Updated: Aug 29
One of the easiest ways to use your peppers before they go bad, or storing them away, is to make a simple spicy powder. Any type of pepper can be used, in any combination. Feel free to experiment to create the tastiest or spiciest powder for you to use.
There are many benefits to making your own spicy powder. One of the best benefits is knowing what your powder consists of, some store brands include additives like msg or preservatives. Also, nothing can beat the fresh flavor and heat of peppers straight from the garden! Sometimes spices can sit on store shelves for awhile before being bought, allowing the condiment to lose flavor. Trust us, a small spoonful of fresh chili pepper powder goes a long way! In addition, spicy pepper powder has health benefits, from aiding with digestion to maintaining a healthy blood pressure.
Uses for spicy pepper powder?
Cooking: Use the powder in main dishes, sides, appetizers, and even drinks/cocktails. Great way to add heat to snacks like nuts or chips. Make the spicy powder into a rub for meats and poultry.
Gardening: Natural insecticide, 1.5 teaspoons spicy powder to 1 quart of water. Mix with 2 drops of dish detergent. Make sure to avoid spraying the mix on fruits/edible parts of the plant, but coat the rest of the plant thoroughly.
Ways to dehydrate your peppers
Sunshine/Outdoor: Drying racks or even a solar dehydrator.
Indoors: Dry peppers in an area of the house that gets the most sunlight. This process will take the most time. To dry our peppers indoors we purchased these drying racks (made in Italy!). The racks work well from our experience and they are also well made.
Hang dry: Tie your peppers up to dry in a well ventilated area.
Dehydrator: Find a dehydrator that will work for you, cost and time. Dehydrating peppers can take many hours depending on the thickness of the pepper's skin.
Oven: Low setting for a few hours to dry peppers.
Dehydrating peppers using an oven is our preferred choice, it takes less time than a dehydrator. The only downside would be accidentally burning your peppers if you leave them in the oven too long. Use a low setting (130°f-180°f) and prop the door open a few inches to allow moisture to escape (we use a wooden spoon). If your oven has a convection setting there is no need to keep the door ajar.
When prepping the peppers don't forget to wear gloves and do not touch your face. Make the spicy powder in a well ventilated area, fresh pepper fumes can be irritating. Remove stems and cut into desired sized pieces, the smaller the pieces the faster the peppers will dehydrate. Line a tray with parchment paper and evenly spread the peppers around. Check the peppers every 20 mins or so and move the peppers around for an even bake.
After dehydrating your chili peppers they can be stored that way for future use. Dehydrated peppers can be re-hydrated to make hot sauce, or for cooking like you would do with fresh peppers.
To turn your dehydrated peppers into powder you can either crush them by hand (fold the parchment paper over the peppers and smash) or use a spice grinder. We learned using a 4-bladed spice grinder makes a nice fine grind.
Store the spicy powder in an air-tight container. The shelf life is around 2-3 years. Fresh spicy powder also makes great gifts for friends and family!
Grow the peppers you see in this article! Great plants, yield tasty spicy peppers!