It's been another bumper year for our hot peppers and with five more plants we have tons (we stopped counting at 300 or so). We've done everything from cooking with them, pickling them, turning them into hot pepper oil, making hot sauce with them, and drying them.
This year we decided to take the easy route and turn them into chili powder. It's a super simple way to preserve the peppers for later use and it is really versatile.
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Step 1: Tools
The ingredients for this are just the peppers themselves, however the tools take some enumerating:
- Cutting board
- Coffee grinder (blade, not burr type)
If you don't have a dehydrator I wouldn't recommend substituting a warm vented oven, like you can do for beef jerky. Unless you're using really mild peppers, the capsaicin in the spicy peppers will become airborne and really hazardous for breathing in. For other warnings and safety information, check out my hot sauce 'ible.
Also, a good food processor may work in place of the blade-type coffee grinder, however you'll likely just end up with flakes. In any case, a dedicated coffee grinder for spices is just a good thing to have.
Step 2: Cut and Remove Seeds
Pick and rinse your peppers. Start by cutting off the stem and cap then slicing each pepper along the length to the tip (remember to have your gloves on!). Flay the pepper open then use the blade of the knife to scrape along the veins to remove the seeds. The vein of a pepper is the general name for the structure that the seeds are also attached to (the placenta). You can also cut the pepper into narrower slivers to accelerate drying.
Do this for every pepper. You can either dry and save the seeds to plant next year or use them to flavor oils or alcohols.
Step 3: Dry the Peppers
Collect all of your prepared peppers and line them on the dehydrator racks so that they do not overlap. Set the dehydrator to vegetable setting (around 130°F / 55°C) and plug in somewhere outside of your house (a garage, covered porch or shed works well). Allow the peppers to dry for around 12-24 hours.
Step 4: Grind the Peppers
Once dried, the peppers should all have about the same look and consistency, though different peppers and thicknesses will dry differently. You can check them by putting your gloves on and bending them, they should be somewhat plastic but not wiggly and brittle.
Collect all of your dried peppers and begin to introduce them into the grinder a handful at a time. Putting too many in at any one time will result in longer grind times and irregular powder. Once each batch is at the consistency of powder you like, dump it into a container or bag and start on another handful. Just be careful of airborne dust!
Step 5: Finished!
Super simple and fresh!
Use it as-is on pizza, Thai food, curries, pasta sauces,dipping oil, or even a little bit on your chocolate ice cream! Or you can add salt and other spices to make rubs, basting seasoning, or chili powder blends (also sometimes called chili powder) to put on eggs, tacos and other foods!