Bedfellows and Hötka

In the heat of summer almost all our peppers are turning the most beautiful true red.  With all the other greens growing in nearby beds it looks like an early Christmas.  The peppers are part of the “Salsa Garden”, growing alongside Big Boy and Early Girl Tomatoes, a few sweet bell peppers and onions to be sown soon.

Some plants are natural bedfellows.  Their symbiotic relationships make their jobs of growing beautiful green leaves and delicious fruit easier.  Our Salsa Garden relies on these bedfellows to make our work as gardeners and cooks easier.

This past month the peppers ripened faster than their fellow plants and we find ourselves with a glut of spicy beauties.  Once all the spicy sausage has been stuffed, and the fresh salsa has been licked from our bowls we turn to preservation techniques to make the harvest last.  While not survival oriented as many food preservationist techniques are , this  simple infused vodka will make use of your bounty and is very delicious.  We call it Hötka.


Add to cocktails for a kick, absolutely great in Bloody Marys and Margaritas.  A splash added to Marinara or Barbecue sauce spices up a meal easily.  

What you need:

Chili Peppers, handful


What you need to do:

Line up peppers on your cutting board, remove stems.  Slice peppers into thin rounds, there is no need to de-seed the peppers.  Place sliced peppers into a glass bottle, cover with enough vodka to fill the bottle.  Cap and store bottle in a dark place for 1-2 weeks until peppers have fully infused the vodka.

When Hötka has finished infusing, strain out sliced peppers and return clear infused vodka to your bottle.  Place one solid pepper in for aesthetics if desired.  Enjoy!

Note: You can play with the number of chilis depending on the flavor and heat level you want.  It is important to store the infusion in a dark place, both while infusing and once infused, to prevent oxidation by sunlight.  Proper labeling, including name and date, will ensure you know exactly when your Hötka is ready.

For more info on bedfellows in your garden look no further than Jimmy Williams, he provides a wonderful one page guide in his book to plant your garden bedfellows easily.  Or stop by the Santa Monica Farmers Market this Wednesday, grab a cookie from our stand and walk a few more feet down to chat about plants with the man himself.

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