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Preserving Chili Peppers


Advice and guidance on how to preserve chillies 

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Once the chillies finally begin to ripen, they usually all ripen at the same time and then you are left with the big question – what to do with all these chillies? One of the best things about chillies is that they can be processed in a diverse range of ways. They are great for making sauces, drying, grinding into powder, pickling, smoking, roasting, freezing and even candying.

Drying chilies

The simplest way to preserve chillies, is of course to dry out the peppers. This can be achieved by air-drying (only appropriate for varieties with a thin outer layer) or in the oven. Slice the chillies open, remove the stalks and dry the chili peppers in the fan oven at 100°C with the door slightly open for about 2 or 3 hours. If stored in a dry, dark and airtight place, dried chillies can be kept for up to 5 years.

Make your own chili sauce

Depending on flavour and your personal tastes, chillies can be used to make fine sauces, whether with vinegar like the famed tabasco sauce, sweet and sour like in Thailand, with tomatoes as a spicy ketchup, with ginger or tropical fruits as in the Caribbean – let your imagination run wild. Kept in properly sterilised jars, homemade chili sauces can be kept for at least a year.

Pickling chilies

You can preserve your chillies in vinegar, oil or even in alcohol. Vinegar with more than 5% acidity can be used to preserve the hot peppers, whereby you can increase the shelf life by either soaking them overnight in a salt brine or by heating the jars. When using oil as a preservative, you should briefly boil the chillies beforehand in a vinegar solution, dry them and then layer them up in a preserving jar, which is then filled with oil. Fleshy varieties are particularly well-suited to pickling – the classic choice is the jalapeño pepper – as well as varieties with an exceptional flavour, e.g. habaneros.

Make your own chili powder

Dried chillies can either be crushed into flakes by hand (but always wear gloves!) or ground using a mortar and pestle or an old coffee grinder. The finished powder is then best kept in glasses with screw-on lids or shrink-wrapped in plastic. You must try to ensure that it is kept in a dry, dark and airtight place.

Freezing chilies

Chilies with thick, fleshy fruit walls are particularly well-suited to being kept frozen. Depending on what you plan to use them for, you can either cut the chillies beforehand into small chunks or large slices. Frozen chillies kept in plastic bags or containers can be stored like this for at least one year. However, the freezing process does damage the cell walls so that the chillies remain soft when thawed and are not crunchy as they were before. This is why defrosted chillies are best used for cooking or making sauces.

Advice and guidance on how to preserve chillies  read more »
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Preserving Chili Peppers

Advice and guidance on how to preserve chillies 

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