Ancho Chili: Mild and flavorful
Cayenne: Hot, eye's watering, pass me the milk kind of hot, but very tolerable when cooked into spicy dishes
Thai Chili: A little hotter than the cayenne
Habeneros: Imagine eating a ball of fire.
Hubby likes it hot so we decided to plant enough peppers to melt the sun. This year we started our peppers in January, from seeds under our indoor grow light. Most hot peppers have a "days till maturity" range between 60-90 days. So starting them early gives those feisty little fruits a head start....meaning we get hot peppers in the hottest part of the summer and will continue to harvest into September and possibly October. The habeneros alone take up to 90 days for the fruit to ripen. Our habenero plant is covered in fruits and one is just now starting on the path the fiery red. We are getting handfuls of peppers every day and so hence begins the preservation process!
We have been drying the Cayenne and Thai chilis in the oven at 150 degrees. This usually takes about 12 hours. We then store them in jars and they last us about a year. I imagine they keep for longer but we usually use up our batch in a year's time.
I also made a batch of Pickled Jalapenos from The Complete Book of Small Batch Preserving. They look beautiful...still waiting for them to sit a while before tasting them! It's such an easy recipe....
1 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
4 tsp liquid honey
2 tsp pickling spice
1/2 tsp pickling salt
2 cloves garlic, halved
1/2 lb jalapeno peppers, thinly sliced
1. Prepare canner, lids and jars. You will need two 8oz jars for this recipe.
2. Thinly slice the jalapenos. I left the seeds in, you can remove the seeds if you prefer a milder finished product.
*Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after handling the peppers, before touching your eyes or mouth!*
2. Combine the vinegar, water, honey, pickling spice and salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes.
3. Place 1/2 clove of garlic in each hot jar. Divide the peppers evenly between the two jars. Add another 1/2 clove of garlic.
4. Return pickling liquid to a boil and then pour over pickles to within 1/2 inch of the rim. Place hot lids and bands on jars. Process at 10 minutes according to the directions for your boiling water canner.