This past November, I had to pick all my peppers from my garden before the heavy winter storm. The pepper plants this year did really well and seemed to have tons of growth on them throughout the late, fall season. I had 10 different pepper plants this year: Red Thai Chilli, Caribbean red, Banana hot wax, jalapenos, pepperoncinis, Tabasco peppers, and 4 types of bell peppers.
I brought in 2 full and colorful bowls of peppers, but was a bit loss at what to do with them. Although I love spicy foods, I knew I couldn’t eat them all at one setting. Could you imagine? So, it was time to try a new method in my kitchen. I’d been drying my other herbs for a few weeks now, but hadn’t given much thought to drying my peppers. So, why not try it! Here’s how to make hot pepper spice mix that will make you fire up.
- 2 Bowls of fresh hot peppers
- WEAR GLOVES! I learned this the hard way after I accidentally rubbed my eyes with my pepper fingers! Ouch!
- Preheat your oven at 150-175 degrees. I recommend you do this on a day that it's cold outside so that you don't heat up your house if it's hot outside. It takes several hours for the peppers to dry so the oven will be on for quite some time. Of course, opening your windows can let some of that heat out, too!
- Wash all your peppers. I left the Red Thai and Tabasco peppers whole, but sliced the others into halves or even quarters for the larger Caribbean red peppers. Leaving the seeds is an option as well because it keeps it extra spicy. If you want something less potent, I'd seed it.
- Place your peppers in a single layer on a paper towel lined baking pan and place in the oven.
- Leave your oven cracked a bit to circulate the air. I would alternate between closing it completely for a while and cracking it again. You can place a wooden spoon between the oven door to keep the opening steady.
- Take the peppers out as they feel dry. They will crunch in your fingers. If they are still bendable, they aren't done. The Tabasco finished first since they are the smallest. The Caribbean Red finished last since they were the largest pieces.
- I left the Tabasco and Red Thai whole and stored them in Mason jars for future grinding. The remaining peppers I ground up using a Marble Mortar and Pestle Well I should say that before I got a mortar and pestle, I used a rolling pin and placed paper towels under and over the peppers and smashed them up. 🙂 A food processor works, too.
- Store your homemade ground hot pepper mix in small 4 oz mason sized jars for future use.
Be sure to try your newly made hot pepper mix in small quantities. I found that mine was WAY hotter than any store bought brand and a very little goes a long way! And, it’s so good with fresh PIZZA!
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