The 13 Best Ways to Utilize Chili Peppers

The 13 Best Ways to Utilize Chili Peppers

For many of chili growers it’s the end of the season! And I don’t know about you, but I’ve been rather successful growing my peppers indoors! This year I got so much chili fruits, ranging from mild to super hot. Don’t misunderstand me, It’s not like I think that getting a lot of peppers is a bad thing. We are growing chili peppers because we want to have a lot of nice chilies, right?!

Yes, the season is over, and for many it ended one month or two ago. For me it is soon over but I keep picking one or two peppers out of a few of my plants. Some gardeners, both cultivating peppers indoors and outdoors, end up with more than a dozen or two of ripen pods. Especially if you are using a good soil mix (see my soil mix recipe, for instance).  It may be Poblanos, Jalapeños, Habaneros, or Carolina reapers.

Maybe you were like me, more successful than you anticipated, and you can’t help wondering…

“What are the uses of peppers?”

Ending up with “too” many peppers is not the end of the world. But, at least me, find it hard to come with ideas on how to utilize peppers.

1. Pickled chilies

It’s very easy to pickle vegetables and chilies are no exception. A pickled jalapeño on your tacos add a bit of extra hotness to it. I typically slice a bunch of chilies 1-2 cm thick and soak them in a salted water (i.e., brine). Add whatever spices you like. For example, I’ve used coriander seeds and garlic. Make sure you put the seeds and garlic in the bottom of the jar!

Pickled peppers
Pickled peppers the “wrong” way.

2. Dry your peppers

Dried peppers will still have full of flavor! They can be stored for long time and it’s not that hard to dry them. I typically take a needle and thread, pull the thread through the pods, and hang it in the window. You can also use your oven to dry the pods.

3. Chili powder

This is, of course, connected with drying your chilies. After you have dried your peppers you can make chili powder of some of them. Everything you need is probably  right in your pantry!  You can use it in your favorite chili, a delicious meatloaf, and pasta dishes. In fact, you can use it to warm your feet now when the winter is coming (see number 13).

Basic pepper powder recipe:

  1. Remove the stem, cut your chilies in halves and remove all seeds. Wear gloves if you are using hot peppers!
  2. Toast the dried pods in the oven (170 C) until they smell toasted and are pliable. Make sure you turn them once in a while.
  3. Throw your peppers in a spice grinder or a blender. Mix until you have a powder.
  4. Put in a glass jar and use in your dishes later.

4. Freeze your chili fruits

Freezing your fruits is also a very good way to store them. The peppers can be put in the freezer whole or cut in halves. I have sometimes minced the peppers also. Will freezing the pods make the flavor die? Well, in my experience they are almost as good as fresh. But, of course, nothing beats eating using fresh chili.

5. Make a hot sauce!

Who doesn’t enjoy a hot sauce?! I certainly love adding some Tabasco sauce or sriracha to many of my meals. There are many ways to cook up a hot sauce! I like fermented stuff. A lot! So I have experimented with fermenting a mash of peppers, garlic, onion, and spices. In my latest hot sauce I used a banana! It’s still going through the fermentation process so I we’ll see how it taste!

See my Carolina Reaper Banana Sauce for some inspiration!

6. Create a chili jam

I love a good jam together with some delicious cheeses! When I got 50-60 Jamaican Bell (Bishop’s Crown) peppers and wondered what to do with all of them I realized something. They were quite mild and had a nice taste so why don’t make a tomato chili jam?! Said and done, my vegetarian tomato chili jam was a success when I brought it to my job.

Make a tomato chili jam with your chilies
Tomato Chili Jam

7. Fresh salsa

A delicious Mexican dish is something I rarely say no to. A good fish taco served with fresh salsa is really something I can’t resist. There’s something about the fresh ingredients in uncooked salsa that makes it make my taste buds just explode. Sometimes I also grow tomatoes and making use of your homegrown chilies and tomatoes is never wrong. 

Here’s two recipes for you:

8. Cooked salsa

I do prefer a freshly made salsa but if you have a lot of chilies and/or tomatoes you may want to be able to enjoy a good salsa all year round.  This makes  canning your own salsa is a great way to preserve your chilies and have quality salsa also during the winter.

Here’s two recipes for you:

9. Guacamole

Fish tacos with salsa AND guacamole?! I’d never say no to that either. Buy 2 fresh organic avocados, one lime, and use your homegrown tomatoes and cilantro (or buy organic). Remove the skin of 2 tomatoes, chop them finely, and mash them together with the avocado. Add lime juice, a pinch of cilantro, cumin, olive oil, and salt. Don’t forget to use one or two of your nice peppers. All depends on how hot you want your guacamole. Yummy! If you are lazy, like me sometimes, you can put everything together in a blender and just mix it!

10. Chili poppers

I love cheese. And I love peppers. One of the most delightful, and easy, ways to use chilies is to make chili poppers! Buy your favorite cheeses like Parmesan, and cream cheese. Grate the hard cheese, if you use it, and mix together with cream cheese, minced garlic, and bread crumbs. Cut your peppers in halves and fill them with cheese. Put them in the oven at 190 C (preheat the oven, of course) and bake for 20-25 minutes. Delicious!

Here’s some guacamole recipes for your inspiration:

11. Make a delicious chili!

I think that Mexican food is delightful! This may be very obvious for many of you guys. Dried, frozen, or fresh, your peppers are a great addition to a hot chili stew. I typically grow Poblanos and dry them. A chili is a great way to make use of your dried chilies: soak them in water for some time before cooking.

See this recipe, for example, making use of dried chilies. You should also try my delicious vegan chili recipe using a fresh habanero pepper. Flavor, depth, and heat! Yummy!

That was the 11 different uses for chili peppers that I have tried. The next two 2 bonus uses I find very interesting. I have not yet tried them, however.

12. Heat your freezing feet during the winter.

Here’s a quite weird use for chili peppers that I have read about. Use your homemade powder to make your feet warm in the cold times during winter. Just put the powder in your socks and it’s suppose to warm your feet. I have yet to try this out but I sure will. It will soon be cold where I am!

13. Pain relieving cream.

I have read a lot about potential health benefits of eating chili peppers. The chemical that make peppers hot, capsaicin, can apparently be used to relieve pain. Among many other things, of course, but that is a different story (or blog post).

To make a capsaicin cream, all you need is a tablespoon of your homemade chili powder and 5 tablespoons coconut oil. Blend the oil and cayenne into a cream. This cream should be massaged on the areas you’re experiencing pain. If you made Just be sure to wash your hands afterward. You don’t want to get hot pepper into your nose or eyes! It hurts, trust me!

That was the 13 best ways to use your chili peppers! If you are using very hot peppers, make sure you use plastic gloves. I made that mistake once when chopping up Apocalypse Scorpion Chocolate pods and will never forget to wear gloves again…

Now it’s your turn. What is your favorite use of all the beautiful and flavorful chilies you grow?! Leave a comment.



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