Do you have an abundance of peppers from your garden this year? We've got a great solution for you — skip the store-bought pepper and make yourself some homemade seasoning pepper or crushed pepper flakes! We use ours everywhere you'd typically find regular black pepper from homemade taco seasoning to soups, stews and chilis, and vegetables.
How to Make Seasoning Pepper
It's so easy to do and you can make it using your oven or your dehydrator. Here's how it goes:
Gather Your Fresh Peppers
Any kind will do. We had three types of organically-grown small spicy peppers this go around. Feel free to make separate kinds of powder if you're crafty like that — we just combined them all, but I think we'd probably make two separate batches if we had bell peppers or any type that's sweet and not spicy.
Dry ‘Em Up!
You can use your oven or a food dehydrator for this step. We didn't bother chopping or seeding them at all before dehydrating, but you certainly can to speed up the drying process which often takes a full two days in the dehydrator or 8 hours in the oven.
For a helpful list of dehydrators, check out our Safer Food Dehydrator Guide.
If you don't have a dehydrator, just set your oven to it's lowest degree of heat (usually about 170° or so), put your peppers on a baking sheet (preferably with a grate like this so air can circulate all around the peppers), and let them sit in the heat and slowly dehydrate until they're crunchy dry and look like this:
Stem and Seed
Another reason we wait until after the peppers are dry to seed them is so we can determine the level of heat we want in our final product. More seeds = more heat. We like some heat, but not all the heat.
To do this, simply pop off the stems, lightly squeeze and move the pepper around between your fingers to loosen the seeds, and pour them out of the opening where the stem used to be. Then you just select the amount of seeds you want to include in your ground pepper and discard the rest.
Grind ‘Em Down
Now it's time to grind your dried peppers into powder. You can use a food processor, a blender or a mortar and pestle for this final step. Just grind until you've reached your desired consistency — we went for somewhere between crushed pepper flakes and medium-grain seasoning pepper powder.
Then store in an airtight container until ready to use. As long as the produce is thoroughly dry, your homemade pepper will last 2-3 years.