As we move into fall, the heat-loving plants are thriving and I am preserving hot peppers this month so I don’t lose my harvest as the cool weather moves in. In late spring I planted SO many different varieties of these spicy little buggers…jalapenos, habaneros, serranos, and many more.
Of course, I couldn’t just plant ONE of each of these varieties…oh no! I had to plant at least two of everything I bought. This means that as we head into fall I now have so many hot peppers I don’t even know what to do with them all.
For months I have been giving them to neighbors, cooking with them, dehydrating them, and then just turning a blind eye to the full pepper plants. Every time I go out there I bring in yet another basket full of hot peppers!
There are only so many recipes a person can make with spicy peppers…one or two of them really go a long way in terms of heat! So, I decided to share a few ways to preserve hot peppers in case you were suffering from a bumper crop of them like I am.
Table of Contents
This is my favorite method for preserving peppers. We dry literally hundreds and hundreds of them in our food dehydrator and keep them in a large plastic airtight container with lids. We usually grind them up in our mortar and pestle to make a nice, spicy powder.
My husband and son love everything spicy so dried peppers get sprinkled on everything from spaghetti scrambled eggs to macaroni and cheese and steamed vegetables. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, you can put the dried hot peppers in a food processor.
However, PLEASE use caution! You will aerosolize a lot of powder and this stuff hurts to get in your eyes and lungs. Do it outside and turn your face away when you turn the machine on.
Start with just a pinch of pepper powder to add a nice spicy flavor to your next recipe.
Make Pickled Peppers
This is another incredibly easy way to preserve hot peppers. Just slice off the tops and slice the chili peppers in half lengthwise or into rings, depending on your preference. If you like a lot of heat, keep the seeds intact.
Otherwise, just remove the seeds and membrane after you cut them. Place your sliced hot peppers into a clean mason jar. Pack it about 3/4 of the way to the top. Fill the jar with white vinegar, leaving an inch or so at the top.
You can add garlic cloves and spices to them if you would like. They will keep for quite a while like this. There are a ton of options when it comes to Mason jars nowadays. Check out the selection at the Mason Jars Company before you make your selection.
Freezing hot peppers is incredibly easy if you have the freezer space to store them. You can chop the chili peppers up and freeze them or puree them in a food processor in a bit of oil or water and place the resulting paste in ice cube trays for freezing. Again, if you like heat, just keep the seeds in the peppers before processing.
You can use these in just about any recipe that you want a bit of heat in. It is especially good in chili, jambalaya, etouffee, and many other southern dishes.v
Cook with them
If you have a lot of hot peppers you could do a whole bunch of cooking and then freeze the meals and dishes that you make. Homemade salsas, chili, chutney, and many other dishes freeze quite well and all of them need a few hot peppers. Cooking in bulk now will save you lots of work later this winter!
If you love hot, spicy food, try making my sausage cheese biscuits with jalapenos, or how about some spicy jalapeno deviled eggs? You can also add them to my spicy lemongrass soup recipe, which is perfect if you feel a cold coming on!
This is a totally new idea for me but you should definitely check out Happy Mothering for the details. Fermented foods are supposedly very good for your health and this seems like a fascinating idea!
If you want to get started with fermentation, check out the reCAP® Fermenter. It is an easy, waterless airlock set that ferments and stores culinary creations that are delicious and good for your health.
Consider canning hot peppers
Canning hot peppers is a fantastic way to preserve their fiery flavor and extend their shelf life. Whether you’re working with jalapeños, habaneros, or any other variety of hot pepper, the process involves carefully packing cleaned and sliced peppers into sterilized jars and then immersing them in a brine made of vinegar, water, and salt.
Proper canning ensures that the peppers remain safe to eat while maintaining their spiciness. The result is a pantry staple that can add a burst of heat to various dishes, from salsas and hot sauces to chili and stir-fries, even in the off-season. Canning peppers allows you to enjoy the intense and zesty kick of these peppers year-round while adding depth and dimension to your culinary creations.
Canned hot peppers can be stored at room temperature in your pantry until you are ready to use them.
Make Hot Sauce
Creating homemade hot sauce from garden-grown hot peppers is a flavorful and satisfying endeavor and a great way to preserve peppers from your garden. To start, gather a variety of fresh spicy peppers from your garden, such as jalapeños, serranos, or habaneros, depending on your desired heat level.
Wear gloves when handling the peppers to protect your skin and eyes from the spicy oils. Next, remove the stems and seeds to control the heat and reduce bitterness.
Combine the peppers with ingredients like garlic, onions, vinegar, and salt in a blender or food processor, adjusting quantities to suit your taste. Blend until smooth, then transfer the mixture to a saucepan and simmer over low heat until it thickens to your liking.
Finally, strain the sauce to remove any solids, and bottle it in sterilized containers for storage. Homemade hot sauce allows you to customize the flavor, heat, and ingredients to your preferences, ensuring a spicy condiment that perfectly complements your dishes.
There are a ton of creative ways to use hot peppers and one plant can yield quite a bit. If you have extras you can try your hand at salt curing hot peppers or try one of the methods I mentioned above to preserve hot peppers for use throughout the entire year.
Diane is a professional blogger and nationally certified pharmacy technician at Good Pill Pharmacy. She earned her BS in Microbiology at the University of New Hampshire and has worked in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging and freelance writing to share this knowledge with others. Learn more about her HERE.