Saturday, January 8, 2011

Hot peppers through winter

Let's just say I went a little overboard with peppers this year. In addition to successfully overwintering my summer 2009 chili de arbol pepper plant, I also bought thai chili pepper, jalapeno pepper, hot banana pepper, and pimiento pepper plants (not shown here). Today, the thai chili peppers and chili de arbol pepper plant are still alive. The hot banana pepper, jalapeno pepper, and pimiento pepper plants are all very dry, and possibly beyond rescue. We'll see....

Here's a summary of most of my peppers from their transplant/purchase until now (or at least what I took pictures of). Note the Christmas lights behind the thai chili pepper plant!

Anyway, I was still harvesting peppers well into December (the top picture is from December). I froze some of the jalapenos and hot banana peppers. I used all the peppers in cooking as much as I could. Still, I had a ton just sitting there, slowly drying on the counter. While my summer harvests also included lots of herbs and other goodies (left picture below), and my fall harvests included tomatillos and such for salsa (second picture), my winter harvests just kinda sat there. Finally, I dried a bunch in the oven (they were already pretty dry from the counter, but I put them on a cookie sheet at low temp for an hour or so to suck out any remaining moisture). I removed about a third of the seeds (third and fourth pictures below).


Still at a loss for what to do, I bought a spice grinder from amazon (a mini coffee grinder, actually), and I ground up the peppers! I don't think removing some seeds was necessary, but I was worried it would be too hot to use.

With the rest of the peppers, I made some Christmas decorations. I strung the peppers on a piece of thread and hung them below our spice shelf. They looked very Christmasy in their red and green string, but they have since turned all red. The big ones are hot banana peppers that are now probably REALLY hot. Soon, I will finish drying them in the oven, grind them up, and add them to my hot pepper powder mix. I've been adding it to lots of things!

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