Hot Pepper Dudes, LLC


Process (Save) Your Peppers
April 27, 2012, 7:50 pm
Filed under: Growing Hot Peppers | Tags: , , ,
If all goes well, you will have more peppers than you can possibly eat at one time as they ripen towards the end of the season.  At first you may just get a handful ripe at one time and that is perfect for just picking and using in your cooking (toss a few in your eggs, make some tacos, etc.).
There are some simple and some not so simple ways to preserve your peppers.  I’ll explain a few of the simple ways below and then move on to the harder stuff as I walk through the process myself later this year.
Stick them in the fridge
By far the easiest, just put them in a plastic zip bag and store them in the veggie crisper in your fridge.  This will keep them fresh for about 2 – 3 weeks and give you time to use them up in your cooking.  If they start to get squishy, they are beyond their usable age and should be thrown out.  The pepper should remain firm as long as it’s good to use.
Dry them
If you have a dehydrator, then you can use that to dry your peppers.  Just follow the directions that came with your unit.
I don’t have one so I use a regular sewing needle and thread to string them up.  I push the needle through the green part of the pepper and repeat until all the peppers are on the thread.  Then, hang them up in a sunny location to dry.  Make sure there is space between each pepper so there is adequate room for air circulation.
This technique works great for smaller (Firecracker, Thai, Rooster) or thin peppers (Long Slim Red, Cayenne).  I wouldn’t try it for the meatier peppers as they tend to contain a lot of moisture and could rot rather than dry.  If you want to dry those kind I’d suggest getting a dehydrator.
After they are dry, you can store them in a plastic zip bag in a cool, dark, and dry location for a really long time.  This is also a good way to preserve them for keeping at room temperature (they don’t need to be refrigerated once dry).
My preferred method is to smash them up and put them in a spice jar for use in cooking and as a pizza topper.  You can smash them by hand or use a coffee grinder (just don’t use it for coffee again unless you like spicy coffee).
Here’s how I hang them in a sunny spot to dry:
Drying Peppers

Drying Peppers

Make Hot Sauce
This can be quite a bit of fun.  Start with the following basic recipe and then you can add your own ingredients to get your own unique flavors.
Ingredients:
  • 8 hot peppers, the size of habaneros.
  • 1 cup of white vinegar, 5% acidity
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon of  allspice

Instructions:

  • Use caution when cutting your peppers.  Wear rubber gloves and do not inhale and steam or vapors that arise from processing your sauce.  Also use the exhaust fan over the stove and open doors and windows if possible.
  • Remove the stems from the peppers and coarsely chop them up.  You can remove the seeds if you want a milder sauce, but use them if you like it good and hot.
  • Bring 2/3 cup of vinegar to a boil.
  • Add the peppers to the boiling vinegar.  Cook for about 5 minutes until the peppers begin to soften, but you don’t want them mushy.
  • Remove the peppers from the vinegar and put them into a blender or food processor.  Retain the vinegar for later use.
  • Add the garlic, ginger, and allspice to the blender or food processor.
  • Add the remaining 1/3 cup of vinegar to the blender or food processor.
  • Blend until smooth and pourable.  Use the reserved vinegar to thin the mixture to your desired consistency.
  • Use a funnel and pour into a bottle and cap tightly.
  • Label the bottle and allow it to cool to room temperature.
  • Once cool, place in the refridgerator.

If you don’t have any bottles, we like the full kit that they sell at PepperMania.com.

Freeze Them

Peppers can be stored in the freezer, but you must take care to properly blanch them before freezing.  To blanch, remove the stems from the peppers and cut in half.  Bring a cup of vinegar to a boil.  Add the peppers to the boiling vinegar and blanch for 3 – 5 minutes.  Remove and drain the peppers, then put them in a freezer safe container or bag.  Now you can store them for a long time in the freezer, up to a year.
Follow safe handling procedures when working with peppers.
Pickle Them
This is a pretty easy way to make pickled peppers.  You’ll need to get some canning jars or similar containers to follow this method, although you won’t need a full canning set up.
Cut up your large peppers, generally in rings like store bought bannana peppers, or any size that you like.  If you want to pickle your smaller peppers whole, then pierce them 2 – 3 times or they will burst when pickling them.
Add a clove over garlic, cut in half, to the bottom of each container.  This is also when you’d add any other spices that you want to use for flavor.  Once you spices are added, fill the containers with your peppers.
Next, bring a cup or two of 5% acidity vinegar to a boil.  Add a tablespoon of pickling or kosher salt to the vinegar (do not use regular table salt as it contains Iodine and will cloud the mixture).  Use one tablespoon of salt per cup of vinegar.
The exact amount of vinegar will vary with the number of containers that you need to fill.  Once boiling, carefully pour it over your peppers to within 1/4 inch of the top of each container.  If using glass jars, run a plastic knife around the inside of the jar to remove any air bubbles.  Wipe the top of the container clean, then seal with the lid.
When the containers cool, place them in the fridge for at least 2 weeks before eating them to let the flavors meld.  Using this method, you must store them in the fridge as they won’t be shelf stabilized.
If you wish to make shelf-stable canned or pickled peppers, you will need to get a home canning kit and follow the processing instructions that come with it.
For peppers, it’s also nice to use the small jars as you can then share with friends and family.
Visit us at www.hotpepperdudes.com for an idea of what you can do with hot sauce when you hit on a good thing.
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[…] Process (Save) Your Peppers (cbillet.wordpress.com) […]

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