking class that I could go to in Istanbul?
    I’m looking forward to joining you on another adventure–in the meantime-I’m enjoying your blog so much. If you have a moment, please check out mine.


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    you can try the istanbul culinary institute. i’ve just been on your blog. looks nice. have fun in turkey and hope to see you on one of my tours in the future 🙂

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