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!
If you have never worked with hot peppers before, a few words of caution. Please wear gloves. I even wear gloves when I pick hot peppers in the fields. Hot peppers can make your hands burns down to the bone; at least it feels that way. Do not touch ANY part of your body when you are working with hot peppers, even the mild hot peppers. If you forget, use Dawn dish washing liquid immediately. If that does not work, rinse affected area with alcohol.
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 fresher than what is generally available in the spice section.
Of course, if you truly love a variety of peppers why not grow your own?
At any rate, drying 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.
On those days when I am pressed for time, or when I have picked more peppers than I care to sit and string I turn to the little dehydrator. It is a lifesaver at the end of season, when there are other crops I need to be working on. Saving even those few handfuls of cayennes, means many, many pots of chili can be made. In winter, the effort is appreciated!
Dehyrdating peppers is easy. I put on gloves. I wash them, pat them dry and throw them in a food dehydrator. Depending on the peppers, drying time is 6 – 10 hours.
When dry, these crispy critters are thrown in re-sealable 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!
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More Pepper and Dehydrating Tips
My Pepper Picks for 2011 Garden and Culinary Trends
Cilantro and Hot Pepper Jelly Recipe
Hot Sauce Recipe with Tabasco Peppers
How to Dehydrated