So You Grew a Garden… Now What? 11

** This post was imported as a part of my top 30 from my old blog – What’s Cooking in the Orange Kitchen**

Anytime I find out that I can “home make” something I get excited. There is just something very rewarding about making something that you would normally have to buy at the store. The other day a coworker and I were talking about our gardens and I told her that the plants that were doing the best were my pepper plants. My Serrano pepper plant was probably the healthiest plant in my garden this summer. Of course, the one plant that I really had no plans for when I planted it. I just planted it for fun. So my coworker mentioned drying the peppers and my eyes lit up. I can’t believe I didn’t think of this before. Making my own red pepper flakes!

After doing a little research online I decided I wanted to go the quickest route and dry the peppers in the oven. I started by collecting all of my red colored peppers, which included serrano peppers, slim red chile peppers, and then some banana peppers that for some reason had turned red. I cleaned them all and cut the tops off. Then I put them on an air bake pizza pan and then in the oven at 170 degrees. I planned on leaving them to dry over night but Jesse was uncomfortable with that. So I dried them for 5 hours, then let them rest in the OFF oven overnight. The next evening I turned the oven back on to 170 and let them go for another 4 hours. So total it took about 9 hours.

After the 9 hours of drying in the oven, I let the peppers cool and rest and for a few more hours. Finally, I put the dried peppers in a ziploc bag and went to town with a rolling pin. I am storing the flakes in little .5 cup rubbermaid containers.

*I have to warn you. For the first few hours the smell was POTENT. The whole house smelled spicy and I felt almost like I was covered in hot peppers. I would recommend turning on a fan and opening a window. Luckily after a few hours it mellowed out some.

*I think this would make a really cute gift in a homemade gift basket. You could even use empty baby food jars and decorate the lids. I plan on putting together a few of these for Christmas.