Drowning in Cayennes!

btbarbara(7b/8a)July 21, 2011

We were at the nursery a while back and my 6-year old son was getting a little bored. One of the employees took him on a tour so I could browse and he came back with a Cayenne pepper plant with a cute little curly-cue pepper. He was in love and just HAD to plant that so I bought it for him. It was actually a 4-pack though and now we're DROWNING in Cayennes. The top half of one of the plants broke off the other day so I strung up the largest peppers to dry...that was about 35...there are at least that many on the bottom half of that plant and just as many on the other three. I have no clue what to do with 200+ Cayenne peppers. Any suggestions?

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I used a recipe from the "Joy of Pickling" and made a fermented sauce with some garlic. Mine was a mixture of jalape�os, cayennes and habenoros. I made it last year and liked it much better than the vinegar sauce that I also made.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2011 at 1:02AM
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Well, you know, if you dry them and then powder them up for cayenne powder, you'd be surprised at how many it actually takes to make a small amount of it. They are mostly air space when you get right down to it, plus water, so really shrink down.

If nothing else, small jars of homemade cayenne powder or some kind of spice blend/seasoning mix would make wonderful presents at the holidays.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2011 at 9:54AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Dice and freeze for later use in salsa, spaghetti sauce, dips, meatloaf, chili (of course), hot pepper butter, hot pepper oil, salad dressings, etc.

Make him a


    Bookmark   July 22, 2011 at 11:01AM
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Great ideas...thanks!! I was wondering how well they'd freeze. The first bunch that I picked I think I left too long (because I'm totally new at this and have no idea what I'm doing!) They had almost no flavor at all. Seriously, my 6-year old picked one right off the plant and bit into it raw! I tasted it and it was more bitter than anything. When I was watering this morning, my hose got tangled up in one of the plants and I could immediately smell that delicious pepper smell so even though they were still green, I picked nearly 100. I tossed the ones that had bad spots on them and left the smaller ones but still got a bunch and there are still flowers too.

Two questions: At a family get-together a couple of years ago, there were some spicy dill pickles that were to die for. Problem is, they had been made by one of my aunts who had recently passed away so no one has the recipe. I've found some recipes online that call for adding crushed red pepper to the pickles when you're making them but I'm wondering if I put one or two little Cayennes in the jar with the pickles if it would be any good. I guess there's one good way to find out!

Also, I've read about making insecticidal spray using soap, garlic, and cayenne pepper. If I take those peppers that are "damaged" and toss them around the other plants, do you think it would help repel some of the bad bugs? Would it hurt anything?

Last one...kind of unrelated...when I have peppers and cukes that are one way or another damaged beyond using them or get knocked off too early or whatever, I generally just toss them out in the yard and figure the critters will eat them. If I do that, am I likely to be surprised by a yard full of cucumbers and peppers next year? Not really sure if that would be bad or good but it's good to know!

Thanks again for all the suggestions!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2011 at 12:05PM
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bejay9_10(zone 9/10)

cayennes are usually picked after they have turned red or ripe. This brings out their intense heat. I've never eaten them raw - but perhaps they still have a certain amount.

The Ball canning book has a great recipe for hot sauce, which I made last year - using a bounty of ripe Thai-type peppers, which are equal to or even hotter than Cayenne types. I dried quite a few of them in my dehydrator last year, storing them in jars in my cupboard.

I use them (sparingly) in making fermented pickles, seasoning spaghetti and other sauces, stir-fries (adding only half one to the oil to flavor it before frying), and of course, the nice hot taco sauce I made - recipe from the Ball Blue book. The sauce is every bit as good as the store variety - and used on tacos, enchiladas, etc.

I don't know how they would be - if you picked them green tho. Seems to me they need to ripen to bring out their true pungent flavor.

Don't know how they re-seed. I find in my small garden that most seeds have a tendency to cross - because things are too intensely grown, and seedlings rarely bear true to the mother plant.


    Bookmark   July 23, 2011 at 10:48AM
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This is what I do wi all my Cayennes, and it is delicious!!

6 ounces hot chiles (e.g., cayenne, Fresnos, habanero, jalapeno, long, serrano, Thai, or a combination of them), stemmed and chopped
10 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
Put all the ingredients in an electric mini-chopper or food processor. Process to a coarse texture. Take a whiff and it should make you sweat a bit. Taste and adjust the flavor with add extra salt or sugar. Transfer to a small saucepan, bring to a vigorous simmer over medium heat, lower the heat to gently simmer for about 5 minutes, or until it no longer smells raw. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Transfer to a jar and store in the refrigerator. Makes a scant 2/3 cup.

Quantities are really subjective. I toss in as many Peppers as I have and then sometimes a whole head of Garlic, and taste from there.


    Bookmark   July 23, 2011 at 5:50PM
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They do freeze really well. Sometimes I just rinse them off and pop them in ziploc bags. I dice them when I'm ready to use them. I'll store a large amount in a ziploc bag and can reach in and grab one or two whenever I need. Most hot peppers freeze very well, especially the hotter, drier ones.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2011 at 11:18AM
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> Also, I've read about making insecticidal spray using soap, garlic, and cayenne pepper.

Sounds good to me if you omit the garlic and the peppers. Just be aware that the soap spray will kill beneficials like bees too.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2011 at 12:21PM
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Oops! That didn't come out quite right. What am trying to say is that I have never found hot peppers to be any good at repelling or killing insects in my garden.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2011 at 12:45PM
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I tried making a cayenne pepper spray (with powdered cayenne from store) last year to protect our corn from racoons. Didn't work.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2011 at 8:53PM
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Thanks, everybody! A lot of the peppers I'd picked green went ahead and turned red after picking them. I don't know why that first batch I picked had no flavor. I took a bunch to a family get-together this weekend and everybody was fighting over them. I'll leave what's on the plants now until they get red and see how they do. Delayed gratification has never been my strong-suit! Now that I have some ideas for how to use them, I want them ready NOW. :)

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 4:58AM
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ajsmama, perhaps the racoons were Mexican? They were licking the cayenne off the cobs first, all stoked that you seasoned them up!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 11:57PM
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Yeah, they're a long way from home way up here in New England!

Now the turkeys are eating my green tomatoes - never had a problem with them in the garden near the house, even with a low (1-2ft tall) silt fence. I *know* they can fly higher than that! And they destroy our lawn so it's not like they are afraid to come to close to the house. But my new "field" 1000ft away is like a turkey buffet! Gotta get some netting up there too (put up 7ft tall deer fencing near the house b/c I was planning on edamame but it ended up being practically all peppers).

These are going to be some expensive tomatoes when/if I finally do get some ripe ones!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 7:38AM
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