We had an absolute bumper crop of chilli peppers this year! We’ve eaten, given, and frozen oodles, yet I still had a glut of chillies on the plants. They needed to be harvested as the parent plants were fading fast. I didn’t want to freeze more since we’re space limited and I didn’t have enough to merit the effort of proper pickling. Of course, I didn’t want to waste them either. My solution? Homemade dehydrated chilli seasoning flakes! So easy, so delicious!
Peppers, Peppers, and More Peppers!
I used all of the various mixed hot peppers left hanging around on my plants to make my seasoning. A few were red, but most were green. If you’re growing adventurous varieties of crazy hot chillies, you might want to be a little more selective on your seasoning mix to moderate the heat factor to suit your tastes.
Dehydrating Chilli Peppers
To Roast or Not to Roast?
If you’d like to grell or roast your chillies before dehydrating, go for it. You’ll get a smokier flavour vs. the fresh chilli hit of dehydrating au natural.
Dehydrating Fresh Chillies
Harvest the chillies, wash well, and leave them to dry (optional, but helpful when dehydrating). Remove the stems and split lengthwise (to accelerate drying). You can cut them smaller if needed. For even drying, try to keep the pieces a similar size and thickness.
Spread them on your dehydrator tray(s) and pop them in a dehydrator on the fruit and veggie setting. If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can use your oven at low temperature for a similar effect. Fan-forced works best for extra airflow when dehydrating, if that option is available on your oven.
Dehydrate the chillies until they are completely dry.
Once thoroughly dehydrated, the peppers can be stored as-is or processed into a ready-use seasoning, like ours. They can also be ground for use in a blend of other dried vegetables and herbs to make all sorts of ready-use bases for cooking. Homemade chilli seasoning making details are below.
Making Homemade Chilli Seasoning Flakes
Processing Dried Chillies into Flakes or Powder
Once fully dried, pop them into a food processor (or blender/grinder). Process until you have the desired coarseness. Transfer into a jar for storage (a large mouth funnel is a handy helper). Use to add as little or as much heat as you wish to your dishes.
Remember, don’t touch your face at any time whilst handling the chillies or chilli flakes. And don’t inhale when you pop the top on that food processor…aieee!
Adding Additional Flavours
If you are feeling particularly cheeky, you can mix in salt, garlic, or other goodies to create your own special spice blend. Perfect for homemade gifts! I added some coarsely ground salt to mine and we’re loving it. Plus, salt is a natural preservative. Although thoroughly dried veggies are shelf stable for some time, I like the extra reassurance.
If you’re making chilli powder as a powdered spice, be aware that the flavour you may be used to buying in store is most likely a spice blend, not just finely ground chillies. Blends depend on culinary region and personal preferences, but they often include garlic powder, onion powder, ground cumin, paprika, and other ground dried herbs or spices.
A Footnote on Dehydrators (So Handy!)
Basic food dehydrators are inexpensive, versatile, and more energy efficient than using your oven. If you are keen to dehydrate often, they’re a very handy home kitchen appliance. Check out your local retailers or browse online.
I never expected to use mine so much when we first bought it, but it gets a workout. It runs wonderfully despite being “just a cheapie”. I use it for drying flowers, herbs, foods, and it’s AWESOME for making healthy homemade dog treats. If/when I wear it out, I will definitely invest in a high quality new model now that I know how much use it will get.