Drying and grinding peppers

farm2012November 12, 2012

Last year, my wife and I put in a 200' row of peppers. We found that cutting up the peppers, drying them in 3 commercial driers, and grinding them up into powder w/ our little cuisinart spice grinder made some delicious spices. However, this process is somewhat time consuming. Slicing up a 5 gallon bucket of jalapenos, prior to drying, takes several hours. The little cuisinart grinder works well, but it takes several hours to grind up the dried peppers. I have looked online and found that there are mills but they cost from $2500 to $8500.

Have any of you had to deal w/ this? This year we plan to put in 3 200' rows of peppers. Finding an alternate approach is going to be a must! Hopefully there is an approach somewhere in the middle.

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I have never dealt with those quantities before but others here have recommended using a blender for grinding a larger amount than is practical with a little spice grinder. With some (most??) you can even replace the pitcher with a mason jar (same threads to screw on the pitcher or jar). That should save some time.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 9:04AM
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Since you are using commercial dryers, i'm assuming the chiles are pretty 'crispy' when they are done drying. It has to happen right when they come out.. but what if you just throw them in a really big bag, and crush by hand. You won't get a fine powder, but it doesn't take much work after the chopping/drying.
hope this helps, -E

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 12:37PM
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Jalapenos are too thick fleshed to dry well. Smoking is a good way to preserve them. Cayennes and ghost peppers and any others with thin skin will dry better and grind to a powder with less energy output.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 12:43PM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

Hire Gallagher?

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 3:37PM
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Is your goal to market and sell powdered pepper mixes? That will require commercial-grade equipment.

I dried and ground some Jalepenos. The end result was slightly oily and caked a little, so I used that powder within a few months. The thin-skinned peppers as mentioned above I also ground and still have bottles in the freezer dated from the late 1990's. They do not cake at all, and I tap into them every few months for my own mixtures.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 12:13AM
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Bpwilly(8b - Kent, Wa)

Just a thought, you might use something like a Vita Mix. They have 2 containers for grinding, and one of those is for dry items, like grain to make flour. Bigger than a spice grinder, and still cheaper than a commercial machine. I have made up to 2 cups of powder at once in them, but your product has got to be real dry. Be real careful if you do Hab's or super-hots, as I have driven my wife and I out of the kitchen a few times when opening the lid.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 1:20PM
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Yes, you almost have to take the operation out of the house. I have to wear a t-shirt over my mouth & nose just to use my tiny Krups grinder.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2012 at 11:16PM
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My advice is to dry the heck out of them, till there is no doubt they are all brittle. Keep the dried pieces as large as you can in a jar or freezer bag and store them in a a dark place. Grind them for a month's worth of powder at a time. This keeps the flavor of the pepper much longer than grinding everything at once.

Here is a link that might be useful: Peppermeister's 2012 Chile Seed Giveaway!

    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 1:13PM
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t-bob(west wa)

as for grinding outside and opening the lid to the grinder.....if you set up a fan with a low setting and blowing away from you, this can help....just don't blow the whole mix away, or you will be sad

This post was edited by t-bob on Fri, Nov 30, 12 at 12:18

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 12:12PM
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I make powder too. I made quite a bit from only 3 large cayenne plants. I would like to try jalapeno as well. You would need a longer while on the jalapeno. The cayenne I slice up and set them on wood in the sun. A few days they are dry. Then I use a coffee grinder to turn them to powder. I do plan to only make powder next year as that is what i used most. I will only use the coffee grinder and MAYBE get like a 20 dollar dehydrator from walmart or something. I would never consider buying anything that coss thousands unless I grew acres of peppers and sold them. Otherwise, you will end up with powder that costs 100 dollars a pound. Not like the average price of 15 dollars you can get right in the store. Dont go and spend more money on growing and drying peppers then the powder is really worth. :)

Wow is this thread froozen in time?

This post was edited by TheMasterGardener1 on Wed, Dec 5, 12 at 11:19

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 1:17PM
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Something occurred to me that made me remember this thread.

My grandmother has one of those cheap metal storage buildings that you buy in a kit box and assembled yourself (I still have the scars from putting it together...). Even with the light tan paintjob it came with it easily gets incredibly hot inside during the summer.

If you painted one of those black, put it out in full sun in the summer, filled it with metal shelving, and put so much as a box fan in there I'd wager it would make a pretty darned good dehydrator that could handle hundreds of pounds of pods at a time.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 12:46PM
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