Summer is coming to a close. Yes, we hear your protest. But, it’s also time to harvest all those chili peppers in the garden.
Harvest… and then?
Figuring out what to do with all those freshly harvested chili peppers – especially when your crop far exceeds your expectations – can be a mission. But, you can try any (and all) of these ideas to make sure you don’t lose a single pepper.
10. Freeze those chili peppers. They do remarkably well in the freezer. All you need to do is wash and dry them. If you want, you can freeze them individually on small trays before bagging them, but you can also skip this step.
9. Dehydrated chilies last forever. Well, seemingly forever. But, this method does take some time. If you have a dehydrator, you’ve pretty much got all you need to get going. If you’re relying on oven heat, keep in mind that you need a fan-assisted convection oven on super low and to be near it for 10 to 12 hours.
8. Can ‘em. You might never have thought of canning anything. But, it’s definitely coming back into fashion. More than that, it’s absolute heaven when you open your pantry to reveal the hellish heat of canned chili peppers. Try it, you might like it.
7. Pickling chilies is way easier. You still get to keep them in your cupboards, but pickling chili peppers don’t require the same level of intensity. And, if you opt to use your fridge, they’ll last even longer. You’ll need vinegar, water, sugar, salt, your favorite spice mix, sliced chilies and about 10 minutes more of your time.
6. Make a salsa. In fairness, you should plan to make a lot of salsa. (Again, canning could be your friend here.) Mostly, it’s a matter of chopping whatever veggies – and the crazy number of chilies – you have on hand, squeezing over some lemon juice and adding a little salt. Then, you just need a bag of chips. Make it 5.
5. Puree those peppers. If you’ve got peppers, garlic, herbs, and oil, you’ve got everything you need to make your own thick and spicy pepper puree. These are wonderful for adding to stews and pasta, and they hold up better than you might think in the freezer. Bonus, right?
4. Make your own hot sauce. We don’t blame you for letting us handle all the hard work, but now is as good a time as any to try your hand at making your own super hot sauces. We’ve got the best tips for making hot sauces at home; hopefully, you’ve got the chilies… and gloves.
3. Jam it up. For real. Chilies make the best jam on the planet. Actually, there are a lot of unusual ingredients that make amazing jam-like bacon. Chilies and bacon? Yep, we've done it and you can too.
2. Share your harvest. You can’t possibly be the only chili head you know. Go ahead and spread the love. And if you really have a lot, take them off to a local chef. That kind of gift is always appreciated.
1. Eat them all day every day. That’s why you planted them, right? Chili peppers are great for your health and do wonders for your happiness, so you may as well keep munching away.
Don’t have any chili peppers?
When you don’t have a bumper crop of chili peppers, but you wish you did, we’re on hand to help you out.