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.

2 comments:

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!
Sophia,
http://whatyourmommadidntknow.blogspot.com/