Homemade cayenne pepper and hot pepper flakes are wicked! They’re vibrant, spicy and easy to make – although a little bit of caution is necessary.
I love growing and harvesting hot peppers in the garden. They’re so beautiful and super tasty!
I like using our cayenne peppers to make homemade cayenne pepper and pepper flakes. It starts with drying the peppers. Here’s how.
How to Dry Hot Peppers
- Sort through and remove any blemished hot peppers. You can dry green or red peppers. Do not remove green stem ends – you’re going to need those!
- Wash and pat peppers dry to remove as much surface moisture as possible.
- To prevent any risk of mold, it’s best to cut a slit lengthwise down each pepper. This allows air to circulate into the inside of the pepper. If you are hanging your peppers in a super dry (desert like) environment and the peppers are relatively slender, you can get away without doing this step. But I’ve learned to err on the side of caution and always slice my peppers now. It doesn’t have to be fancy or precise – just create an opening to let in some air.
- Using a regular sewing needle and a thick thread or fishing line. Thread the needle with a long piece of thread. Poke the needle through the top of the pepper through the thick part where the green stem covers the pepper (it will hold best in the thick part). Repeat for each pepper. Make several shorter strings to make it easier to manage.
- Hang in a dry, dust free space for 2-3 weeks. Exact time will vary based on humidity levels in the air. If you have beautiful hot, sunny weather, you can hang your string outside.
- If you have a lot of space and hot dry weather for an extended period, you can also lay your peppers on screens in the sun.
- When your peppers are dry and brittle you can take them off the string and store them in an airtight bag or container until ready to use.
- As long as they are stored in a dry, dark space, dried peppers will last for years.
How to Make Homemade Cayenne Pepper & Pepper Flakes
And now for the easy part! Get your spice grinder or coffee grinder and make homemade cayenne pepper and pepper flakes in 10 minutes or less!
WARNING: During this process fine cayenne pepper powder will be in the air – be prepared to sneeze! When you open the lid of the grinder, keep your eyes averted until the dust settles.
Homemade Hot Pepper Flakes
Place dried peppers into grinder.
Grind peppers a little at a time until you reach the desired consistency. Just a couple of short pulses is all you need.
Hot Pepper Powder
A few more pulses will give you a much finer powder – cayenne pepper.
Storing Cayenne Pepper and Pepper Flakes
Transfer your pepper and pepper flakes into your spice jars and keep with your other herbs and spices in a dry, dark cupboard, preferably away from the heat of your oven.
Use a funnel to reduce spills.
Label and enjoy in your favorite recipes. But be warned, we find our homemade cayenne powder is much spicier than store bought powder – use small amounts, taste and adjust accordingly.
Can You Use Different Hot Peppers?
Absolutely! You can use any thoroughly dried hot pepper you want to make your pepper and pepper flakes. The flavor will be slightly different, but you’ll get a nice spicy kick depending on the heat of your peppers.
Do you have a favorite hot pepper? Have you ever dried them and turned them into pepper or pepper flakes? Let me know your favorites either down below or on Instagram @getgettys or Facebook @GettyStewart.HomeEconomist.
Getty Stewart is a Professional Home Economist, speaker, frequent media guest and writer dedicated to putting good food on tables and agendas. She is the author of several recipe books on enjoying and preserving fruit, Founder of Fruit Share, a mom and veggie gardener.
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