Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Leftover Garden Peppers
I should have written about this last summer, but I had stepped away from the blog for a while. Between the wedding/honeymoon, then Sue moving in, this blog just wasn't a very high priority.
I just wanted to tell you a quick hint as to what to do with leftover garden peppers. And this applies to just about any pepper variety that you can grow. Basically I dehydrate them, then grind them into powder for use in many various recipes. I have a dehydrator, but this is NOT necessary since I did this for a long time before I had a dehydrator. You can simply use your kitchen oven.
Keep your peppers sorted by variety through this process. However, I put all mild/sweet peppers like sweet banana, bells, into one pile. I make a sweet-pepper powder out of all of these mixed together.
Cut the peppers into 1 to 2 inch pieces, I don't bother with skinning them first. For oven drying, set your oven to the lowest setting it will go, mine goes down to 170 degrees F. Place the peppers on some type of rack or screen that has holes small enough to keep them from falling through the holes. A screen works better than a cookie sheet because it allows air to circulate over the peppers better. Now place something that won't melt in the door of the oven to keep it cracked about an inch or so.
It will probably take you at least 12 hours for them to dry enough to grind. They need to be completely dry and crisp in order to be ground. Then grind them in a coffee grinder or food processor, even a blender will work. I use my blender because it is glass and the dry, hard pieces of pepper won't mar the glass like they do in my plastic Cuisinart food processor.
It's the same process with the dehydrator, drying them until they are totally dry and crisp.
Since I took the picture above, I have found some good supplies of decorative bottles and jars, and I also make labels on my computer. They look better and make great gifts this way.
I especially like the sweet-pepper powder. It adds a great pepper flavor to dishes but adds no heat.