Online I purchased a large
chile ristra from a vendor in Hatch, NM. I had it
sprayed so it would be ornamental and not to be
consumed. It has hung in my kitchen and I love it.
When I dust it seeds fall from it and I worry about my
grandkids finding a stray one. Do you know the best
way to wash or clean this beautiful ristra? Thank you.
We have covered
cleaning ristras below. If you can't hold the ristra over
a sink, perhaps before you begin cleaning it you could
spread out some newspaper or a torn-open paper bag to
catch any seeds that might fall.
I was given a box of red chili
pods and was wondering
why the pods
look so dark red, almost black? Are the pods ok
to use or are they old and not healthy to use? I am
not used to these for I have always liked using the
red-Orange pods. After blending, the chili comes out a
pretty red color. Is there any possible way to get
these nearly black pods back to the normal red pod? PC
There are so many
different types of chiles. You have likely been given
a variety with which you are not familiar, but that
doesn't mean they are bad. A fresh dried chile will be
somewhat pliable. Chiles don't really go bad unless
there is mold present, indicating a poor drying
All chili flake I gain consist
Plate Count (bacteria). How it can be ? Chili
flake is made from drying process, what kind of
bacteria can live in it ? THX, BR
It could be the very
drying process that introduces bacteria if it is done
in the open air rather than an oven-type dryer.
Bacteria could also be introduced after drying through
human handling or the cutting and packaging equipment.
I'm no expert on the subject of contamination but I
did come across an article on the
Medical News Today website entitled "Bacterial
Contamination of Herbs and Spices in Spain."
Here's a quote: "The studies detected the presence of
bacteria from the genuses Acinetobacter (A.
calcoaceticus), Enterobacter and Shigella. Species of
microorganisms such as Yersinia intermedia,
Staphylococcus aureus and Hafni alvei were also
found." Many of the spice producing countries like
India and Viet Nam are currently working to introduce
better sanitation processes.
Hi, Just found this site, which is
a good one. We live in Canada and in my last trip to New
Mexico found a great store where I bought all kinds of
dried peppers, even though I didn't - and still don't -
have a clue what to do with them. One is a bag of dried
green chilies - bag just says "whole
new Mexico dried green chile". They are not
ground, just dried - flattened and dried. I can't seem
to find a decent recipe for using them. Every recipe I
find calls for fresh green chilies. Can I substitute one
dried for one fresh that's called for in the recipe? And
how long do they last? Seems to me I've had them for a
couple of years. Thanks SQ
Dried green chiles are
somewhat unusual as most dried chiles I've seen are red.
You won't get the best results by substituting them for
fresh, however, you could use them instead of dried red
chiles called for in recipes. These are often charred in
a dry skillet and then crumbled or soaked in small
amount of water to soften before pureeing. Dried chiles
are best at under a year old when they are still
Hi there, I recently harvested
and dried on jute string in a sunny window my
Thai red chillies. When I went to bag them up I realized some of
them were going pale brown to black in some cases, but
still dry. Are they still good to use or
am I throwing half my crop out? Thanks K.
While some chiles do come
very dark when dried, I did a Google image search of
"dried Thai red chiles" and it seems that they remain a
bright red. You know what I would do? Take some of them
to a Thai restaurant and ask the chef what he thinks.
habenero sauce can be
substituted for the actual peppers in a raspberry/habenero
jam recipe that also calls for green sweet and red sweet
peppers and fresh raspberries. Thanks SH
I am hang
drying my first ever
harvest of jalapeno peppers, hanging them both
outside and also in a window. The first batch of 6 had
one that looked like it
had lost a section of the green and turned kind of cream
color on that strip,
but it seems to be drying ok. The 2nd batch of 6 that I
just started a week ago
are all losing the green and turning this weird cream
color instead of red. Any
idea what is causing this and will the peppers still dry
ok? Thanks CW
This doesn't seem right to
me at all. Once picked, green peppers won't turn red
because this is part of the ripening process, but I
don't think they should be turning this color that you
describe either. Makes me wonder if it is some sort of
deterioration because the peppers aren't drying quickly
enough. You might want to see if you can find a
food-preservation expert, check with your local
extension office, to find out more.
First, nice web site! Glad I
found it. Can you help me with a
canning recipe for
Jalapeno pepper slices (and other peppers of that type)
that give the peppers a sweet taste? I purchased a jar
recently made by the Amish and I love the sweet taste
they have along with the "heat". Thank for your help! LH
I did a search for Amish
sweet pepper pickles and came up with
this recipe for Pickled Sweet Peppers. I have not
prepared it so I can't vouch for the flavor but it
sounds similar to what you're seeking. You might also
check your library for Amish cookbooks. They would
probably have a wide variety of recipes for something
I have a jalapeno plant that has
been doing great but today I noticed a
white hair like
growth (about one inch long) growing on the back side of
the leaves. What could this be and is it safe to eat the
jalapenos? Please help! SR
Yikes, sounds very odd and
I'm guessing fungal. Better take a sample to an expert
in your area, like Master Gardeners or a professional
nursery, just to be sure the peppers are safe.
Can you tell me what pepper I
can use if I cannot find Habanero Peppers. I am trying
to make Jerk Chicken and have not been able to find the
3 Habaneros I need. Thank you. LS
You would probably have
good luck in finding serrano chile peppers, as most
supermarkets seem to carry them. They aren't nearly as
hot as Habaneros, however, so you might want to use more
Can you tell me what the yield
would be from 1 pound small
fresh chilies to dehydrated? Thank you! NA
I couldn't come up with an
exact answer especially since each vegetable gives a
different yield. Cornell University does tell us that 25
pounds of fresh veggies will result in 3 to 6 pounds
dried. I'll let you do the math.
The cookbook is now available
for purchase! To find out more about it as well as take advantage
of special website pricing ($8 off--use discount code U9KGY74Z)
Spiced Right e-store at CreateSpace.
Hiya, I was bumbling about on
the web looking for ways to preserve my habaneros, I've
had a huge yield, and thought I'd share another way to
preserve them that hadn't really been mentioned (unless
I missed it :)). Use a dehydrator to
Mary Bell has written a fabulous book on dehydrating all
sorts of foods and includes recipes for your bounty. I
highly recommend "Mary Bell's Complete Dehydrator Cookbook"
for anyone interested in the art of preparing
and using dried foods - to include trail mixes, crushed
herbs and vegetables for soup mixes, potpourri, jerky,
fruit leathers and more. BTW, you don't necessarily need
a dehydrator. The oven or toaster oven works just fine
on low temperatures. In the past I've dehydrated bell
peppers, wrapped them tightly in saran wrap and frozen
them for up to a year. Not so good for eating like
fresh, but just fine for cooking.
On another note, Penzey's spices has a nice page in
every free catalog (available by mail or online at
Penzeys.com) describing various chilis; their taste
qualities as well as the Scoville unit ratings.
Believe it or not, I'm not trying to sell anything. Just
found some really good products/info worth sharing. I
have nothing to financially gain. Respectfully, if warmly, submitted,
Thanks for sharing your
ideas. Dehydrating is a great way to preserve chiles
that I hadn't thought about seriously. You're right
about Penzey's, too. Their catalog is as informative as
their products are high-quality.
I have a recipe that calls for
a red pepper pod. May I substitute ground or flaked red
pepper? If so, how much. Thank you. JH
This is a little tricky
because you would usually remove the red pepper pod
before serving. Certainly you could substitute ground or
flaked, but I would start with just a couple of pinches
and maybe pass more at the table if people want the dish
to be spicier.
Hi, I was scraping seeds out of
large jalapeŮos (thankfully, from what Iíve been
reading, I was wearing rubber gloves) when I started
coughing and felt like was having an anaphylactic
reaction to them. Had to run outside to catch my breath.
Does this mean Iím allergic to them or is this a typical
reaction? Thanks, KB
Most sources that recommend
wearing gloves when handling chiles will also say to
avoid inhaling the fumes. As you found out, they can be
A local Thai
restaurant serves toasted, very smokey dried crushed
with its other table condiments - the first I've seen of
this. You just sprinkle on your food - adds heat and
great flavor. They are almost black, but you can see
they were red to begin with. The taste/odor is again,
very smokey, not just like any crushed dried chili
pepper. We cannot communicate well enough with the
serving staff to figure out how they do it. The Thai
chilis I have found (in San Francisco) are all fresh.
Only Asian whole dried chilis I have found are Japanese,
although I did find a Thai store that sells dried,
already crushed Thai chilis - crushed, not whole. I
toasted them (almost killed myself inhaling the fumes -
is that dangerous, by the way??) but they do not taste
the same, they don't have that wonderful smoke aroma.
The restaurant actually showed us a whole one, already
toasted and black, but it wasn't all crushed up yet, so
they obviously buy them whole and crush and toast them
themselves. They told me they sell them at a particular
store in SF, but I couldn't find them. Any help at all
on this? Thanks very much! MA
I wonder if they might be
chipotle chiles? Chipotles are smoked jalapenos. (See
the article Smokin' Chipotles) You can get them
dried, whole or ground, or in a delicious adobo sauce.
They are Mexican rather than Thai but chiles have a
tendency to travel. We do need to be careful when
handling chiles, as you discovered, this is the same
thing that is used to produce pepper spray.
I was at a Mexican grocery store,
and asked for cayenne peppers. They didn't have any idea
what I was talking about! They had shelves and large
tables heaped full of peppers --- chili this and chili
that. Some looked suspiciously like cayenne, but neither
they nor I had any idea if something labeled "chili
whatever" was in fact the "cayenne" pepper with which I
am familiar. It looks to me like "chili" is simply the
Mexican word for "pepper." My question is: What is the
Mexican name for "cayenne" peppers? Thank you, JG
Chile peppers get
complicated in any language because there are so many
different types and local nicknames. From what I can
determine Pimienta de Cayena is Spanish for cayenne
I purchased a Red chili Ristra
several yrs ago..and have kept it in my house
..hanging...HOW long will this ristra last for edible
purposes? Do they go bad? Lose flavor over the yrs? Does
it get to a point where it may be too old and should not
be processed for eating any longer? thank you so much,
Seems to me a couple of
years or so would be a good limit but I can't come up
with a good reason why. It is a dried product so if that
process was done right, the only worry would be is if
they still taste good. You might want to simply try one
of the chiles to see if it has any flavor.
I am looking for a poster of
the Scoville heat unit of peppers. This for cooking
reference to be posted in a kitchen. Thanks. RM
It is a good idea, but
apparently one does not exist. The gang over at
Wikipedia have put together a good
list of Scoville ratings that you could print to
keep handy in the kitchen.
Please can you tell me what do
I use to reduce the chilli heat in a dish? Thanks in
You could try adding
something bland like potatoes or rice, even some roasted
tomatillos. You might cool it off a bit by adding cream.
However, this could all be a lost cause because chiles
have a tendency to continue to increase in heat as they
sit and permeate a dish.
We grew jalapenos and chili
peppers this year for the first time. I read on your
site an easy way to freeze them for storage. But what I
would like to know is how long we can just keep them in
the frig before freezing them?
You could probably keep them
in a plastic bag for a couple of weeks in the
refrigerator. If you intend to freeze them, however, it
would be better to do it right away for higher quality.
Hi. I like your website. I have
3 cans of Red Roasted Peppers. I bought them in 2007.
Could I still eat them? TZ
They are getting rather old.
If they don't have an expiration date on the can, you
could call the company to see how long they should last.
I grew a pimento plant for the
first time. The pimentos turned out beautiful, very deep
red. What I was hoping for was a way to make pimento
cheese using my own pimentos instead of from a
store-bought jar. I tried slicing one and placing it in
a jar with some water, vinegar, and a dash of lemon
juice. I set it in the refrigerator for a week. But the
results were still very hard, crunchy bites, and didn't
taste like pimentos. Can you point me to a recipe to
create my own jarred sliced pimentos
for use with sandwiches and dips? Thank you very much.
Congratulations on your
success! You will probably enjoy your pimentos more if
you roast them. Roasted chiles only last about five days
in the refrigerator, however, so you may want to look
into canning them. I couldn't find a good source to
refer you. If your pimento cheese doesn't use
mayonnaise, you could make a big batch of that for the
I was wondering, how do I
keep my jalapeno peppers firm after canning or pickling
them? They seem too soft textured when we open the jars
to eat them. Any ideas? Thank you. SM
You might want to look
into using food grade lime. The University of Georgia
came up with a recipe that is supposed to keep pickled
Find it here.
I've grown Jalapeno, Cayenne & Habanero peppers during the summer and wish to freeze
then for winter use. Can they be frozen whole and if so,
how may they be thawed to use as if they were
fresh-picked in season? For example, stuffed Jalapenos.
Thanks, CH You can freeze
peppers but the texture will be rather mushy upon
thawing so they will be more suitable for adding to
cooked dishes rather than a preparation like stuffed
peppers. I think it would be easier to stem and seed
them before freezing because of this texture issue.
I want to know how to tame the hot
of jalapeno peppers. I saw in the grocery store they had
tamed jalapenos. I love their flavor, but just a tad too
hot. I would like to can some, how would you do it? LL
I happen to have a jar of
those "tamed" jalapenos in the fridge now. I don't think
they are any milder than other varieties but maybe I'm
wrong. See below for an explanation of why some chiles are
hotter than others as well as links to recipes for
Hello, Can you tell me the
difference between roasted red peppers and pomentoes? I
make my own pomentoe cheese spread and I couldn't find
any pomentoes in the store. Can I use the roasted red
peppers instead and have the same flavor? Thank you. JD
Pimentos are the fresh
version of paprika and from what I can tell, they are
not roasted. A high quality jarred pimento probably has
a bit more flavor than a red pepper but the roasting
would make it richer so I think you would end up with
just about the same thing.
My mom and I have recently planted
a jalapeno plant in our garden. We started to notice
that on bottom side of the leaves on the stem little
white balls have appeared. They are tiny and grow in
rows along the stem of the leaf. We have scraped it off
before and it is sort of cottony. The plant looks
healthy, but we don't want some mysterious disease, or
bug to eat our growing jalapeno. We live in NV. Please
help. Thanks! ~two novice gardeners.
I have two ideas so you will
have to do a bit more research. One, these white balls
could be lady bug eggs. They grow in rows as you
describe but I'm not sure about being cottony. A cottony
insect is mealy bugs. Or it could be something else
entirely. I suggest you try to find photos of white
insects/eggs to compare to yours. You don't want to be
killing lady bugs because they are beneficial to your
Could you please give me a
recipe for a chilli paste that I can add to my cooking.
We have heaps of chillis to do this with. Thank you.
Kindest regards, BK
I almost know the answer
already but...I can't take real hot jalapenos and I love
them stuffed with cream cheese and sausage, is it just
'take a chance' sometimes I get fresh that are milder,
then the next time I can't eat them they're so hot. Is
their any way to judge the heat when buying??? I sure
wish there was. thanks Can't take the heat in OK. lol OE
How hot a chile will
be is determined by climate, growing conditions and the
degree of ripeness, not to mention the variety. One way
you might attempt to get a milder jalapeno is to look
for those that are grown in cooler climates or even
those that are cultivated in hot climates during the
Hi, my husband and I grow
chilies. If you happen to get chili in your eyes (from
rubbing your fingers mistakenly), rub your hair or
someone s hair across
your eye. The oil in hair helps neutralize the burning.
We enjoy your site. We will have a site up and running
soon. It is called nmoutdoors.com based out of Farmingon,
Isn't that unusual? I will
have to remember that trick! Best of luck with your own
site, we'll be watching for it.
I am confused about red pepper.
Some recipes call for ground red pepper...is that
cayenne pepper, paprika, ground chile pepper? CD
Can ground ancho chile powder
be used in place of red pepper seeds or flakes? M
Like I always say, it's
your food, you can do whatever you want. These two chiles have rather different flavors, though, so you
will want to consider that. Ancho chiles have a fuller,
richer taste and won't be as fiery hot as crushed red
Hello, I just started growing
cayenne peppers and a have a few growing. As soon as
they mature and turn red, it is safe to eat them as soon
as they are picked and washed, correct? Also, do they
need sunlight from sunrise to sunset? CO
Unless you have used
chemicals I can't think of any reason that your pepper
wouldn't be safe! Chiles do need a good bit of
sunlight--five to eight hours each day should be
adequate although more is usually better.
Hello! A few weeks ago I
purchased a mini chilli pepper plant. The plant is
sitting in a pot that is abut 4' in diameter. The plant
has these tiny peppers red and off white in color. The
leaves are semi slender. The plant is about 6' tall. I
bought the plant strictly for decoration. There was no
name on the plant when I purchased it. I was wandering
if you might know the name of the plant that I have and
how to take care of the plant, besides the occasionally
watering. Thanks so much have a nice day. S
Ornamental chile plants
were a news point in our December
newsletter. The NuMex
variety, which changes chile color as it grows, was
developed by Paul Bosland, professor of horticulture and
director of the Chile Pepper Institute at New Mexico
State University in Las Cruces. He says they can be
planted outside in the Spring and thrive on lots of
sunshine and not-too-much water.
I am trying to find a recipe for
canned green chile. I have eaten it before and am told
that you have to be very careful in the process or you
will get botulism. Does anyone know how to prepare it to
can for the winter. I have a few good days left to roast
another bag of green chile so the help will be greatly
appreciated. Thank you. DB
As always, I turn to
Dave's chile pages at the Fiery Foods website. He says
that canning isn't the best way to preserve chiles but
does offer a few ways to do it, if you must. Here is a
Dave's chile canning recipes.
I recently tasted some jalapeno
peppers that were jarred in olive oil with herbs,
garlic, carrots, celery and onions. There may have been
vinegar in there too. They were delicious. Do you know
of any recipes for this type of jarred peppers? Thanks.
Try doing a
with the words "jalapenos en escabeche recipe" and I
think you will find something that suits you.
Hello- I was hoping to try and
make my own Chipotles. The only jalapenos available for
sale are all green and everything I read say s to smoke
red (ripe) jalapenos. Any secrets on getting these green
ones to turn red? Thanks J.J.
The secret to red chiles
is to leave them on the plant until they mature from
green to red. Once they are picked, the ripening stops.
Check out your local farmer's market. They seem to have
a wide selection of peppers at this time of year.
I have finally harvested
successfully yellow, and red peppers (not HOT). I have
roasted some of them but now have about a half dozen
more. I've been using them out of the fridge but now
wonder about a larger quantity and their shelf life.
Roasting and prepping is a lot of work so I want to
insure not losing them. Other postings I've read on your
site suggest 9 months shelf life. Is this correct? Also,
any suggestions on drying green peppers? Could I hang
them and then crush? Or are they too large; unlike
smaller hot peppers? Loved your site and all the info.
Thank you. T
could submerge your roasted peppers in oil to keep in
the refrigerator but it's hard to say how long they will
last, maybe a month. Nine months is for commercially
prepared jars where preservatives have likely been
added. The best way I know to preserve the green bell
peppers is to chop and freeze. The texture won't be
exactly the same but I think you will find them
acceptable for cooking.
My jalapeno peppers are developing
brown streaks on them. Is this some kind of disease? Can
these peppers still be used for pickling...I usually
prepare them in vinegar and olive oil. Thank you, JS
Thanks for helping me learn
something cool. The brown streaks are called "corking."
It develops on certain types of jalapenos and is highly
desired in Mexico. The US market doesn't seem to care
I am new to the green chili
world, but love them. My husband wants to get a 20 lb
bag, roasted, peel them and freeze them. But we
currently do not have the room in our freezer. How long
will this bag keep, with or without refrigeration? Also
I want to take some to my son, but will not be going for
a month. It is now mid-August, how long should the New
Mexico green chilis be in season and sold and roasted at
the stores? Good place to go to find more information
on? I also have been told that it is not as good to get
where they are roasted by gas grills. Thank you. DMB
Roasted chiles are
essentially a cooked product so you can't expect them to
keep much longer than five days or so. The person you
buy them from can be more specific. It sounds like you
are alot closer to the chiles than I am, we never see
fresh roasted chiles at the stores in the Pacific
Northwest! Ask around locally and you will likely get
accurate information. My go-to place for all things
Dave's Pepper Pages at Fiery-Foods.com.
This question was asked many times
but never really answered: After drying our cayenne
peppers, do I grind all the pepper, only the pod, only
the seeds or what? Also, will a scented candle take care
of the odor after drying in a dehydrator? Thank you. BJ
Most recipes that call
for using whole dried chiles suggest removing the seeds
and stems before proceeding. I would do the same before
grinding your cayenne. Don't forget your mask and
gloves! As for the scented candle, I suppose it might
mask the odor but you would be better off using the
dehydrator in a well-ventilated place or even position
it under your stove vent.
I have some jalapeno pepper plants
that I am growing specifically to smoke the peppers. I
have several peppers on the plants now, but now enough
to fire up the smoker. My plants have definitely slow
down on production because of the peppers already on the
plants. Is there some way to pick the peppers and keep
them for 2-4 weeks with the hope that at that time I
will have enough additional peppers to smoke? If I
vacuum seal them and refrigerate will that help? Thanks.
Jalapenos from the
supermarket seem to keep well when stored loose in a
plastic bag in the vegetable bin. Fresh from the garden,
they should last even longer so I think you would be
able to save them up until you have enough.
I am growing red chiles for the
first time, although I have grown green chiles before.
Do the reds need to be roasted and peeled the same way
as the greens? CJO
The roasting and peeling
is a good way to get flavor from the chiles while
removing the tough skin. Mostly it depends on what you
want to do with them. Generally, if I am going to cook
with them, I don't bother but if I'm using them fresh,
it is a nice touch. It's really your call.
We love pickled jalapenos, however
they sometimes turn out too soft. What am I doing wrong?
I'm afraid you are
already a step ahead of me on the pickling knowledge
base if you have been making them at home. I'll leave
your question open to other picklers in the know.
Can you please give me three
good ways to preserve bell red chillies please? Many
You could chop them into
pieces and freeze or roast them and store in oil in the
refrigerator. I can't come up with a third way.
Can you tell me the best way to
dry jalapeno peppers so that I can crush and jar them to
sprinkle in recipes the same as dried red peppers? I
have seen a jar of dried jalapeno peppers that cost $5
and would rather just dry my own if possible. Thank you!
I am growing green pimentos, but
would like to know the best way to use them in cooking
and also if I can freeze them? IT
You can use them like any
bell pepper. To freeze them, just chop and freeze in a
single layer. Once frozen, you can bag them up.
Hi: Can you please let me know
the difference between Red Chilli and Cayenne Pepper? Do
they have the same medicinal properties? With Best
Red chile is a generic
term while cayenne is a specific type of chile that is
hotter than most. Have you seen the article "All
About Cayenne?" Since I'm a cook and not an
herbalist I can't address the medicinal properties part
of your question.
Hello: Could you please tell
me, if a recipe calls for 5 whole dried chiles, and all
I have is ground chiles, how much of the ground chiles
should I use? These peppers are being used for a chile
sauce. Thank you, MK
Whole chiles vary in
size, of course, but I think it would be safe to use
about 3/4 teaspoon to equal one. Bear in mind that
unless the recipe says to grind the whole chiles you may
end up with a very different result by using the ground
After cayenne pepper is dried do I crush the whole thing and use or what do I do? PK
How do I make crushed red pepper? I know to dry them and that the seed is used, but do I use the "skin" also? How long should I hang the peppers to know that they are dry enough to make the crushed peppers? BB
These two questions are similar so I group them together. Although I have never prepared my own crushed red pepper, I would guess that it would be very difficult to remove the skin from the peppers after they are dried. How long to dry the peppers will depend
largely on your location. It will be a matter of checking them at intervals to see if they feel at all moist. Both of you should be careful to use gloves when handling the chiles and work in a well-ventilated place. Go to great lengths to avoid inhaling the dust as you crush or grind.
Hello, I grew some habanero peppers this year and have quite a few. What is the best way to store or dry out these peppers? I prefer drying them. thanks DT
Here is the answer from Fiery-Foods.com: "Over the years, many people have asked us how to preserve the habanero crop. The simplest method is to wash and dry the pods and place them in a plastic bag in the freezer. They will lose some of their firmness when defrosted, but the flavor, heat, and aroma are all preserved. Habaneros can also be pureed
with a little vinegar and the mixture will keep in the refrigerator for weeks. "Another common preservation method is drying the pods. They should be cut in half vertically, seeds removed, and placed in a food dehydrator. After they are thoroughly dried, they can be stored in jars, stored in plastic bags in the freezer, or ground into powders (be sure to wear a dust mask!). Drying does not affect the heat level of the pods, but pods that are rehydrated will lose some flavor and aroma. "Remember, sauces and salsas are a great way to utilize excess habaneros from the garden!"
First, I love your site! My son is growing a cayenne pepper plant and wants to try cooking with FRESH cayenne in recipes. How is this done, especially compared to the dry
measures in recipes?
One source I found suggests one pepper is equal to 1/8 teaspoon of the dried powder. This seems like a lot of fresh, hot chile to me but I've never tried it. You'll probably have to experiment a bit.
What is the difference between pimento and roasted red pepper? Can they be used interchangeably in a recipe? Thank you. LSE
The pimento pepper is a red pepper with a thicker, sweeter flesh than the red bell pepper that is most often roasted. The pimento is the one that is dried and ground into paprika. I think in most cases, one could be used for the other.
Just found your website. I have enjoyed reading every one's questions and I have learned a lot myself. I grow jalapeno peppers because I love to make cheddar peppers. My question is what can you do if your cayenne peppers have been picked too early? Can you still use them. I always thought that if they are
green that just meant they were not as hot as the red ones. My husband wants me to make salsa with a kick to it and I like it milder. So I was thinking of using some cayenne pepper this year. TS
Your peppers should still be okay to eat, but unlike tomatoes, they won't continue to ripen once removed from the plant. I found a good discussion on the subject of harvesting cayenne peppers at the Garden Web forums.
We plant several
jalapeno plants every year primarily so I (the only one in the family) can eat them raw. They are easy to grow and we have had no problems until this year. Our jalapenos have pale very light green splotches on them. Sometimes they are in rows top to bottom, and sometimes in random locations. There is no evidence of any kind of bug, and the taste and texture seems to be unaffected. They just don't have that rich deep green color all over. Local nurseries have no clue what is causing this phenomena. Can you help? GW, Arlington TX
Since the local nurseries weren't sure and they have seen the problem, I hesitate to diagnose sight unseen. However, you might consider the nutrient content of your soil. The Bountiful Container book reports that peppers like a
fertilizer that is high in phosphorous. Just be sure not to overdo it with nitrogen or you will end up with lush foliage and few fruits.
Hello, I absolutely love small hot red chilis and I have a bush that is covered in them. My question is I want to preserve them in oil. How do I go about? What oil is best? Please note I do not want to cook them first if I can get away with it. I look forward to your answer. With Thanks. DEB, Russell Island, Australia
Preserving in oil is probably not a good way to keep your chiles for long term storage. Even in the refrigerator, the oil can develop a nasty case of botulism after a few days. You might have better success in drying the chiles, perhaps in a ristra. My best source for all
things chile is Fiery-Foods.com.
Each year I buy a red chili ristra and each year I process it into powder before buying another. What I want to know is how you clean it before processing? It gets pretty grimy in a year's time. For the first time, I actually washed and rinsed mine, a big mistake. I've spent hours trying to dry it out because there is no way you can render a wet chili into a dry powder. BM
Finding an answer to this proved to be more difficult than I expected. Nothing seems to be
written on the subject of cleaning ristras. Since we know washing does not work I can list a few general cleaning ideas that I came across as I searched for the answer. Avoid build-up by periodically blowing the dust off with a hair dryer on the lowest setting or a keyboard dust blaster. If the chiles are smooth you could wipe them regularly with one of those new dirt-trapping dust cloths. If the chiles are wrinkly, think of a soft paintbrush.
I read an article that recommended I puree and freeze my leftover chipotle in adobo. Now that I have done this, I have forgotten the equivalency. If a recipe calls for 1 chipotle, how
much of my pureed mixture should I use? Thanks.
I use the 1 teaspoon paste equals one canned chipotle, in general, but sometimes I find I need a little more.
I am new to this site--I love it. I would like to
know what the difference is between Cayenne Pepper and Crushed Red Pepper? Hot but are the flavors different? Thank you so much. B
Welcome to the site! Cayenne pepper is derived from a single particular hot chile while crushed red pepper is an amalgamation of several different chiles. Cayenne is usually hotter.
Even in cold, wet Scotland, it's easy to grow all kinds of peppers in an unheated greenhouse if you bring the plants in to a sunny (classroom in my case) window ledge in autumn. I found, accidentally, that sweet peppers dry very well in the same conditions. If I grind them to make my own paprika do I include all parts, including the seeds? DL
Good on you-bringing a bit of summer along for the winter!
Looks like you could go either way with the seeds. One source I checked noted that Spanish paprika is often ground only from the pod, not the seeds or membranes. Although the color and flavor is more rich, the yield is reduced along with the pungency.
We recently received a
bag of chili from some friends that has way too much cinnamon in it. Is there anything I can add to the chili to make it taste better? It is way too sweet to eat as is and we do not want to hurt anyone's feelings by throwing it out. Thanks MF
The cinnamon wouldn't necessarily make it sweet so I suspect your mix has a bit of sugar added. You might try adding less spice and more of the savory ingredients like onions, peppers and tomato.
I would like to know what the meaning is for hanging a bunch of chili peppers up for Christmas. I have noticed this quite often here lately at some of the homes around. And I don't have a clue as to why these are hanging for Christmas. In the stores you can purchase all types of chili pepper decorations. Please help, need to know before my nose falls off Thanks, D
The chile ristra has long been a symbol of abundant harvest and/or good luck but I am not aware of any meaning for it around the celebration of Christmas. My guess would be whimsy. Colorful and clever, these chile related decorations are appealing, especially to those in the Southwest where they naturally
complement the year-round decor. Chef Michael from Restaurant Edge gave us more information after this posting "Ristras during Christmas is to keep evil thoughts/words/deeds out of the household to insure that the season of worship is not interrupted by bad spirits."
kitchen unfortunately lacks a good ventilator (or any ventilator!) A few days ago, I made the mistake of not opening the windows when I sauted chopped jalapenos. Although I have thoroughly aired out the house, the fumes continue to cause my eyes to burn. What more can I do? BC
Consumer Reports' "How to Clean Practically Anything" suggests freshening the air by setting out a bowl of hot water with a few drops of household ammonia or a tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda or a few drops of lavender oil. You might also wish to contact your local county health department for ideas.
My family loves chili and historically I have purchased dried chili peppers at the store. At the market, I bought freshly picked chili peppers and do not have time to string them up for drying. Can I store the peppers in a container in the freezer and just take out what I need when making chili? Will the peppers loose their punch? Thank you. AC
Your chile peppers would retain their flavor and punch after freezing but they will not retain the firm texture. For ease in handling, it would be a good idea to seed them (if desired) and chop before freezing so that you can just add them to your recipes later.
Hi. Can you please tell me what the average monthly yields are in Kgs or Lbs of the Jalapeno and Habanera chilies? Regards JF
Check out New Mexico State University's Chile Pepper Institute website for this precise information. Just click on the "chile information" tab at their homepage.
I have a green pepper plant at home but the peppers on it are turning red. Why is this? JB
This is perfectly natural. Most green peppers will turn red when left to ripen on the plant.
I grew cayenne peppers, but don't
know what to do with them. Do I tie them together then turn upside down, or on a screen? Do I crust up the whole pepper with seeds. Thanks for your help. D
Is it possible to cut up jalapeno peppers and freeze them? JD
Certainly! The best way to freeze most fruits and vegetables is to lay them out in a single layer on a paper-covered baking sheet. After they have frozen you can collect them into a sturdy bag for storage. This method makes it easier to take out what you need without thawing the
whole package. The peppers will be a bit mushy when they thaw but are still good for cooking.
Hi, would you know where I can buy chipotle in abodo sauce in South Florida? Thanks, ttr
I find little cans of chipotle in adobo at most supermarkets in with the ethnic foods or alongside the cans of green chiles and jalapenos. Pendery's has a great product called Chipotle Chile Paste that eliminates the need for chopping or handling these potent chiles.
I made 2 pots of chili but used an East Indian chili powder called Reshampatti. I should have been more careful in selecting the chili powder. It turned out to be extremely hot. Short of pitching the whole thing is there anything I can do to tone down the heat to a "normal" level?
One thing that might work is to make one more batch without any seasoning to combine with the other two.
I received a beautiful ristra for Christmas and want to preserve it for decoration not cooking use. I already have more red chile than I can eat. How do I successfully preserve the ristra for permanent hanging? Thank you. L
You don't really need to do anything to preserve the ristra as it will dry naturally as it is. If you want to keep the nice bold colors to it, you might check with a craft shop to see if there is anything they can recommend as a sort of sealant.
I hope you can help me with a problem. I made a recipe that called for canned peppers, so I wanted to make a double batch and put 2 cans of green chiles, one diced and the other was chopped. My problem is that I have some very hot Southwestern white chili and would like to know, if possible, what I can do to tone this recipe's heat or can this dish be salvaged? I read the questions others have sent in to you and your site is very informative. Thanking you in advance. R
Sounds like one of your cans of green chiles might have been jalapenos. You might make another batch with no chiles to add to it or try adding cream to make it a sort of cream of white chili. Unfortunately, it will probably just keep getting hotter as it sits.
We are having a "Chili Cook-off" with friends this weekend and wondered if you had any ideas for how to judge the entries or how to organize the actual competition. It will be with 4-5 couples and so around 8 chili recipes. Thanks. K
This sounds like a fun party! You will probably want to decide the judging criteria beforehand, perhaps basing it on taste, creativity of ingredients or level of heat, depending on what your group likes. It might be best to have one person keep track of the entries, placing them into numbered bowls and collecting ballots. Doing the tastings blindfolded might add some fun and make the judging less biased.
I just bought a red pepper plant at Home Depot and am using it as an indoor plant. However, my wife is sensitive to airborne allergens, and I'm wondering whether it's possible to have a reaction to a plant like this. The lady at the store didn't think so, but do you know if the plant itself produces any sort of chemical that could be transmitted through the air? Thanks so much! MB
The only thing I can think of that might be a problem is when the plant produces flowers, the pollen might bother her. I am not certain about any other substances. It is probably best to check with her allergist to be sure.
I saw in a magazine regarding the meaning of where you hang dried chile peppers in your house there is a meaning. It can bless a room or fight away evil spirits, please help. RB
I learned some fun information while looking for the answer to your question but not specifically what you ask. I didn't know that ristra is the Spanish word for string. Ristras were hung near the front door of a Mexican family's home to help ensure an abundant harvest. Native Americans often used ristras to keep evil spirits away. I especially liked the idea of giving a ristra as a housewarming gift. In another article, I learned how to braid a ristra as well as more about how they are used today in the American Southwest.
Hi- love the site. 'Looking for any hints at keeping peppers crisp. I'm planning on canning them, and after processing, they get a bit mushy. Thanks in advance!
Glad you like the site. Questions like yours always make me want to learn more about canning. I wish I could help more but maybe the folks at HomeCanning.com will have your answer.
Loved your web page! I have a number of hot peppers growing in my garden. I am in Zone 7, and we have had an abundance of rain. I feel relatively sure they will not be as strong as they would have been grown in a hotter and dryer climate. However, I would like to dry some for use this winter. What is the best way to dry hot peppers? Many thanks! BH
Congratulations on your successful crop. Fiery-Foods.com has an excellent series of articles about methods for preserving your chiles. Look for other pages within the site for information on pickling peppers.
Can you recommend a spice or spices or a cooking tip that will capture the judges' attention in chili cookoffs. Sometimes the judging process takes over an hour and the chili cools changing the initial taste. LZ
I won a chili cook-off with the recipe for My Best Chili at "All About Coriander." Like many dishes, I think chili is best prepared the day ahead and then reheated, if that's possible for your contest. One way to make chili more interesting is to use more than one type of chile. Combining your own spices rather than using a commercial blend nearly always makes for better chili.
Hi: This may be a silly question, but do you make crushed red pepper flakes from dried cayenne peppers? I have a plant growing in my garden and the peppers are starting to turn red. What else can I do with the peppers? LB
Not a silly question at all. You can make crushed red pepper flakes from your dried cayenne chiles. You could use them fresh for cooking if you can take the heat. Otherwise you could grind the dried ones into a powder for cayenne pepper. Be sure to use gloves when you are handling them and be careful not to inhale the fumes as you are working with them.
I would like to have jalapeno peppers on my salad the way they appear at your local Subway. I am asking what I need to do to the raw peppers I buy at the supermarket to make them like Subway's (softer, darker, moss-green, tastier). Please help. Thank you so much, MM.
Those peppers you like so much are pickled. Look for them in jars labeled as "sliced jalapeno peppers" at the supermarket with other pickles or in the Mexican food section. I'm crazy for them on pizza!
If by chance the pepper attacks you, use plain vegetable oil and it will quickly be gone. I thought I would absolutely die once, didn't even realize while cooking that I had touched my face briefly. I thought I would die, became panicked and tried whatever seemed reasonable. My head in the sink with cold water, ice packs on my face, putting my face on the tiles of the bathroom floor. I then called my doc and he suggested the poison control center. They said put vegetable oil everywhere it hurts. Within seconds the pepper was extinguished. BM
Thanks for this valuable piece of information! I've never heard of it but will certainly remember it for that next unfortunate chile pepper incident.
My mother was threading up cayenne pepper to dry and the heat of the peppers are still on her hands any suggestions...She keeps her 93 year old mother and is causing a problem. ASAP...Thanks DB
Oh, gee, sorry to hear that. I know it's a painful condition but I've never found anything besides time and lots of handwashing to help. I wonder, though, if aloe would make a difference with the pain? As for transferring the burning onto another, gloves are the only prevention that might provide immediate relief. Might want to consult a doctor on this one. Let this be a lesson to all of us. When handling chiles, latex gloves may be cumbersome but they will protect you from the capsaicin.
I hope you don't mind, but I wanted to let you know that the proper spelling for the stuffed chilies dish you have on your site is: "Chile Relleno". The verb rellenar means to fill. Thanks! B
Don't mind a bit, thank you! That is sort of an embarrassing mistake to have throughout a website. Hopefully I have found them all!
We usually buy a medium box of jalapeno peppers because it's a little cheaper that way. Even though we use the biggest part of them, they usually start to go bad after about a week. I'm really not into canning but I was wondering if you knew of any way to use the deep freezer or even in the freezer on a refrigerator.
To freeze the peppers you could go ahead and stem, seed and chop them as you would in preparing them for a recipe. Spread the pieces out on a paper covered baking sheet and place them in the freezer. After they are frozen, transfer them to a bag or freezer container for storage. With this method you will be able to easily remove the amount you wish to thaw but you would only want to use them in cooked recipes as they will become a bit mushy, or water-logged, when they thaw. I must confess, I haven't tried this with jalapenos but I know it works with onions and bell peppers. Be sure to wear gloves if you are going to handle large quantities of chiles at one time.
How can I off set the spice of red pepper flakes when you put too much in? thank you
Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs suggestsa few different things you might try when you have overseasoned: "Strain as much of the herbs and spices as possible out of the dish. Add a peeled, whole, raw potato just before serving. If possible, add more of the bland ingredients, or make a second, unseasoned batch of the recipe and combine it with the overseasoned one. Serve the dish chilled to blunt the taste."
What are the effects of thips on a paprika plant and are the effects long term and what pesticides do you recommend?
We cover thrips on indoor plants a little bit in a question below. I can't seem to find much information about thrips in my own references but found a great resource for organic pesticides. Oddly enough, it is included in a site called tracker-outdoors that is mostly about hunting. They suggest making a nicotine tea concoction that might help with thrips.
First I have to tell you I love your website. I have a question. I have a couple chille pepper plants that gave me plenty of chille's which I used. It only lasted a few months and it stopped producing and the leaves are crimping all around the edges. I have it in the sun and water regularly. Any suggestions. Thank you - vg
Glad you are enjoying the site! My first guess is that your plants are "finished" for the season. Most chiles are annuals, meaning they go through their life-cycle in one season. The jalapeno plants in my garden produced for longer than a few months but I have noticed that they don't like to flower if I don't harvest the peppers regularly. You might inspect the plants carefully for some sort of pest or disease problem. Or you might consider trying some sort of fertilizer--my plants showed a great and immediate response to a seaweed fertilizer.
any one help me find a recipe for jalapeno jelly? NM
I have never
made this Southwestern treat but you will find a
recipe that sounds pretty good here.
LOVE Your website! I
grew Pimentos in my garden and want to preserve them
by storing them in oil. I cannot find anything.
Do you have a quick recipe and do the peppers need to
be cooked? I would think they would to get them
soft, but is it just a blanching? Thanks for your
Pimentos are beautiful peppers that not
many people grow. Good job! After checking
several sources, it seems to me you have two ways to
go. You might roast the chiles before packing
them in oil. Roasting will bring out the flavor
as well as allow you to peel them.
You could also freeze the roasted pimentos.
Blanching--boiling the peppers for a few minutes and
the plunging into ice water--would work for
softening and peeling.
might consider looking into the canning process for
preserving your peppers. As I have said before,
I hesitate to offer advice on canning because I
haven't done it and you must be very careful with the
I have some cayenne and
jalapeno peppers in my garden. Could you tell me how I would know when
to pick them? I live in Northern IL. CB
The cayenne peppers will
need to become completely red before they are ready. This spice is
always dried so when harvesting, cut the stem about a half-inch away
from the pepper and use this to hang the pepper to dry. Once
completely dry, you might want to grind them into a powder but use great
caution, these are quite potent! The jalapenos can be
picked at varying stages of ripeness. The best way to decide how
you like them is to experiment. Once they get a bit longer than an inch,
cut one off and see how it is. Then try leaving a few on until
they begin to turn red and try them that way too.
What is the pimento that is pickled and sold in jars? Some say red bell pepper, others say it is a different pepper and others say it grows on a tree. I have a pimento pepper plant and wonder if it is really red bell pepper. HELP
The pickled pimentos are actually the same chiles that paprika is ground from. You might want to read
All About Paprika to learn more.
I have added too much crushed red pepper how do
I cut the heat down?
It's difficult to go back on this little error. Depending on the recipe you have added the pepper to, you might try adding a fat like dairy products or eggs or you could add lots more liquid.