Friday, November 6, 2009

Do-It-Yourself Chili Powder


When life hands you chilies ... make chili powder! Or at least that's what I did.

Recently, the husband's brother gifted him with a bunch of really, really hot chili peppers. They had been in the freezer since being harvested in late September and some of them were a little worse for wear. Not wanting them to go to waste, I decided that the best course of action would be to dry them in the oven and grind them into chili powder. Here's how I did it:

Step One: Wash and dry the peppers. Remove the stems and slit the peppers, lengthwise down the middle and pry open. If your chili peppers are very hot, wear rubber gloves during this process so the oils will not burn your fingers. Remove seeds, if desired, though I didn't bother. Once the peppers have dried, you can knock out most of the seeds before processing.

Step Two: Lay the peppers on a large, walled cookie sheet in a single layer and place them in middle of a pre-heated 175 F degree oven. (There are varying schools of thought on oven temperature, with some directions indicating a temp as low as 150 F degrees ... though my oven will not go that low. I set mine for 175 F and it worked out just fine.) Allow the peppers to dry in the oven for approximately 5 to 8 hours, or until they are completely dried and crisp to the touch, turning them over once or twice during the process.

Most of my peppers were completely dried at the 5 hour mark, likely because they had spent some time in the freezer. If drying very fresh peppers, you will likely need the full 8 hours or perhaps a bit more. Once finished, they should look a little something like this:

Step Three: Gently shake peppers to remove as many of the dried seeds as possible. Discard the seeds. Again, if you're sensitive, wear gloves during this process to protect your skin. Being the impatient sort of Diva that I am, I didn't bother to remove every seed. Hence, my final product looks a bit more like crushed red pepper flakes, rather than a pure powder. I'm ok with that, you can do as you see fit.

Step Four: Place the dried peppers into the bowl of a small food processor and pulse/process until finely ground. Alternately, you could use a mortar and pestle if you do not have a small food processor. Warning, be careful to keep your face away from the food processor when opening as the peppers will give off a very strong, sharp, hot scent. It made me sneeze ... a lot!

Your final product will look a little something like this:

Step Five: Transfer the ground mixture to a small, sealed jar and reserve until needed. The dried chili powder should keep indefinitely - provided that the peppers have been fully dried before grinding. Use as you see fit.

I'm well pleased with the results of my experiment. The finished powder is incredibly flavorful and, wow, its spicy! I can't wait to start cooking with it ... stay tuned for some hot stuff from the Diva next week!

So, have you ever dried and ground your own chilies? What were the results? Or, have you dried and ground any other spice or vegetable? Curious Diva wants to know.

Bon appetit!

21 comments:

Heavenly Housewife said...

Fascinating, this idea never would have occurred to me. Its also a great way to prolong the life of the chilli.

The Diva on a Diet said...

HH - it really was an experiment for me, never having done it before, but it worked out so beautifully that I'm tempted to try drying other things.

Jenn@slim-shoppin said...

What a great idea, I never would have thought of making it yourself!

My Mom had a ton of pepper plants over the summer, I really want to plant some next year. I always wait too long and the window has passed.

Great job!

The Diva on a Diet said...

Thanks, Jenn, and welcome to Beach Eats! Depending on where you live, peppers can be a challenge to grow. My bro had good luck with the poblanos this year ... but the regular green bell peppers seem to be more difficult. I think we had too much rain this summer.

These chilies were grown in a lot in NYC that the community turned into a garden. Nice! :)

Kathleen said...

This is something I've never thought to do. You are a very clever gal. The closest I've ever gotten was to grind whole dried ancho chilies before I found the powder at Penzeys.
Great post.

Janet said...

This is so cool - I never would have thought to do it!

Laura said...

Never made my own but now am sorely tempted. Damn Diva you rock! Wish you were here with us at FoodBuzz! Miss your snark and wit :) Janet and I were lamenting your not being here.

Daily Spud said...

Have never tried to dry chilis or make my own powder. In fact, I'd say that I have limited experience with the range of chili peppers that are out there - they generally just come in 2 varieties here - red & green!

sangeeta said...

first time here n loved your post about drying n grinding your own chillies...
i do it with many spices at least grinding them to make my own spice mixes and powders....if not starting from raw fresh spices..
sometimes i grind the chillies along with some stalks to get a super hot chilly powder..

Daniel said...

Diva, this is a brilliant idea, thank you for sharing it! I'm sure your method is not only much cheaper than buying the spices in the store, but it's probably much better in quality too. Exceptional.

Dan
Casual Kitchen

doggybloggy said...

great job! you know I eat tons of chile.

Catherine said...

This is an excellent idea! I will definately be trying this...want to exchange links? Thanks. Happy Blogging! :)

Deb said...

Great idea but not sure I would be doing it - don't really have access to a variety of fresh chili's other than grocery store which aren't so fresh.

You are a clever little Diva!

Fresh Local and Best said...

This is such a helpful post! I love making everything from scratch and this post lays out in very good detail not only how to make my own chili powder but customize it to my own mix! Yay!

5 Star Foodie said...

This is excellent! I've made chili powder from already dried chilies but never dried chilies myself, very neat!

WizzyTheStick said...

It's funny how sometimes a thing can be so simple to do yet we never think of it. Pepper sauces are very popular in the Caribbean it's a wonder that we don't think to do this.

The Diva on a Diet said...

Wow, I'm simply delighted at the positive response to this post. Thank you all SO much for your kind, encouraging comments. I can't tell you how much they mean to me. :)

Welcome to all the new commentators, I'll look forward to visiting you on your own blogs as well. :)

Lastly, drying the chilies was so easy and fun, I encourage you all to try it. If your peppers are very fresh, I'd recommend cutting them all the way in half and laying them cut side up on the cookie sheet. In fact, I'll probably amend my instructions to say so.

Charmian @ Christie's Corner said...

I thought you'd need a dehydrator for this but yours look perfect. Good to know an oven on 175 works.

Now I'm tempted to grow myself some hot chilis next year!

Argentum Vulgaris said...

I just leave my chilies on the window sill, it works just fine. The add them ground or whole as the task demands.

AV

cookeaze said...

This is gorgeous and You did an amazing job.Can’t wait to try these out. Thanks!

Tangled Noodle said...

This is great! I would love to try doing this but our chile yield (only jalapeƱos) was rather miniscule this past summer. However, you've given me incentive to buy some of the great peppers from one particular vendor at the farmers' market next season! Now I can't wait . . .