Saturday 16 November 2013

Quick Tip: Drying Chilies

Here is a useful and economic way to get the most out of your chilies. To avoid them spoiling or going to waste, any left over chilies you have can be tied to a piece of string and left to hang in a warm, dry place in your home. In a few weeks you'll have your very own dried chilies with a shelf life that will last ages. The amount of time it will take to dry depends on the time of year and climate of where you live.

Make sure that the piece of string is hanging from a hook or knob of some sort so that the chilies are not touching and completely exposed to the air. When they are completely dried, cut them up with a pair of scissors and then grind them into flakes. Store the dried seeds and flakes in an air tight container and enjoy in any recipe you desire. It's that simple. 

Beware: the moisture will escape the chilies but the capsaicin will remain in tact (that's the powerful stuff in chilies that make them hot and spicy). If this stuff comes in contact with your bare hands it will linger and spread if you touch your eyes, nose, mouth or any other part of your body. This will result in an unpleasant tingly (if not burning) sensation. Sometimes a thorough wash with soap won't be enough to avoid this. You can wear disposable gloves while handling them, or applying fresh lemon juice will counteract this effect.     

You can use this same technique for herbs too (and they don't have capsaicin)!

Give this a try at home. Two of the best traits a good cook can have are resourcefulness and efficiency.


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