Simple Directions for Drying a Variety of Spices
Making your own spices affords you the luxury of knowing exactly what you're getting. If, for example, you're making a hot pepper spice you can control the heat level. If you're making your own spice blend, you can control salt content as well.
Recommended Supplies (to cover all of your bases):
Fresh peppers, herbs, edible flowers etc. (the fresher the better)
A coffee grinder (for finely pulverized spices)
A mortar and pestle (for herbs and flowers)
A dehydrator OR a convection oven
For making our cayenne pepper:
First, you may want to put on gloves. Hot peppers contain a chemical called capsicum which can cause severe burns to eyes and mucous membranes, may irritate the skin and cause breathing discomfort in some. **PLEASE BE CAREFUL**
Next, wash your peppers thoroughly and dry using a clean towel or paper version and cut into slices not exceeding 1/2 inch.
|Use a cutting board and slightly serrated knife.|
When you're done slicing your peppers, it's time to put them into the dehydrator (you may also use an oven on low heat 150-200 degrees for about 8 hours). They'll need 8-10 hours in the dehydrator to dry thoroughly. When you're placing your peppers on the racks, ensure they are evenly spread. You'll want to avoid crowding as much as possible.
|As peppers dry their color will darken|
When drying is complete, remove the slices from the dehydrator (gloves!). If you want to remove some of the heat from the blend, shake out most of the seeds. Seeds contain most of the heat of the cayenne pepper, the more you leave in the hotter your spice will be. I love heat, so I'm leaving all of them in.
Then place the slices into your electric coffee grinder and pulse until you hear almost no hard "pings" against the plastic from un-pulverized seeds.
When done, tap the top of the coffee grinder to release the spices stuck to the sides and, very gently, remove the top to reveal your spice. If you want to take a sniff, waft your hand over the top of the container and inhale. **do not inhale directly over the container, it may burn your nose**
When complete, you can store your spices in a jar and leave at room temperature. If you need to extend the life of your spice you may also refrigerate your jars. Freezing CAN be an option, but may degrade the flavor of your spice.