Homegrown Cayenne is a Kick!

comments (0) November 18th, 2011

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WesternGardener Jodi Torpey, contributor
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Cayenne peppers are easy to grow in a container garden.
Long Slim cayenne peppers dried on a screen for several months to remove all the moisture before grinding.
Dried cayenne peppers can be used whole or ground into a fine powder.
Cayenne peppers are easy to grow in a container garden.Click To Enlarge

Cayenne peppers are easy to grow in a container garden.

Photo: Jodi Torpey

One of my favorite curry recipes calls for a good assortment of dried spices including cumin seeds, ground coriander, turmeric and cayenne. I always follow the recipe exactly except for one measurement: I always double the amount of cayenne.

I can’t help myself. I love what this red hot chili pepper adds to my cooking.

I mix cayenne into guacamole, spoon it into simmering pots of jambalaya, and use it to spice up dull barbecue sauces. I’ve even sprinkled it on top of deviled eggs.

This summer I planted two 'Long Slim' cayenne plants in my container garden and ended up harvesting several dozen of the bright red peppers. They’ve been drying on a screen in the basement for the last few months.

Dried cayenne peppers like these can be used in recipes calling for whole peppers or they can be ground into the same fine powder you find on the spice shelf at the grocery store (only less expensive).

After growing and grinding paprika peppers in the past, I know my homegrown, organic cayenne is going to be more fragrant and more flavorful. The color is even more spicy.

For the best results, grind the cayenne right before you use it.

  1. Remove the stems carefully and break the dried peppers into pieces (seeds and all).
  2. Place pieces in an electric spice mill that’s designed for processing nuts and spices.
  3. Pulse the grinder until the peppers and seeds are pulverized into powder.
  4. Store in a jar or other container with a tight-fitting lid. Keep stored cayenne in a cool place and out of direct sunlight.
  5. Use while fresh (within several months).
  6. Plant more cayenne!

posted in: , peppers, spices, cayenne