Thursday, 17 April 2014

Homemade Dried Chilli Flakes

I love having a selection of fresh herbs and other edible plants in my kitchen and garden and, in the main, most of them get used. If they don't, I use one of my two methods for preserving them - found here and here. However, there always seems to be the humble chilli plant that I may use one or two chillis from and then the plant gets ignored and fades away. The following year, I buy another - they are so pretty and I am convinced that this time, I will use it more often!

So how can I get my money's worth and make sure that the poor plant isn't going to waste? I can dry the chillis! First of all, chop them in half. For extra spice, keep the seeds or remove them if you want less. Place on an ungreased baking tray and pop in the oven at the 'warm' setting (80° C - 100°C) or several hours, until they are completely dried out or dehydrated. This will be a number of hours - 5 or 6 at a shot - and to be extra crispy, I would turn off the oven and leave them overnight.

Pop the lot into a plastic bag and crumble (or if you're lazy so inclined, a food processor is good). But make sure you don't get any in your eyes! Place the lot in a jar or pot and there you have it, homemade dried chilli flakes and a plant that hasn't gone to waste. And wash your hands really, really well when you're done.

Bonus top tip - plastic gloves are always good when working with chillis!

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