October 8, 2014

Hot Stuff- Pepper Powder

That's a lot of peppers!
This was a huge year for me as far as peppers.  This is quite the big deal as I didn't actually plant any peppers.
It seems that just leaving plants to compost in a raised bed for the winter and then adding new soil over top can lead to this.  I was so surprised, pleasantly, when not just one or 2 plants popped up, but several of them appeared.

And not only did they make a few, but it was more of a pepper explosion.

The irony is that if I were a better gardener I'd be saving seeds and documenting what species I had planted, but it was more of a surprise.  And who doesn't like a surprise?

I will say that they were hot.  I recognized the jalapenos pretty easily, but still haven't decided if the others are serranos or cayenne.  They might even be some of both.  The point is that they all tend toward the hot side.

So we've made salsa, frozen some, added them to smoothies even (not me, but my husband is kind of crazy like that?).  I've got enough fire cider set up for a few seasons as well (but I used about 20 peppers, not 2?).
So what to do with all these peppers.......

Then I had a great idea (Funny that is sounded a lot like the voice of my husband in my head).

Dry the peppers and powder them.
Make your own red pepper or chili powder.

It seemed so simple.
And it actually even turned out that way as well.

To make Pepper Powder:
It took about 5 days for the peppers to dry in my dehydrator.  Yes, I could string them up in the attic and go old school, but I'd probably forget about them until 2020.
I picked the peppers when they were red and ripe.  There are only green ones in the photo from the plant because I had already picked the red ones.
After drying them I got my handy grinder that I use for grinding small amounts of grains or herbs, and after wiping it out well, I crumbled the dried peppers into the grinder and processed them into a powder.
I used protection.  These peppers are hot and you know how you only cut up a jalapeno bare-handed once?  Well, I wasn't going to fall for that twice.  These things are potent, so I donned eye protection and wore a mask as well.  (no photo as it was really just me in my bifocals with a kitchen towel pinned over my face).

After processing the ground pepper was strained thru a sieve and put into a clean jar.
I started with about a gallon of peppers and ended up with 1 pint of powder.
Any large pieces got put back into the grinder for a second run.
MAKE SURE TO THOROUGHLY CLEAN YOUR GRINDER AFTERWARDS!  You will regret it when your muffin in a mug has a kick, unless you tend to just like red pepper muffins.  Hmmmmm. Now I might have to try that.

How will I use this now?  My plan is to use it as I would any cayenne or hot pepper.  This means additions to chili, soups and stews, some smoothies, nacho or fajita meat.  I figure that anywhere I want a little kick of heat, this needs to be there.

And it was cheap (free, even) and beyond easy.

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