What to do with an abundance of chile peppers?
Posted by darnhotpeppers
We’ve heard from some folks on twitter and facebook that this year seems to be shaping up really well for peppers, and already several yields are coming in from a single plant. Most folks we’ve chatted with are growing peppers in a home garden and asking what they should do with extra peppers that they cant eat while fresh.
Here are a few options:
- Drying: If you happen to live in the southwest like arizona or New Mexico the common practice for 1000’s of years is to split open your peppers and dry them on a hot rock. For the rest of us, if you happen to have a dehydrator handy this is a great option. Food dehydration is also really safe because once water is removed from the food, mold and bacteria cannot grow on it and it won’t spoil. However, a significant loss of vitamin A and C happens in dried foods due to the heat and air. If you dont have an electric dehydrator handy, Oven drying is good, but it isn’t very energy efficient, and you lose a lot of flavor. You will need to prop open the oven door to maintain air circulation during the drying process. You’ll need to dry for several hours, so you can see the problem here. Also, If your oven cannot keep a temperature below 200 degrees farenheit, use another method.
- Freezing: This is probably the most economical and handy method for saving peppers. Just chop them up, place them on a cookie sheet and in the freezer. After freezing place into a zip lock bag and store in the freezer until your ready to cook. Frozen peppers are perfect for chili, soups, rice dishes and more.
Canning: Invest in a Pressure Canner (a large pressure pot with a lifting rack to sanitize the jars after filling you can usually pick one up for between $75 – $150 dollars. These are good for for low acid foods like most vegetables, where you can’t use an open water bath canner, it has to be a pressure canner to get the high temperatures to kill the bacteria. If you plan on canning every year, it’s worth the price. The most important thing about pressure canning is that you need peppers that are FRESH and crisp. So make sure you pick and can ASAP.
Hope this was helpful.