Great Tips For Preserving Chilies

Great Tips For Preserving ChiliesWhether you’re a backyard gardener or approaching your first harvest on a full sized chili farm, it’s a good idea to know some things about selecting, harvesting, and preserving your produce. It is universally agreed that the best way to maximize your chili harvest is to pick your chilies as soon as they are ready. This way, you will be able to collect several harvests of chilies throughout the growing season. Unless you are specifically after green chili peppers, you should aim to select chilies that are ripe with firm, shiny skins. Ripe fruit comes off the plant with little effort.

But now that you have harvested your chilies, what should you do with them? Here are some great tips for preserving chilies so you can enjoy their heat and flavor all year long.

Dry Your Chilies- One of the most popular methods of chili pepper preservation is to dry, or dehydrate, the fruit. There are multiple drying methods, including air drying, drying in a dehydrator, and special processes for drying green chilies. Whichever you choose, pause to consider what your chilies will be used for. If you are aiming to preserve the flavor of the chilies, but not so much the heat, slice the chilies and remove the seeds and core prior to dehydrating. If you want more heat than flavor, leave the seeds intact.

Freeze Your Chilies- One of the easiest chili preservation methods is to freeze them. When freezing your chilies, think about how you will use them. If you prefer your chilies sliced or diced, do that now. If you know you will remove the seeds, do that now! It is much easier than when they have been frozen. The most important thing to remember when freezing chilies is to double and triple bag them. Chilies can easily be frozen in large zipper bags, but double bagging will preserve their taste and keep them fresh longer.

Smoke Your Chilies- Smoking brings out the delicious heat and flavor of chilies, especially that of the deep red varieties. Smoking can be done easily using any type of traditional barbecue grill or smoker. Smoking your chilies is a great way to create delicious chipotles, which are arguably some of the best chili products on the market.

Pickle Your Chilies- There are few limitations to pickling chilies. Pickling is the only preservation method that allows chilies to keep their crispness all year round. When pickling your chilies, you can add flavors such as garlic and onion, or you can add a few chilies to a pickled vegetable mix to add color and flavor. The possibilities are endless! When pickling your chilies, be sure to sterilize your mason jars before beginning, and use only the best quality chilies for optimal results!

Bottling Your Chilies- Bottling, otherwise known as jarring and canning, is another great way to preserve your chilies. A great tip for bottling your chilies is to do any prep work before you begin. That is, if you want your chilies sliced, cored, or chopped, do so prior to jarring. This will make them easier to use when the bottling process is complete. Canned chilies will keep their color and flavor for at least a year when stored in a cool, dark place.

However you choose to preserve your chilies, there are some great tips to make sure you keep their color, flavor and texture alive all year long. Preserved chilies are a wonderful addition to many recipes, but they have other uses as well. Preserved chilies make wonderful gifts during the holidays and add touches of beauty to your kitchen decor. Stop paying for overpriced canned goods and start preserving your own chilies today! Your recipes, and your dinner guests, will thank you!