When I brought in my meager pepper harvest, I wondered what I could do with such a sad collection. Genie suggested dehydrating and grinding them. That sounded easier than pickling, so I gave it a shot. I’m glad I did.
Slice the peppers into strips and remove the pulp and seeds. Lay the slices of pepper in your dehydrator without crowding. If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can put the peppers on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper in a 200° oven. Leave it for 8-10 hours, until most of the peppers are brittle and crumble when you squeeze them.
When they’re ready, dump everything into a large bowl. You’ll see a variety of colors, from green to red to black. They’re all good.
Go through and pick out any pieces that are still flexible. They should crumble when you press them between your fingers.
Take out the soft ones and put them back in the dehydrator. The rest, break them up and put them in a mortar and pestle. First, crush the pieces into flakes.
Then, using a circular motion, grind the flakes into powder.
Most of the pepper was ground down at this point. But despite over 12 hours in the dehydrator, there were still some pieces with too much moisture left in them to grind.
First let’s sift out the finished powder. Because I’m cheap, I recycled the container from the chipotle powder I used in my chili. Put it in the bottom of a large bowl with the sieve in it.
Pour the ground pepper into the sieve and tap the edge until nothing else is coming through.
The remaining pieces that are too large to go through the sieve won’t grind because they aren’t completely dried out. Pour it all into a dry pan over high heat.
Shake the pan constantly until the powder gets darker and starts to smoke.
If you’ve never toasted spices, like you would when making a curry, take a whiff of it. The toasting really brings out the aroma.
Grind the toasted pepper, and that’s it.
In the next couple of days I’m going to be using this powder in my take on the signature dish of a local Italian restaurant. Sign up below to make sure you don’t miss it.
Want more like this? For more recipes like this, that you can hold right in your hands, and write on, take notes, tear pages out if you want (Gosh, you're tough on books, aren't you?) you might be interested in How To Cook Like Your Grandmother, 2nd edition, Illustrated. Or to learn your way around the kitchen, check out Starting From Scratch: The Owner's Manual for Your Kitchen.