How to make cayenne powder

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After letting my cayenne peppers ripen some more in the grow box I decided that this was good enough and decided to make some cayenne pepper for winter BBQs.  The different stages of ripeness provides slightly different flavors, from what I have read partially ripe can give an excellent heat with a unique flavor.  As you can see the color is also a little different than what you would typically think for for cayenne peppers.  The process for this is very similar to making jalapeno powder with a few minor differences.

Step 1: Clean the peppers.  Simply give them a quick rinse and a towel dry

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Step 2: Cut off the stems (stocks).

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Step 3: Remove seeds.  This is an optional I chose not to do this for laziness but also to give my powder a little extra heat.  To remove seeds slice lengthwise and scrape out the seeds carefully.  Recommend gloves on this step to prevent burning eyes later.

Step 4: Cut the peppers in half.  Again this is optional but I did this to speed up the drying time since I didn’t split them to remove the seeds

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Step 5: Dry the peppers.  These peppers are very tough and can handle almost any temperature for drying.  You can go with the slower method by stringing them through the middle using some fishing line and hang them until dry.  You can also dry them in your oven at 225-300F checking every couple hours for dryness (about 8 hours).  I opted to use my dehydrator (12-14 hours) since I have one and I didn’t want to get up in the middle of the night to check them.  Just like the jalapenos you want to dry the peppers until they are crisp and break when you bend them.  Just as another warning be careful when handling these peppers even when dry, you still can get burned.

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Step 6: Grind the peppers.  Use a coffee grinder (or Magic Bullet with grinder blade like me) to a fine powder and store in an air tight container for about 6-8 months for best flavor but still can be used for 1-2 years with decent results.

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Summer harvest

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Well it hasn’t been a great year here in the Northwest for summer vegetables but got enough tomatoes and peppers to make some salsa and get stocked up with enough jalapeno pepper powder (been great on omelets) until next year.

With a larger abundance of ripe jalapeno peppers this batch of peppers have a more festive look to them.

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Here are the peppers ground up, as you can see above this time I kept the seeds in for a little extra bite.

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While picking my tomatoes I also picked some less ripe tomatoes which were not quite ripe but vines no longer were green.  I will let these tomatoes ripen indoors, though the flavors will not be as good as garden fresh tomatoes still better than what I can get in my local grocery store.

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Peppers: Good, Bad, And Ugly

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The jalapenos are doing great, they are loaded with peppers and I already harvested some to make some jalapeno powder.

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The Cayenne peppers are looking good and though they are a little late, I am just waiting for them to just begin to change color before I dry them and make some cayenne powder.

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The bell peppers are not doing quite as well the ones above have a pretty bad sunburn.

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Not quite as bad a sunburn…but still a waste.

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Not sure what this one is…any ideas?

More Early peppers

jalapeno pepper plantsweet yellow pepper plant

The tomatoes have been lacking this year though the peppers are still doing great. 

Under normal circumstances this would make no sense at all but the secret with this success is the two months this summer these peppers have been spending in the grow box with their perfect temperature and lighting conditions…otherwise there is little hope for me growing peppers in my short season here in the Pacific Northwest.

Serious weed control

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I have been having a losing battle with cattails for the past couple years.  This was what was lurking under my snow peas after I pulled them out.  The problem with cattails is they do not emerge until the temperatures increase and given their broad root structure trying to remove them will most likely kill the plants (in this case peas) surrounding them.

If you attempt to pull cattails not only will you not kill them but this disturbance will actually encourage more growth.  There are a couple of techniques to stop these evils weeds, first is instead of pulling them cut them at the base, second it to shade them.  I decided to attack these weeds using both techniques.

Step 1: Chop weeds to their base.  I used some scissors to cut down all of the cattails at their base.

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Step 2: Covered the weeds.  I used black plastic to smother the weeds.  Not only will this smother the weeds but also bake the soil to kill any bacteria/fungus (or any other weed seeds) to hopefully end up with a moderately sterile soil when I plant next year.

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Not to waste any of my very limited space in my garden, I moved my peppers and one tomato plants to this location.

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First pepper of the year

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It has been slow to warm up this year but finally getting some warm enough nights to bring my peppers outside for a little while.  Though they were flowering in the grow box I was surprised to see a sweet yellow pepper already growing.  This is definitely a record for me by at least a good month.

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