A Bucket Full Of Peppers

David Trammel's picture

What would you do with a bunch of hot peppers?

My monster bush of Jalapenos.

My best of three Habanero plants. The others don't have as many.

I have been trying to grow hot peppers like these, more as a teaching moment than as actually wanting them as a food supply, so I am wondering, what should I do to preserve this harvest?

I have that small electric food drier, so I could dry them. Would a good drying then a grinding be useful to make shakable pepper?

I don't use many real peppers in my cooking, mostly because I don't buy them, though I do add alot of hot sauce to most of my meals. Especially my salads and my Asian dishes. Perhaps cook a stir fry this weekend and add peppers instead?

I have made chili powder from my hot peppers that I dry and grind up. Also we have made hot pepper sauce, a tabasco like substance, that is pretty good. America's Test Kitchen's Fool Proof preserving book has a great recipe for it.

Magpie's picture

Hot peppers are great. When I get them (and they are actually spicy--this is a challenge for some reason), I usually dry them. I then use them in hot chocolate, chili, other savory dishes, and as muscle ache poultices.

Fresh, you can make a mean hot sauce or jelly!

Enjoy your bountiful harvest--looks like a real success!

ClareBroommaker's picture

The years we grew habaneros we dried some of them in the oven at lowest temp with the door open, and some we just air dried, but there was some spoilage that way. After you dry them, you can grind them if you like, or save them whole. We bought a second reservoir for our blender and my husband was able to dry grind them. That reservoir is forever set aside for chiles only as the heat does not wash out of it. If you have one of those electric coffee grinders, I think that would work, too. Wear a bandana over nose and mouth, and consider doing your drying and grinding outside. My husband has driven me out of the house with the fumes from habaneros! You can just jar up the powdered pepper for convenient use.

By the way, you can get more production out of your peppers if you pick them as they are coming into color and do not dry them on the plant. I suspect your habaneros are not really habaneros. Were they from saved seed? They might have gotten crossed with something else before saving, because they look more like jalapenos than habs. Habs are blocky, rounder, not pointed. And they make a much bigger plant. Are those orange "spots" I see in the background of your first photo peppers? Because if they are, those look more like they would be habaneros. (But I'm guessing they are marigolds, lol.) Those first peppers are sure pretty. What are they?

I personally use very little hot pepper in cooking, but my husband uses a lot. We both use a lot of sweet pepper, so that is what we grow, mostly. We do dehydrate some of those, as well as freeze and ferment (in the last 2, 3 years), and use them fresh heavily in summer. The crop was kind of reduced this year, but I have 2 jars of fermented slices (you can ferment your hot peppers to sauce!), I don't know how many quart bags in the freezer, and a fresh 26.5 pounds dehydrated and packed into 2 jars of one liter each. In the past I cut my Italian sweet banana peppers into rings for drying, but this year I cut them into square bits. They packed up better for storage even if they aren't as pretty. Some of them taste sweet as candy, offering a bit of vitamin C snacking.

So any way, yes, dehydrating is a good way to go with peppers. If you are using hot peppers for seasoning, you might just grow them every 2-4 years and use the growing space for something else in the down years. Sort of like long term crop rotation.

David Trammel's picture

A good friend says he takes hot peppers like this, de-seeds them, then fills them with hot dark chocolate. He then freezes them and when hard, slices them into bite size bits.

He says the mix of rich chocolate and a bit of hotness is great. Just don't eat too many or they remind you when they come out later, lol.

I've taken a fancy to a hot fudge sauce spiced with chiles, and I found a chilies-infused wild flower honey--actually, chilies-infused vinegar added to wild-flower honey. It was too potent for me to eat on bread or even a peanut butter sandwich, but I added a small amount to grits or rice.