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Making Your Own Hot Pepper Flakes

Our Hot Pepper Powder, Hot Pepper Flakes, Dried Chipotle Peppers and Hot Pepper Ketchup made from all of our summer peppers

When your harvest starts to pile up – make good use of your peppers by making hot pepper flakes or powder

What to do with all of those peppers in the garden?

Here is a simple and easy method to use up all of those hot peppers – make fresh hot pepper flakes.   We love them on pizza, eggs, or any other dish we want to spice up with a little heat and flavor.

We even make different kinds of pepper flakes depending on the peppers that are ready to pick.  We have made cayenne, jalapeno, Cajun Belle and even Habanero (very hot!!!) flakes from all of our extra peppers.   Many times we will use them all and make a mix.

Much like you would do when canning – you want to select the nicest and best looking of your peppers for drying.  Wash and rinse the peppers off, cut off the stem and then dry them off with a towel and place on cookie sheets.  Make sure you line the cookie sheets with aluminum foil before placing the peppers on them – we learned the hard way that drying peppers on unprotected cookie sheets can leave an everlasting heat to anything you bake on them afterwards :)

Here – four trays of Habanero go into the oven for roasting!

We can fit 4 loaded cookie sheets of peppers on the two racks in our oven – and then we just simply turn on the heat to a very low setting (usually 160 to 170 degrees on ours )

We will let them roast on low for about 8 to 10 hours.  If you have to leave – no worries –  just turn off the oven and resume again when you come home – no harm done at all to the drying peppers.  We will often dry them in the evening – and then turn off before bed – and finish drying the next morning or evening.

Grind the peppers in a food processor

When your peppers have turned crisp and dry (usually 8 to 10 hours – but it can be a few more or less depending on the dryness of the peppers) – take them out and let them cool completely.  Then place into your food processor or food chopper – and in a matter of seconds you have fresh home-made pepper flakes.  If you want to make hot pepper powder (like cayenne) – just simply take your flakes and run them through a food mill to remove the seeds – and your left with  a fine powder that can be used in dishes, soups, and sauces.

We keep some on the counter year round to use in everything from soups to eggs to pizza.

One last great use for the hot pepper grind  – mix up a few teaspoons of hot pepper flakes or powder in a gallon jug of water.  Let it stand for a day or two and then use a mister to apply to plants where bunnies or other critters can be a problem.  One taste of the hot pepper on the leaves and they tend to leave it alone.  Just remember to re-apply after any rain that might wash off the hot spray.

Last but not least – a few cautions when working with hot peppers:

Always wear rubber gloves to prevent your hands from absorbing the heat from the peppers – from experience – I can tell you that it’s no fun to have your hands hurt for days from handling raw peppers.

When heating in your oven – you will definitley notice the smell and a little heat in the air from the peppers as they dry – we always keep a window or two open to help keep it from bothering us too much.

When grinding up in your food processor – we actually take ours to the porch back screened in porch to grind – just to avoid the sneezing dust that can come with the grind.

**If you would like to receive our Recipe Of The Week each Friday – be sure to sign up to follow the blog via email in the right had column, “like” us on  the Facebook, or follow us onTwitter

- Mary and Jim

31 Comments on Making Your Own Hot Pepper Flakes

  1. I dehydrate mine and store them whole in glass jars they keep well and we grind as we need them :)

  2. How long will the flakes stay fresh? Can you leave them in the pantry in a jar or do they need to be kept in the refridgerator? I am planning on using my bumper crop of tabasco peppers for this!

  3. You have so many nice comments and replies to people on your peppers page, I commented on August 3rd and 8th, with no reply. Why?

    • Hi Kay – and so sorry!! I just looked back and I think somehow the question you asked was missed! We get so many replies and try to answer as many as we can – but we do sometimes miss some.

      I will go back now and reply to it! And thanks so much for following along with our blog and commenting! Jim and Mary

  4. Cathy Boudreau // September 11, 2013 at 7:23 pm // Reply

    Can’t wait to try this, my daughter can go through a full container of red pepper flakes in a week or two – by herself !!!

  5. I don’t grow anywhere near the amount of peppers you have in your garden. I did have enough for a tray and dried them 2 days ago. The majority of the peppers were jalapeno, but I did have a few hot and sweet cherry. The cherry peppers are nice and dry, and they look exactly like I would expect them to look after being in the oven for 10 hours. After 13 hours, the jalapenos are still soft to the touch and the bottoms are almost black. Did I do something wrong with the jalapenos? Any suggestions on what to do next time?

    Love your page! I’ve picked up so many great tips.

    • Kathy – Sometimes if the peppers are really fresh and have a lot of water content – we will slice in half to help speed up the drying. Or – we will dry in the oven for about 6 hours and then let them sit out for a day or two and then dry again. It may be that you just really had fresh and more moist jalapenos. Hope that helps and so glad you love the website! Jim and Mary

      • Thanks so much for the quick reply! The peppers were very fresh. I picked, washed and stuck them in the oven. The next time I will let them sit for a day or two and try again.

        Thanks again!

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