December 27, 2005

Cayenne Powder Makin'

I removed the cayenne pods from my dehydrator that I dried before Christmas. Fortunately, I remembered to remove the machine from its place outside before the rain fell on Monday! I could have ruined my little $15 machine since I doubt it is waterproof.

I took these cayenne pods and the few pods that I had saved from this fall and made my first real batch of cayenne powder for the year. Some of the pods had gotten leathery. I was forced to pull out my old electric mill to do the initial grinding and then put the results into my marble mortor and pedstle for hand processing. The final product is a smooth powder of an earthen red hue that should be excellent for my cooking this winter and spring.

I have another half dozen of cayenne pods just turning red outside. There is more rain predicted, but I think that I have a few clear days that I could possibly dry more pods! I just might risk the rain tomorrow...and get a few more cayennes for my spice jar.

I also have more habaneros ripening out in my little raised bed. It is amazing to see them flourishing after Christmas has passed. I also have a few red beauty bells forming. They are all still green, but I will wait and see if they ripen to red. If they do, it will be the first bells that I will have harvested from these plants. Talk about slow starters! It will be a pleasure to enjoy them in a salad this winter if they make it.

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