A vegetable (that’s technically a fruit) that really needs no introduction. Everyone knows about hot peppers, but what do you do when you’ve got a boat load of them? This Recipe Box is going to be packed, because there are just so many things you can do with hot peppers!
Let’s start with some basic ideas to quickly preserve a large bounty.
- Pepper jam or jelly
- Chopped or diced and frozen for recipes
- Sliced and fermented (great for pizzas!)
- Dehydrate/freeze dry and powder (stick in a spice jar for quick heat on any dish)
- Hang and dry for later
- Process or blend and make a compound butter
- Candied and canned for later (aka Cowboy Candy)
There are also many other options if you have a bit more time on your hands or are looking for a more unique preserving opportunity.
- Once dried, infuse in oil or honey for a kick on just about anything!
- Infuse in vodka for a spicy bloody mary or make a bloody mary mix
- Pepper Jack cheese
- Giardiniera, make it milder or make it extra hot
The most popular thing to do is to make a sauce, and the possibilities are almost endless, so I’m making it a category all by itself.
- Salsa and guacamole, obviously
- Hot sauce (you can make a quick vinegar sauce, or a fermented one)
- Add some kick to our Plum BBQ Sauce
- Spicy ketchup
- Spicy pepper mustard
- Enchilada sauce – red or green, depending on what you have
- This spicy Thai sauce called prik nam pla
- Garlic chili paste
- Green sauce
If you are looking for something on a smaller scale or tonight’s dinner, there are many options.
- Shake into tonight’s margarita
- Jalapeno poppers – enjoy tonight or freeze for your next get together
- Stuffed peppers with a kick! These can also be frozen for a quick weeknight meal
- So many ways to enjoy with chicken, beef or fish
- Kick up your salads
- Chili – make extra to can for later
- Jalapeno cheddar bread
- Spicy cornbread
- Surprise the kids with a spicy hot fudge
Peppers can have many health benefits too, don’t forget to fill your “medicine” cabinet while you are at it.
- Make a tincture
- Ferment fire cider for fighting sickness
- Protect plants and yourself from predators by making your own pepper spray
And don’t forget to save those scraps, it’s amazing what can be done with what most people throw out.
- Jelly – add to apple scrap jelly for a spicy sweet treat
- Dry and crush, discarding stems, for crushed red pepper flakes (or grind into a powder)
- Save the seeds of your favorite peppers to grow next year
- Add seeds to bird seed mix or in home made suet cakes
- Or save pepper seeds to surround your garden with a pepper plant barrier that keeps out pests
Once you’ve used all you can, make sure to add scraps to your compost bin to keep your garden producing the bounties that we love to consume in so many different ways!