Preserving chilies – “pepper, pepper, pepper, salt”
Fish and chips and vinegar, vinegar.
Fish and chips and vinegar, pepper, pepper, pepper, salt
Every time I see the jar sitting on my kitchen counter my daughters 4th grade class starts singing in my head…
It’s cold in the winter, it’s cold in the fall.
It’s cold in the summer, but it doesn’t matter at all.
It does matter actually, but that is besides the point.
So here is the thing. I have chilli peppers, lots of chilli peppers. Which seems incredible considering I bought 2 tiny little plants at the beginning of this summer and stuck them in a pot. And despite the weather – which was ironically a bit cold for summer – I have an abundance of chillies. I cooked with some, but I still have a bunch on the plants and I just hate watching them go to waste. Frost is coming.
Preserving chilies is easy.
We dried some. Having my own dried chillies in the cupboard – chillies I grew – feels very self-sufficient. Dying them is simple and just requires tying them together with some scrap string and hanging them in the kitchen, preferably in a sunny window. We wrapped the string around the little green stems, securing with knots. Once dried, they will last forever. It will take a couple of weeks, but once completely dry and brittle you can take them down and store them in an open jar in the cupboard almost indefinitely. If left whole they keep their flavour and heat for a long time.
But still, dried peppers don’t have the same flavour as fresh chillies.
So when I saw this, I thought it was the best thing ever.
Fresh chillies have a brighter and more crisp flavour. Preserving them in salt like this keeps some of that freshness.
Use this as a spice. Where you would use salt, and reduce or eliminate the use of other salt in a recipe. It adds a nice bit of heat to sauces and roasted vegetables. Add it to sautéing onions and garlic and marvel at how wonderful it smells. Also marvel at how you just saved yourself a few minutes of chopping a fresh chilli. The chillies almost melt into the food. If you are really heat sensitive, go easy and use sparingly, at least until you have figured out how much you can handle. There is definitely some heat in here.
Chili Pepper Salt
Here’s the ratio I used:
- 1-1/2 cup coarse sea salt
- 1 cup fresh chillies (I used Thai chillies), green stems removed, left whole. you can remove the seeds if you wish, but that means handling the cut chillies and that could be just too much work not to mention hard on your hands
Add chillies to small bowl of food processor and pulse several times until very finely minced. You don’t want a paste, so I wouldn’t use a blender for this. Add the salt. Pulse several more times so that everything is a pretty orange-pinky-red colour. Store in an airtight container. You can use this right away, but storing for a week or so will distribute the flavour of the chillies more quickly.