Ripening as They Dry - Peppers

digit(ID/WA)October 9, 2012



What we are looking at here are:

#1 - the basket of peppers in my very dry & quite hot greenhouse this afternoon.

#2 - the way peppers are usually treated around here. They ripened in the kitchen, just as one might allow tomatoes to ripen on a kitchen counter. After they are ripe, the peppers are tied to a string (or the string is threaded thru them with a needle). The rista is then hung and the peppers dry.

What is different this year is that the mostly green peppers were not hung but simply placed in a shallow basket and set where it is very sunny. They have been stirred up every other day and they are ripening. Or, at least, they have turned red.

The Super Chili peppers certainly are not as red as they would have been if they had spent the last week in the kitchen, out of the sun. I doubt if the seeds are as viable. But, there may be little difference in the heat & flavor taking this route.

This is the year for me to try milling them, perhaps with other seasonings, and preserve the dry pepper mix with finely ground salt. The dehydrator that I bought DW about 10 years ago may finally get some use, drying onion & garlic! Yeah, I could have used it on the peppers but then, I'm fairly sure they would all have stayed green.


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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

You can still use the dehydrator for the peppers. Here is a picture of my final pepper harvest before last weekend's frost.

A couple of close ups:

These Habaneros have ripened considerably since last Friday.

Oh, BTW Steve, I did harvest at least half a dozen ripe Peach Habaneros, and a couple of Chocolate Habs. before this final harvest, so it can be done here in Colorado!!!

Hoping to pick through them and put the ripe ones in the dehydrator, and maybe throw some in the food processor before freezing them in ice cube trays. I've tried freezing them whole, or cutting them into strips and freezing, but the texture when thawed was too rubbery for me, so trying the puree then freeze route this year.


    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 3:02PM
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Oh My Land!

Bonnie, you sure do have some ripe peppers. "Peach Habaneros" you say? I see that Totally Tomatoes has them at 85 to 100 days. That's not a very specific statement of fact . . .

Just up the page are those Garden Salsa hybrids. They often ripen for me at 73 days. This year, they were incredibly hot! I don't know what got into them but I'm just about ready to take them off my regulars list.

I'm hoping the milled mix turns out. I'm kind of a "sprinkle, shake, & dash" sort of a guy. It is awfully easy to just reach for the Tabasco, which is what I did this morning for some eggs scrambled with tomatoes.


    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 5:20PM
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mstywoods(z5, Westminster, CO)

Ok now, you guys are TOTALLY embarrassing the rest of us!!! Well, at least me that is ;^)

Wow - what a beautiful crop for you both! Great job you and mother nature did this year. And both of you ought to have your pics in a cookbook or gardening book somewhere :)


    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 6:51PM
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Lesuko(5, Boulder CO)

I hope you don't mind me jumping in. What do you do with all those peppers?

I only got a few anaheims and poblanos this year (plants were small and the peppers were hot). I just stuff them for the grill since there were few. I thought I would try to dry some poblanos to make anchos but I had sunscald on most of the peppers and didn't think they should be preserved. (of course I'm assuming that putting a pobalano in a dehydrator results in an ancho).

Would you dehydrate everything or make a hot sauce to use in place of fresh peppers over the winter? You have so many do you use them all? I want to get better at understanding the harvest- planting for storage, well micro storage since we're sort of urban- in other words, no root cellar.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 1:54PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Lesuko, I can't speak for Steve, but for me, it depends on the type of pepper.

These Peach Habaneros

Were made into a Peach Habanero Jam

I used a lot of Jalapenos, and Serranos, and Aji Chinchi Amarillos in jams and jellies too.

The large podded Anaheim types, such as Sandia, Guajillo, Piment d' Espelette, and Chilhuacle Amarillo were dehydrated and ground into powders.

The Alma Paprikas and a lot of the jalapenos were made into "Poppers". Basically, stuffed with a combination of cheeses and spices, and wrapped in bacon. Yum!!!

The sweets, such as Patio Red Marconi, Jimmy Nardello, and Pusztagold, and some of the hot ones, such as Fresno, were used fresh in cooking spaghetti, chili, etc.

Let's see, then there were some chopped up in omelets, and sprinkled on tacos. It seems like I use peppers in just about everything.

I'm also hoping to puree and freeze a bunch of the thicker fleshed varieties if I can find time to get it done.

Used quite a few to make a batch of zucchini relish. If the tomatoes ever ripen, I'll use a lot of the peppers in canning salsa.

Once all the fresh ones are gone, I'll start using the powders for cooking.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 5:45PM
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Lesuko(5, Boulder CO)

Highaltitude- wow!

That's a great list of peppers for me to look into knowing that they grow in CO.

Not to be a pain, but what do you use the spicey jams for? How do you eat them? On toast? I checked out from the library the Chili Pepper Institute's book on growing peppers at the beginning of the year. It had some recipes- and recipes for fresh eating I can find, but it didn't tell you what to do with a batch harvest. I have seen recipes for pepper jams, but they never say how to use them.

You have inspired me to learn more about peppers!

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 8:24PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

I eat then almost every morning for breakfast. Usually on some of my homemade quick bread (zucchini, banana, pumpkin, etc.). If I don't have any made, I'll put some cream cheese on an English muffin, and then spread some pepper jelly over that.

Last weekend for our church potluck, I took a jar, microwaved it for a few seconds, and then spooned it over a block of softened cream cheese, and served with some decent crackers. A quick and easy appetizer!

I've also used it in the center of thumbprint jam cookies.

Personally, I don't care for sweet sauces on my meat, but lots of folks use it as a glaze on chicken, or pork.

Honestly, I could just eat it out of the jar with a spoon, LOL!

Leslie, I grew around 50 varieties of peppers this year, and when I have a little more time, I'll do a year end review of all of them.


    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 9:53PM
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I eat peppers like the little sweet peppers Yummy & Fushimi just sauteed, as a side dish. The Anaheim types are cool enough for me to use that way, also.

There are lots of noodles eaten in this house and chopped fresh peppers go in them. Spaghetti, of course, is one of those and, with a lot more to go, I've now frozen over 2 gallons of the sauce. I like to leave out the meat and just cook that at the time of the spaghetti dinner. Meatballs are a favorite with the sauce. Of course, the sauce can also go in those winter casseroles that add so much to winter comfort! The sweet peppers are usually the #2 sauce ingredient after the tomatoes.

Dry peppers, especially the big sweet Italians can be re-hydrated just by soaking awhile and then boiling on the stove. They can be put in the blender and that makes kind of an instant sauce. With some chopped tomatoes, sauteed onion & garlic, roast chicken meat, coconut milk, and a little hot pepper - you've got something that people with more talent, can eat with chopsticks!

Last year, a lot of the hot peppers were just run thru the blender and frozen. Scraping that out of small containers at the table seemed a little "primitive" but it works. I'd like to change things this year with a well-prepared dry mix.

I eat a lot of eggs, got laying hens. Often the eggs are just scrambled, sometimes with tomatoes & shallots, sometimes as an omelet. Hot pepper should always go on eggs! (Yes, it riles up the metabolism and that's the way to deal with the cholesterol. ;o)

(who also sells some of the peppers from the garden ;o)

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 10:13PM
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I wish I could go back and edit on GW . . !!

Along with the re-hydrated Italian peppers -- a critical ingredient, since it is a noodle dish - is the noodles!

Rice vermicelli works best.

Steve (rolling his eyes)

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 10:22PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Pureed four different kinds of peppers this evening, sweet, jalapenos, Fresnos, and Trinidad Perfume (the yellow ones).

Once they are frozen solid, I'll put them in freezer bags, according to heat level. Then, when a recipe calls for fresh chopped peppers during the winter, I'll just drop a cube or two into the pot. Each cube = 1/8 cup of puree.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 10:42PM
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Lesuko(5, Boulder CO)

So is jealousy ripe among all gardeners or just with us newbies?

50 varieties of peppers?! I can name 5. Thank you both. Today is the perfect day to experiment with my jalapenos/fresnos. I'm already looking at my garden space and know that I'll be planting peppers in my flower beds next season. Knowing how to use the bounty is the hardest part of gardening for me. I have checked out probably 15 books on "kitchen gardening" this summer and it's not very helpful when you get 1 recipe per vegetable and no ideas on how to preserve them for non-fresh uses.

You have my mind working now. I'll research the peppers listed and see what we can fit in our garden. Also need to look into a dehydrator. I believe the Excalibur is recommended on this site.

Thanks again. I "learned" what to do with all the tomatoes at the END of last season. Just learned about preserving peppers at the end of this one. I wonder which vegetable is next.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 11:59AM
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mstywoods(z5, Westminster, CO)

Love the pureed peppers in the ice cube tray idea, Bonnie! Do you cook them first, of puree them raw?


    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 12:10PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado


If you're thinking about getting a dehydrator, I HIGHLY recommend the Nesco Model FD-75PR, "Professional" (is what it says on the box), 700 watt. The heater/fan is on TOP so you don't have the problem of "stuff" dripping/falling down onto it and making a hard-to-clean-up mess. And this one comes with five trays--many/most (of the "reasonably priced" ones) only come with four. It comes with two of what they call "clean a screen" inserts which have a very fine screen, so good for little things, and are supposed to be good for "sticky" stuff, and also two "fruit roll sheet" inserts which are solid "trays"--I've been sticking one of those on the bottom to catch tiny pieces that fall, tho since there's no motor on the bottom it doesn't make that much difference--but the solid tray is lighter and easier to dump out than the actual "base!" It has an adjustable thermostat from 95-160 degrees. And it is, as they say, amazingly quiet when it's running--tho I set mine on the freezer downstairs just to keep it out of the way! The two things you'll find listed as "disadvantages" are that it doesn't have a timer--tho I just check the stuff to see if it's "as done as I want it" anyway, so I'm not sure I'd use a timer, and it doesn't have an on/off switch so you need to just unplug it to turn it off! Another no-big-thing for me, but might be more important for others!

I got mine last winter and just, finally, used it for the first time to dry some sage--which I was gonna throw on the compost pile and then went: Wait! I have the dehydrator!!! (I grow it as an ornamental!) And then I did some basil--and will be doing some more of that when I cut the rest of them down. For my first use I was VERY happy with it!

When I first thought about getting one, since none of them are cheap, I spent most of a year, on and off, researching them, and, for the money, the Nesco I got was the most highly recommended one I could find. When I got serious about getting one I spent a LOT of time online looking for the best price--I found it priced from $79 to $59 at WalMart--a couple other places matched the WM $59, but WM has free shipping to a local store so that saved a good $10! And, when I finally went to WM (online) to order it, it was on sale for $49--but it was "out of stock!" I saved the link and clicked on it every day--several times--for over two weeks, trying to find it "in stock" and it just wasn't happening! Finally decided to just go ahead and order it for the $59, which was still a good price, and when I went to order it--whadaya think!--it was IN STOCK! Serendipity! So I wound up getting it for the $49 after all! (As soon as I finished the order I went back to look again--and it was shown out of stock again!)

I'll link the best site I found when I was researching them below. It's set to the Nesco model I'm talking about, but on the left menu you can check out others if you want to, including Excalibur. I couldn't afford one of those if my life depended on it! And the square ones somehow look more awkward to move around to me--but maybe that's just me!

Sprouts had apples on sale for just 49 cents a pound last week so I got a whole bunch of them to dehydrate--need to get them done right after the swap! That's what really got me started on dehydrating! A friend brought her (old) dehydrator over last year to show me how good the apples were (I can't eat store bought ones 'cause they're dried with sulphur dioxide--a no-no for me!), and I absolutely LOVED them! Am thinking of sprinkling cinnamon on some of them this year--and all sorts of other things--like dipping them in honey?!! When I found it on sale I also got one of those little apple peeler/slicer/corer thingies! MUCH easier than peeling and slicing them all by hand! (My friend had also brought her "thingie" along to show me how it worked!)

I LOVE the Pretty Pepper Pictures (love alliteration too!), but I don't do HOT--at all, and peppers in general "don't agree with me," so I don't grow them, but I am still trying to grow some paprika peppers! Have tried Alma for three years and never really got anything "usable" off of it--like one or two very small peppers that just didn't amount to anything, and last year I cut and "licked" one and it was HOT! Huh? So in my seed shopping last winter I found another, just labeled "paprika pepper" at Horizon Herbs and decided to try it! For the first time this year I actually have something to dehydrate! The peppers are shaped like a hot pepper and 5-6" long. Will probably wind up with between a dozen and two--on two plants, most of them are still outside, trying to let them ripen out there! The red ones are in the fridge and I need to get them cut up and in the dehydrator SOON! Haven't tasted any of them yet, but they're described as "sweet" and (so far) I'm taking their word for it! So, other than my "paprika peppers," I'll need to rely on others for the Pretty Pepper Pictures!

Thanks for all the Pretty Pepper Pictures, Planting Pals!


P.S. Bonnie, Seems to me I remember a "time before" when you were looking for "NOT hot" ones! This is from your "Pepper Evaluation '08" thread! "The peppers I grew this year were all sweet peppers, since DH and the little ones can't tolerate hot stuff. I've decided to try one or two next year that have a little heat, so if anyone can recommend something mildly hot, for things like salsa, I'd appreciate it."

You've come a long way, baby!

Here is a link that might be useful: Dehydrator Info

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 2:08PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Oh, wait!!! Did I forget to mention my absolute favorite way to eat a pepper?

Jalapeno Poppers

Finished product

Mmmmm ... they were really yummy!

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 11:24PM
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