|Oven drying hot peppers to make your own chili flakes|
|Written by Launie Kettler|
|Tuesday, 22 March 2011 18:17|
We have all seen the ubiquitous little shakers of red chili pepper flakes in pizza places. But I like to make my own dried chilis because they are cheaper - 37 cents vs. $3.50 for a jar in the grocery store. They're also prettier.
With beauty comes pain, though, so make sure you wear rubber gloves, because just the tiniest paper cut on your hand can make you want to cry if you get jalapeno juice in it. (Trust me on this one.)
But first, set your oven to its lowest setting, preferably 160 degrees. Ours only goes down to 200 degrees - which has worked fine - but a lower temperature means less of a chance of jalapeno gas filling your oven and then your kitchen when you open the oven door. You probably want to have a window open when you dry your chilis at any rate, just to be on the safe side.
Then slice your peppers as uniformly as possible (which can be difficult while wearing rubber gloves, but try anyway). For this batch I used 2 jalapenos and 2 milder cherry peppers. I like the mix of mild and hot dried chilies in sauteed greens, in chili, a stir fry, and of course on pizza.
You don't need to grease the pan or season the peppers, you just want the peppers to dry down to their best essence. And they need to be in the oven for at least 5 hours before they will crumble between your fingers. They aren't done if they are pliable at all, so make sure they really disintegrate when you test them.
When they are done let them cool, and then store them in a storage bag or in a jar. I've kept the dried chilis for as long as one year in our spice drawer - but we can go through a small batch in a couple of months, because I use them on (and in) so many things.
(Photos by Launie Kettler)