Thursday, September 3, 2009

Hot & Spicy!

As much as I LOVE pickled jalapenos (escabeche), my favorite way to preserve chiles is to dry them. Crushed dried red chiles are super versatile: They can spice up Indian food, salsas, pickles, nearly anything. And if you dry enough of them, they'll last all year!

I picked up 2 bags of chiles at the farmer's market last weekend for about $7. Here's how to dry them as ristas:

  • Rinse your chiles before doing anything- you won't be able to wash them after they are dry.
  • Pat the chiles dry of surface moisture.
  • Get a sewing needle and strong thread- I like carpet thread.
  • Draw the needle and thread through the thick part of the stem on one chile- Then tie a knot so that the thread will stay securely in place- this is the bottom of your ristra.
  • Continue to send your needle through the thickest part of the stem on your chiles, allowing them to stack up the thread.
  • Continue until all chiles are strung. I like to end the ristra by tying the thread to a paper clip.
  • Hook the paper clip to a curtain rod on a sunny window or another warm place with great ventilation.
  • Let the chiles dry until crisp- then place in an air tight container.
  • Check the chiles during the first 12 hours of storage- if any moisture appears inside the container, then the chiles aren't dry yet and you need to set them out in the air or an oven on the lowest temperature.


The Voracious Vegan said...

This is so clever! Thank you for the how to guide, I will have to give this a try.

Sophia.Pflieger said...

that is a creative and and space efficient way to dry your chilies!