In October - which feels like forever ago! - we took a wheelbarrow FILLED with peppers out of the garden in one fell swoop. It was time; the weather was getting colder and those cute little peppers needed to be picked. We looked at all those peppers and thought, "holy crap, what are we going to do with all these?!"...
There was Poblano peppers, and Jalapaños, and Cajun Belles, and Mariachis, Seranos, and the delicious "Garden Salsa" peppers... there were a LOT of peppers...
So we started in on finding ways to use them.
We froze a bunch. We also took a bunch of just jalapeños - chopped them up -and then froze those in small freezer baggies to use throughout the year for a fresh kick. But we were still left with this awesome array of various peppers and didn't want any of them to go to waste.
Thankfully - Cath had this great idea - like she does - to make homemade crushed hot peppers.
YES! Let us make that, Mom. Great idea.
I should say, though - it took us THREE DAYS to dry out these peppers. THREE DAYS. One entire day in the oven, on low. And then two more days in the dehydrator, until they got to that crushable state.
But can I also say? It wasn't that hard, it just took a lot of time. But it is so worth it. This kind of spicy "hot" is a really nice "hot" - it's not a 'burn your tongue, GIMME SOME DAIRY STAT!, kind of hot. It's just a good sort of 'kick' - to give whatever you're making a little something special.
You know what we learned? The red peppers don't actually look red. Hmmmm....
It has become one of those go-to add-ons to so many recipes lately! Like the Leftover Turkey Casserole. That added kick knocked that leftover turkey out of the park! And the Spicy Lime Chickpeas - the tangy and spicy combo is making my mouth water as I type this. And ya know what? If we had had them, I would have totally used them with the Spicy Thai Snap Peas and the Stuffed Mexican Poblanos! Anything that could use that little added 'oomph.' Which, really, could be so many things.
Which is why it's such an awesome homemade gift! My mom bought those sweet little canning jars at Michael's (which I think are supposed to be used as a wedding bird-seed sort of holders) - or, if you want to go a little bigger, we got the slightly bigger jelly canning jars which you can get on Amazon.
They're so cute, I have kept one for myself. Sorry, friends. This one's for me.
- Various peppers (whatever you've got, with varying "spice" levels)
- Cookie sheet
- Dehydrator, if you've got one
- Rubber gloves to protect your skin.
- Preheat oven on its lowest temp... we set ours to 175 degrees
- Cut the peppers into halves or quarters - small enough to sit lay on a cookie sheet (be sure you use gloves if you are dealing with very spicy peppers)
- Pop them in the oven for a LONG TIME...
- And then you can finish them off in the dehydrator.
- Once they are completely dried and ready to be crushed. Put those gloves back on, and chop/crush them.
- (Seriously; we hardly need a recipe for this one!)
- NOTES: Please note that as you're crushing them it's very easy to get the flakes/tiny peppers specs alllll over - which could be painful. Be careful with that step!