Saturday, November 7, 2015

Drying Herbs and Vegetables

Already the trees are brown and the garden is dying down.  But before it's all gone, I pulled seeds off the basil plants for next summer's garden, and picked the leaves to dry and use during the winter.

To dry herbs, wash them and put them on a paper towel on a plate and microwave for 1-2 minutes.  They go from fresh and green to...
Shriveled and crunchy.  It takes more leaves than you'd think to end up with a shaker full of the dried leaves, but the smell and flavor are so much fresher than the ones from the store.

A friend gave us a grocery bag of jalepeno peppers.  They dry theirs and save the seeds to sprinkle on pizza.  I recently purchased a food dehydrator and put it to the test with these.

These jalepenos shrink just like the herbs do.  I wasn't sure what to do with them and just dried them yesterday, so I haven't tried this, but my research says you can grind them into powder like cayenne or rehydrate them and cook with them like dried tomatoes.  I like the idea of grinding them into a powder and shaking them into all kinds of dishes.

Have you dried peppers?  You can also string them up and hang dry.  Some Ristras are sewn with a needle and others are tied together.  Most of the ones I saw online were tied - possibly to keep the heat off your fingers.  If you're cutting peppers, be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.  But if you get the juice on your hands, soap them up and rub a stainless steel spoon on your fingers and then rinse.  Sounds ridiculous, but it removes strong odors (like fish or onions) and the heat from hot peppers. 

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