Home-Grown Cayenne Chili Pepper

Dried, Homegrown Cayenne Chili Pepper

Dried and ground homegrown cayenne chili pepper.

One of the great things about growing cayenne peppers is that you can use the pods fresh, or dry and grind them for later use. If you live in an arid climate like Arizona or New Mexico, the process for drying chilis is greatly accelerated – they can be prepared in just a few weeks. I live in Wisconsin, and here they take at least nine months.

To dry cayenne peppers, consider using a traditional Ristra. They are easily made; you can hang the peppers in a closet until they are ready for grinding.

To make the ristra, cut two pieces of butcher twine six feet in length. Fold each length in half so the ends are the same length. Then tie a simple half-hitch knot at the top to form a loop the size of a quarter. Then tie both segments together at the top to form another half-hitch knot. Fasten the peppers to each length of string (you will have four) by securing a half-hitch knot around the stem of the peppers. Tighten the string around the stem (I’ve found this works best when the string is damp so you can get a better grip) and keep the distance between each stem tight. The result, with a little practice, should look something like the photo below.

cayenne pepper ristra

A cayenne pepper ristra adds a decorative touch during harvest season.

When the peppers are fully dry, break them off the stem and grind in your spice grinder. Carefully transfer the powder to a sealable storage jar. They will keep for up to a year before the flavor starts to fade. Take care not to inhale the powder! It is extremely hot. I prepare them at home when my wife and kids are out of the house so they are not bothered by the dust.

3 thoughts on “Home-Grown Cayenne Chili Pepper

  1. Great way to enjoy your summer chile harvest all year round!
    I’m going to have lots of cayenne chiles at the end of the summer and I can’t wait to try out some of these methods, I’m also going to try drying and crushing some kung pao and thai dragon peppers. I will post cayenne pics soon.

  2. Where can I buy dried Cayenne chili? No vendor whatsoever is being indicated anywhere in the internet.

    Thanks for any information.

  3. John;
    Ground cayenne chili is fairly common in the U.S. Most grocers will carry it prepackaged in jars or small bags. It comes in either flakes or a fine-ground powder. Wal-Mart carries it. Several online retailers that I searched for also carry it.

    I always grow my own. I hope this helps – Mike.

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