September 01, 2005

Mortar and Pestle for Making Chile Powder

I bought a little marble 4" mortar and pestle yesterday at Marshall's. It was very inexpensive and small enough that it won't pose a problem finding a place for it in my kitchen. Last year, when I was making my first batch of cayenne powder with pods from my garden, I used an electric coffee mill. This resulted in powder that was more a mixture of fine powder and flakes. We used the powder last year, but it was not quite what I wanted in texture.

This time, I went straight from my dehydrator to the milling process, using only the mortar and pestle. I discovered that the chiles crumbled easily and I was able to grind them into a uniform powder. The picture above is the final result of red carribean habanero powder that I made for my pantry this morning. I also ground up the five cayenne pods that I have dried and have started a fresh pot of cayenne powder. I will need many more cayenne pods to fill my bigger spice pot, but I'm glad to be rid of the older, not well ground powder and leathery pods of last year. There are more cayennes ripening out on my two chile plants, so as the next few weeks go by, I will start to refill my cayenne powder spice jar.


phoenix said...

We grew cayenne and jalapenas for the first time this year; we're trying to grow what we can to maximize our use of organic foods and ease the budget some, too. When you grind the peppers, do you find it necessary to seed the pods first? We live in N. California (Bay area) and the peppers seemed to enjoy the climate and yielded a dozen or more fruits per plant.

indigogarden said...

I've done it both ways. When you leave the seeds in, the powder tends to be hotter, but it is also speckled red/white. When you remove the seeds after drying, they just pop on out and the resulting powder is a rich red.

Personally, I prefer to seed the pods, but really it is a personal preference.