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Some Like it HOT

March 10th, 2010

I’m a big fan of hot food, and by hot I mean spicy hot. You’ll find me adding crushed red pepper to just about everything I eat. Because I like it so much I decided to grow some in the garden last summer. I ended up with quite a bounty thanks to the full sun conditions in my mom’s garden and the few plants I had here at Chiot’s Run as well. I dried the ripe cayenne peppers and have them stored in a big jar in the basement pantry.

Every so often I add a few to my spice grinder (which is a coffee mill only used for grinding spices, who wants spicy coffee?). I grind them a few seconds for freshly ground red pepper flakes. I’m sure enjoying my homegrown cayenne, it’s much hotter than the red pepper you buy in the store and has a great fresh flavor. BEWARE – don’t inhale too deeply when you open the grinder, you’ll end up in coughing fits!

I’m glad I like cayenne pepper because it’s health benefits are quite numerous, see references below. There’s even an entire book about it The Health Benefits of Cayenne, I must get this from the library.

I love spices because they make your food taste so much better and they really up the nutritional content by adding all kinds of vitamins, minerals and trace elements. They’re a great way to layer on the flavor and the health!

So what about you – are you a hot & spicy kind of person, or do you have a more sensitive palate?

read more about the health benefits of cayenne pepper:
Organic Facts
The Worlds Healthiest Foods
The Health Benefits of Cayenne Pepper

51 Comments to “Some Like it HOT”
  1. tigress on March 10, 2010 at 5:20 am

    i live for spice! and hot peppers! i love spice in everything and i grow my own chiles also. although last year because of the rain….:(

    you should check out she has a vast array of chile seedlings. i order a bunch from her each season and it’s always great to try some new varieties.
    .-= tigress´s last blog ..jam on it: plum hot jelly & almond butter =-.

    Reply to tigress's comment

  2. pam on March 10, 2010 at 7:46 am

    What a great idea to make your own! My jar of hot pepper flakes is about a zillion years old.
    .-= pam´s last blog ..Garden Tuesday – Lenten Rose =-.

    Reply to pam's comment

  3. Tree Huggin Momma on March 10, 2010 at 8:10 am

    Wait so cayene and crushed red pepper flakes are the same thing, different form? Great! Do you have a cayene sauce recipe? Like a tabasco, but with ingredients I can identify?
    .-= Tree Huggin Momma´s last blog ..A Business Plan is in Order =-.

    Reply to Tree Huggin Momma's comment

    • Miranda on March 10, 2010 at 10:43 am
      That guys has a ton of great sauce recipes. I made his habanero sauce with my homegrown peppers last year = so good! Still have a jar in the fridge and they keep just fine.
      .-= Miranda´s last blog ..Fish Tacos in Homemade Corn Tortillas =-.

      Reply to Miranda's comment

      • Tony on March 10, 2010 at 3:19 pm

        I wasn’t going to grow any hot peppers this year, but after looking at those recipes I think I’m going to have to. Thanks for the link!
        .-= Tony´s last blog ..Day 3 Nutrition Plan =-.

        to Tony's comment

  4. Amy on March 10, 2010 at 9:17 am

    I like spicy food too!

    Reply to Amy's comment

  5. C Aultman on March 10, 2010 at 9:52 am

    oh I love this post. I will need to run out and buy a grinder this afternoon. My hubby is a fanatic about growing peppers. We grew tons of cayennes last year and simply air dried them whole. He usually just grabs one and crumbles it up to sprinkle on his food. I never thought of using a grinder and filling up a jar.

    We also grew a lot of habaneros. He mostly likes to take those to work for his friends. We attempted to dry those too but they don’t dry as well as our cayennes. I like seeing how you sliced your peppers and placed them on the drying rack. Think I will try that with the habaneros this year instead of trying to dry them whole.
    .-= C Aultman´s last blog ..It’s that time of year again……. =-.

    Reply to C Aultman's comment

    • Susy on March 10, 2010 at 11:38 am

      Yes, they dry much quicker if you cut them up. I did some both ways. They also fit in a jar better when they’re in small sliced. I also dried jalapeños in slices to add to soups.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  6. Christine on March 10, 2010 at 10:30 am

    Gosh, I love spicy food. Someone in the household is very sensitive to it though, so I don’t often get to have it.
    .-= Christine´s last blog ..What do do with all this wire? =-.

    Reply to Christine's comment

    • Susy on March 10, 2010 at 10:58 am

      Mr Chiots isn’t as sensitive as a friend I have, he can handle some heat. I like mine especially hot, hence the sprinkling of pepper flakes on my food, that way just mine can be as hot as I’d like.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  7. warren on March 10, 2010 at 10:31 am

    We love the hot and spicy. We try to grow all sorts of peppers in various heat ranges to satisfy everyone…but I love it all! And we dry them…it works so perfectly!
    .-= warren´s last blog ..A new belt =-.

    Reply to warren's comment

  8. Caroline on March 10, 2010 at 10:44 am

    I’m so glad you posted this. I have a downright wimpy palate, but my husband loves spicy foods. I’m growing red chili peppers especially for him this year, but wasn’t sure how to preserve them for him.
    .-= Caroline´s last blog ..Why A Salad Costs More Than a Big Mac =-.

    Reply to Caroline's comment

  9. Miranda on March 10, 2010 at 10:46 am

    Count me in as a spice freak! It is so hard for me to cook for my spice intolerant parents when they come to visit = i usually add peppers (fresh, dried and ground, dried and flaked, frozen and chopped, sauced) to everything i cook. I am heart health conscious and know that hot peppers are great for my health, my metabolism, and even my libido! I’ve been less fortunate in the pepper yields these last 2 years though – i was luckily able to harvest quite a few habaneros before my plant succumbed to rot, but not so lucky with the last two years’ crops of cayennes. Jalapenos did well last year though. This year i’ll be focusing on jalapeno, cayenne and habanero.
    Wish me luck! (rain, drought, rain, drought – Austin is too confusing!)
    .-= Miranda´s last blog ..Fish Tacos in Homemade Corn Tortillas =-.

    Reply to Miranda's comment

    • Susy on March 10, 2010 at 11:40 am

      I know – Mr Chiots family is spice intolerant, and I mean all spices. Too much cinnamon and they say it’s “too spicy”. I double or triple the spices in everything, especially gingerbread cookies and pumpkin pies, MMMMMMM.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  10. Sense of Home on March 10, 2010 at 11:01 am

    Thanks for the references to the health benefits of peppers. My husband and I love to spice up our food.

    Reply to Sense of Home's comment

  11. Michelle on March 10, 2010 at 11:06 am

    Defintely hot and spicy!! I like that you dried your own…I want to try that this summer!
    .-= Michelle´s last blog ..I want to share a recipe with you… =-.

    Reply to Michelle's comment

  12. Kelly on March 10, 2010 at 11:25 am

    I didn’t know, either, that you could just grind up dried cayenne’s and use as pepper flakes! I’m a spice lover, too, and we’ll be growing thai peppers this year (they should dry well), and likely trying some new peppers next year – i have my eyes on szechuan peppers and may need to add cayenne in as well!
    .-= Kelly´s last blog ..Garden 2.5: Raspberry Dormancy =-.

    Reply to Kelly's comment

  13. Greg on March 10, 2010 at 11:27 am

    The hotter the better! Your ground spicy hot peppers looks great! Fresh is always better, too. You’re inspiring me (us) to try growing some of these things again this year… good job! (And trying new stuff as well!!)
    .-= Greg´s last blog ..Arepas! =-.

    Reply to Greg's comment

    • Susy on March 10, 2010 at 6:23 pm

      That’s one reason I blog – to inspire other people by showing them it’s not that difficult! And it’s so much tastier :)

      Reply to Susy's comment

  14. MAYBELLINE on March 10, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    Hot, baby!
    This is a wonderful idea. I’ve not grown cayenne before. I suspect the growing conditions are the same as any pepper. I may give this a try. It looks like you dried jalepanos as well.

    How do you use dried jalepanos?
    Do you ever sun dry your peppers rather than use a dehydrater?
    Can you recommend a dehydrater?
    How long can you keep the dried peppers?
    .-= MAYBELLINE´s last blog ..Garden Update =-.

    Reply to MAYBELLINE's comment

    • Susy on March 10, 2010 at 12:23 pm

      I do dry a jalapeños, and I use them in soups, chili, sauces, etc.

      I haven’t tried sundrying, I’d like to get Mr Chiots to build me a solar dehydrator. We have fairly humid conditions here in Ohio, so it’s difficult to sun dry without an actual solar dehydrator, things just mold :(

      I would recommend an Excalibur 3900 Deluxe Series 9 Tray Food Dehydrator. I have one I’m currently borrowing from friends, but I’m saving up to get an Excalibur. I like the squareness of them, you can fit more stuff in. I also have a few friends that have them and highly recommend them.

      I occasionally use my oven for dehydrating large batches, since it has a low setting (100) I use it for fruits (like these pears: /2009/09/12/pearsins-or-something-like-that/

      I would imagine you can keep dried peppers for a few years if you’re giving them the proper conditions: low humidity, keep away from sunlight, cool environment. I store mine in a big glass jar in the basement and grind them in small batches that I’ll use within a week or two to keep them fresh.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  15. rcakewalk on March 10, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    I’ve been considering getting a dehydrator…what kind is yours? It looks like a nice, compact one. I love spicy, too, and canned some candied jalapenos last summer (the brine mixture was 3 parts sugar to one part white vinegar), and they are so addictive that I’m baby-ing my last jar to last me awhile longer.
    .-= rcakewalk´s last blog ..Rock – A – Billy, Rockabilly Chili (Contest, that is…) =-.

    Reply to rcakewalk's comment

    • rcakewalk on March 10, 2010 at 12:50 pm

      oh, I see the dehydrator information in the comments… I need to read more carefully :)
      .-= rcakewalk´s last blog ..Rock – A – Billy, Rockabilly Chili (Contest, that is…) =-.

      Reply to rcakewalk's comment

      • Susy on March 10, 2010 at 6:25 pm

        It’s not the dehydrator pictured. This one is borrowed from friends, but I’m going to invest in an Excalibur here soon. I have a few friends that have them highly recommend them. Not to mention the square shape seems to be better because you can fit so much more. It’s difficult to fit lots of jerky on the round trays.

        to Susy's comment

      • Susy on March 11, 2010 at 6:03 pm

        This is the dehydrator in the photos: Nesco FD-75PR 700-Watt Food Dehydrator

        to Susy's comment

  16. Emily on March 10, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    For the most part we have always enjoyed hot and spicy foods. I have cut out the heat and spice factor because of a stomach ulcer. I would like to start adding some chilies back in slowly to see how it goes. This year I have Anaheim’s started. And I want to get some jalapenos going. I used to use crushed red pepper flakes in a lot of things, I hope to get back to that. And will now try to get some cayenne seeds for next year to grow them.

    I have a coffee grinder that I use for crushing rosemary and grinding flax seed to use in breads. Now It will get some use in other ways next year for cayenne peppers too.

    thanks. Great information (as always!!!!)
    Emily in So. TX

    Reply to Emily's comment

  17. Kendra @ A Sonoma Garden on March 10, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    I like spicy food too. We’ve toned it down over the past couple of years since we’ve had kids, but before everything we ate was hot, hot, hot! When I was pregnant with the two boys spicy food was like an obession, I couldn’t get enough. I had no idea that cayenne was so good for you!
    .-= Kendra @ A Sonoma Garden´s last blog ..The Hens are a Layin’ =-.

    Reply to Kendra @ A Sonoma Garden's comment

  18. Morgan G on March 10, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    Sounds like a strange combo, but I had a passion fruit martini a few weeks back and the mixologist coated the rim of the glass with cayenne pepper. It was sweet and spicy – delish!
    .-= Morgan G´s last blog ..Trellised Blackberries, au naturel =-.

    Reply to Morgan G's comment

    • Susy on March 10, 2010 at 6:25 pm

      OOOO, I like sweet & spicy. My dad brings me this hot sauce from Colombia that’s made with fruit and hot peppers, it’s so so good!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  19. Pampered Mom on March 10, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    Hmm…let’s just say I’m learning and my palette is adjusting. I used to be far more sensitive than I am now, but I’m still a lightweight when it comes to spicy foods.
    .-= Pampered Mom´s last blog ..A place for everything and everything in its place =-.

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  20. Joan on March 10, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    You can use standard mouth canning jars on some regular blenders. Just place the gasket, blade and blender screw on thingie on the jar and blend! Put the normal lid on and store. I use this method to grind herbs, nuts, smoothies and whatever else I dream up!

    I’m growing Cheyenne Peppers this year!!!


    Reply to Joan's comment

    • Susy on March 10, 2010 at 8:10 pm

      Great tip Joan! Thanks.

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • Joan on March 10, 2010 at 8:24 pm

        I meant cayenne!!! It’s my keyboard!!! Can’t be me! LOL

        to Joan's comment

  21. sweetlife on March 10, 2010 at 7:58 pm

    we love hot and spicy food..I love the pic of the jar.

    .-= sweetlife´s last blog ..Feeling better, Sopping Up, Moving and Thanks… =-.

    Reply to sweetlife's comment

  22. Sadge on March 10, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    I string lots of my hot peppers into ristras to hang and dry – both decorative and tasty! I also make hot pepper sauces to splash on all kinds of stuff. I especially like the habanero-orange sauce I came up with:

    My jalapenos rot instead of dry, so I freeze some, sauce some, and smoke-dry some into chipotles:
    .-= Sadge´s last blog ..Protector of the Protege =-.

    Reply to Sadge's comment

    • Susy on March 10, 2010 at 9:59 pm

      I have trouble drying any peppers without a dehydrator. Our climate isn’t very conducive for air drying. I’m trying to get Mr Chiots to build me a solar dehydrator then I’ll be in business.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  23. stefaneener on March 11, 2010 at 1:09 am

    Well, you might like spicy coffee. . .
    .-= stefaneener´s last blog ..They’re baaaaack =-.

    Reply to stefaneener's comment

    • Susy on March 11, 2010 at 10:16 am

      Actually I probably would! I even enjoy hot spicy chocolate cakes!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  24. Jaspenelle on March 11, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    I love some kinds of spicy. I love cayenne, but am not too much into jalapeños. I absolutely love green Thai Green Curry and other hot curries but am not to much into Mexican/South American spicy. I can barely stand the heat of jalapenos for example. I love cayenne though, it goes in almost everything I made.
    .-= Jaspenelle´s last blog ..Paganites’ Peas: week 4 =-.

    Reply to Jaspenelle's comment

  25. Tommy on March 11, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Love the post—I love the spicy side, my wife hates it! Peppers have been really easy for me to grow, so that helps, too.
    I like your little dehydrator that you show in the pic—-do you have a recommendation for a small unit like that? I would love to start drying fruits and veggies, but haven’t known where to start.

    Reply to Tommy's comment

    • Susy on March 11, 2010 at 6:02 pm

      The dehydrator I recommend isn’t the small one pictured. This is one just borrowed from friends that they got for Christmas. This is it: Nesco FD-75PR 700-Watt Food Dehydrator

      Reply to Susy's comment

  26. Tommy on March 11, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    I just read through the comments and saw your recommendations on the dehydrator….sorry!

    Reply to Tommy's comment

  27. Cori on September 4, 2010 at 7:39 pm

    Thank you for this great information. We just got a dehydrator from a family member for our peppers. No instruction book though. What temp and how long do you dry the whole ones?

    Reply to Cori's comment

    • Susy on September 4, 2010 at 8:32 pm

      I think it’s like 130 or so and I just keep checking them, when they’re dry they’re finished.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  28. Penny Gibbs on October 6, 2010 at 8:21 am

    I enjoy your blog very much and popped over to find pepper recipe ideas… I love hot n’ spicy :) I keep red pepper flakes in a pepper grinder and find it offers a more overall heat effect….and it’s easier to control the amount (my family doesn’t know how often they are eating pepper!)

    Reply to Penny Gibbs's comment

  29. fred on October 19, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    Can dried chile peppers be ground into FINE POWDER using a coffee grinder like the one shown being used for ceyanne peppers on your website?

    Thanks in advance,

    Reply to fred's comment

    • Susy on October 19, 2010 at 1:12 pm

      I’m guessing you could, give it a try and see! I sometimes grind peppercorns in mine when I need a large amount and I can grind them to a fairly fine powder and they’re tougher than dried peppers.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  30. Billie on September 20, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    A friend gave me lots of Green Cayenne peppers, can I string them to dry?

    Reply to Billie's comment

    • Susy on September 20, 2011 at 9:51 pm

      Sure, give it a try. Hang it in a warm area of the house, like over the fridge!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  31. Jan on May 23, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    Do you know of any devices that would pulverize the dried peppers, so they are powdery like the cayenne pepper you buy in the store?

    Reply to Jan's comment

    • Susy on May 23, 2012 at 9:30 pm

      I bet a burr coffee grinder would do that.

      Reply to Susy's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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