Yes, I know it’s December, and I know the whole chili peppers thing might not make sense right now. But before I say anything else, let me just show you this photo:
Yep, you see what I see–a pile of freshly harvested LOCAL cayenne peppers on a bed of fallen leaves. This, my friends, is Central Texas.
This is also Central Texas: a temperature change within the last two weeks between 86 F and 26 F…
These peppers came from Gary’s garden. You might be noticing a theme here. It involves Gary being artistic and innovative and yet so “down home country,” and me trying frivolously to replicate it here on the blog.
Since Gary gets this many peppers (and more) each year, he’s come up with a few ways to preserve them. I mean, it makes sense–is it even a good idea medically to consume all these peppers before they turn? I wouldn’t linger on the thought…
Distilled White Vinegar
Fill container of any size with cayenne peppers. Cover with vinegar. Make sure the vinegar totally covers the peppers (so the peppers are sealed from the air). Pickle until desired hotness is reached. Mine have been on the counter for a week–I think I’ll wait a month. If desired, blitz in food processor and strain through a fine mesh sieve.
Optional: use vinegar as desired (without blitzing), adding more vinegar to top of the jar after use.
Dried Cayenne Pepper, Flaked and Powdered
Chop peppers in half lengthwise, exposing the seeds, then chop in ½-inch pieces. Leave on sheetpan in oven for several hours, then leave on the counter overnight. You want them to be shriveled and dried up before you continue.
When peppers are very dry, process in a grinder (a very clean coffee grinder could work, but a grinder you only use for spices and nuts would be better). Blitz until desired consistency is reached. I turned some into larger flakes, and made more of a coarse powder out of some. Store in an airtight container in the freezer.
Test for heat before using. Use in place of ground cayenne and crushed red pepper.