Preserve Your Peppers, Make Powder
Late in the season we’re left with a lot of hot peppers, usually more than I know what to do with. However, with our pickles selling more and more the abundance of peppers has been a good thing. It was just a matter of how to preserve them so I could use them throughout the winter months, so I thought I’d try my hand at making powders.
Normally when I dry fruits or vegetables I use our dehydrator but I’ve been trying to find different ways to do things without using electricity. I’ve used the hanging method before to some success but still not happy enough to do it for this application. And then I thought, what about rice? Rice naturally absorbs moisture so why wouldn’t it help dry peppers.
I grabbed an empty canning jar box, added about 1/2 cup of rice and put my thai chili peppers in, and then I waited. And waited, and waited … For approximately 6 weeks! At this time the peppers were so dry you could crumble them in your hand without much issue. It had worked, I used no electricity just rice and time to dry out peppers. Would I have liked it to be quicker? Sure, but knowing how long it takes now I can prepare better in the future.
All I did to turn the peppers into powder was add them in batches to a spice grinder. It did take quite a few times as our grinder is on the small side, but the powder came out perfect. This has not only preserved our harvest but has also sped up the pickling process for me. Instead of individually cutting every pepper I can just grab a teaspoon or tablespoon of powder. I honestly think it imparts a better flavor as well because it’s essentially in concentrated form.
I have to say though it’s surprising how little you get when creating powder. For the thai chilies it was roughly an 8 to 1 ratio, I dried just about 8lbs of peppers and ended up filling a 1lb container with powder. But here it is almost February and I still have 3/4 of the container left and I’ve already made quite a few batches of pickles using the powder. (I made this powder back in December.)
So if you’re looking for another way to preserve your peppers I’d suggest giving this a try. It does take awhile, but the powder looks, smells and tastes a lot better than the dried stuff on most store shelves. Plus I know the peppers were organic and had no sprays on them because I grew them! Do you dry anything into powder form?