Friends Drift Inn Food Preservation
Hot in a Good Way!
“Dried and wrinkly” is not words a baby boomer wants to hear! I will throttle you or pass you the latest anti-aging wrinkle cream…depending on my state of mind. Blame it on the hot flashes.
Peppers on the other hand, are just perfect dried and wrinkly. Cayenne Peppers are one of my favorite for cooking. Besides the obvious items like chili or tacos, I like dried hot peppers for cheese straws, cheese balls, dips and sauces.
Hot Peppers are Hot!
Be aware hot peppers can burn your skin. Don’t pick hot peppers without gloves and certainly don’t touch your eyes or sensitive body parts after touching a hot pepper.
Watching the Budget
With chili season in full swing, our grocery has good buys on fresh hot peppers. Dried peppers don’t take up much room, and are certainly fresher than what is generally available in the spice section.
Drying your own peppers is satisfying. You know how they were processed…simply and without chemical preservatives.
Here in Appalachia, it’s not unusual to find hot peppers hanging from the rafters of cabin and mansion alike. Carefully strung on thick cotton thread with a needle, dried hot peppers bring a zing to bean dishes and cornbread.
But there are days when I am pressed for time, or when I have picked more peppers than I care to sit and string.
On those days, I wash them, pat them dry and throw them on a cheap little kitchen dehydrator. Depending on the peppers, drying time is 6 – 10 hours.
When dry, these crispy critters are thrown in resealable plastic bags. I do not store all my peppers in one sack, just in case moisture develops which would cause your precious peppers to mildew. UH!
Pepper flakes give a visual and flavor lift to cheese balls, dips, and breads. Sometimes I crush enough peppers to fill a half pint, just to keep handy. Plus, they make great gifts for the home cook in your life!