We lovvveeee spicy, from actively seeking out farmers markets and grocery stores to raid their hot sauce collections, cooking up our own sriracha recipes, visiting every Indian restaurant possible and growing an assortment of hot peppers in both Canada and Venezuela this DIY Guide is one dear to our hearts….and appetites.
We originally received organic Ring of Fire(Cayenne Peppers) seeds from a family member many years ago and began planting them in our windowsill in Venezuela before obtaining a small piece of farm land there. These seeds have always gave us a great yield and even withstood winter inside our new home in Canada. We originally began drying & persevering the peppers in Venezuela as our crop continued to grow. The steps for drying and making your own chili flakes are simple and similar to our post on Air Drying Herbs.
Dried mint, oregano and cayenne peppers
The reason we choose to air dry as oppose to using a dehumidifier or using an oven is personal and it goes back to the roots of drying foods. This way has long been used and effective without using any outside energy and just solely relying on mother nature. Air drying allows you to observe the transformation and drying process, to be patient and to let things happen naturally. Now here are our simple steps to drying and making your own Chili Flakes.
Homegrown chilies are best, but you can also use chilies from a farmers market or store if you prefer or it is more convenient. Choose chilies that are fully ripened some people choose to mix their peppers using both hot and mild, we always just use the Cayenne peppers.
What you will need: Water, towel, string, scissors, glass gar, gloves, marker & label(optional but recommenced) hot peppers
1. Wash your peppers lightly removing any dirt **remember to use gloves when handling your peppers
2. Gently Pat dry with a towel
3. String your pepper, for this you can use a needle and thread and gently tie a knot between each pepper or use some twine and tie a knot around each stem connecting them as you go along.
4. Allow 5-6 weeks to dry, you can check the state of your peppers by pinching them to see if they are brittle, before they are beginning to crumble or turn to hard
5. Once they are fully dried you can remove them from the string and remove any stems. Using gloves you can hand use a pair of scissors to create small flakes or use a blender to crush them but not turn them to powder.
Enjoy on pizza, pasta or add it to one of your favourite recipes for a little kick 🙂
If you are like us here at Culture & Greens you may have eagerly planted a garden in the spring with all of your favourite herbs and veggies, maybe you are experimenting with some new plants or using some of your favourite saved seeds. If this is the case you may also be in the middle of harvesting some of your herbs & veggies; and after you have exhausted your prime customers(family & friends) and had your fair share of fresh herbs in every recipe possible, air drying herbs is a great option to save money, avoid waste and ensure the quality of your herbs.
It’s an easy process, all you need is water to wash your herbs, towel to pat them dry, string or an elastic to hang them and glass jar to store them.
5 Simple Steps to Drying Your Homegrown Herbs
Try to cut your herbs in the morning when they are without dew and make sure it’s close to the base so you have enough space to tie a string and hang them. It’s also best to remove any dead or damaged foliage (We always throw it in our compost)
2. Wash & Dry
Rinse the herbs gently with cold water and pat dry with a clean towel without damaging any of the foliage.
3. Tie in a Bouquet
Tie the ends of your herbs together, We usually use a hemp string, but you can also use a twist tie, twine or elastic. Make sure the herbs are secure at the end and be sure to leave a long string to hang them.
4. Air Dry
Hang the herbs in a shaded, warm and dry area that receives good ventilation but away from any dust. We don’t get much light in our kitchen and throughout the summer it’s been warm so for us it’s been an ideal spot. Throughout the colder months you can also utilize your fireplace if you have one by placing the herbs close by to increase the drying time. If you don’t have something to hang your herbs from you can always just tie a string from one object to another in a desired place and hang the herbs from the string.
5. Remove Stems & Store in Glass Jar
Remove the stems. You may choose to crumble your herbs or leave them full, for mint and flowers we tend to leave it full but basil, oregano and parsley we like to crumble. Remember to store in a dark cool dry environment to keep flavour longest. Light and heat tends to affect the colour of the herbs as well as the lifespan. For storing your herbs mason jars work great, but really any clean jar with a good seal should work fine.
After you have stored them you can simply write on the jar with a permanent marker or chalk maker or take some inspiration from some of our favourite creative labels