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Fresh Cayenne Peppers


bubbaque
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Greetings all,

I am in a bit of a pickle here. I bought some fresh cayenne peppers at a farmer's market last week-end. Mainly because I've never seen them fresh.

I need to use them in the next couple of evenings before I go to the beach for a week, but I can't seem to find a recipe calling for fresh cayennes (they all seem to call for powdered cayenne). Although I've never used them before, I do know they are alot hotter than jalapenos or even serranos.

Which begs the following question: Does anyone here know of a recipe requiring fresh cayennes?

Failing any other option I'll make gazpacho tonight (four servings worth). If anyone has experience with fresh cayennes, would one or two of them overwhelm the recipe?

Cheers,

bubbaque

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Can probably use them in a salsa or chili instead of whichever pepper the recipe calls for. Would be great with the season's tomatoes! Assuming you like your salsas and chilis good and hot.

Perhaps your peppers should be in a pickle, too.

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Perhaps your peppers should be in a pickle, too.

'Tis a wry wit you display, shogun!

And excellent suggestions as well. I'm sure my next salsa mexicana or pot of November carne chili colorado would be blazingly fiery with the substitution of these cayennes for serranos or chipotles (although what would provide the green for the salsa mexicana?).

However time is of the essence. I either use them in the next 48 hours, or I'll have to freeze them (bad) or throw them away (abominable).

Because not only are they hotter chiles, they're actually a heck of a lot larger. I guess I could always cut one into a half dozen sections and add to the food processor w/tomatoes until the gazpacho gets the heat I'm looking for.

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Yeah, chile and salsa were just my first thoughts...I've never had a fresh cayenne, so I don't know if they would be too hot for those applications. Could probably pickle or can them, but that's a lot of work, or at least more than you'll probably want to do while getting ready for vacation.

Oh! Pepper vodka!

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Get some white vinegar. Put the peppers in a big jar and cover with the vinegar. Refrigerate. They will keep a good long time that way.

Or you could whiz them up in a food processor (wear goggles!) with vinegar. I think the proportion is 3 parts vinegar to 1 part peppers. Put in jars and refrigerate or freeze. Then you can add to chili, salsas, etc.

You could also string them and let them dry in a dry area of your house. Wear gloves!

My boyfriend's garden is overflowing with peppers right now. Like, over 100 different types. :P

Enjoy your vacation!

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My boyfriend's garden is overflowing with peppers right now. Like, over 100 different types. :P

Enjoy your vacation!

"100 differnet types" of peppers!!!

Without disclosing my motivations, what the heck is his address?

If these cayennes prove too hot for the gazpacho, I think I'll try the vinegar solution you suggested (pickling I guess).

Though I must admit the pepper vodka idea is currently gaining some currency with me. It would be a excellent accompaniment on the beach.

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Could you puree and then freeze? And then use in a wet rub for meat.

Stringing and drying is definitely a good long-term solution, too.

Try everything, then let us know!

...I'm more of a dry rub man myself, but this might make a good substitution in the orange-chipotle wet rub I whip up for pork loins.

Thats it: some will go into vinegar, some into a wet rub to take to the beach, one into a bottle of vodka (ahem, for the beach), and one (or maybe less) into tonight's gazpacho.

I love this decision by committee process!

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My boyfriend's garden is overflowing with peppers right now. Like, over 100 different types.  :P

How does he keep them from cross-pollinating? I used to grow a big veggie garden in my backyard when I lived in Santa Monica. One year I planted bell peppers, mild New Mexico chiles, and jalapenos. I ended up with spicy bell peppers and spicy chiles. And spicy jalapenos, too.

The Silver Queen corn had the occasional chalky blue kernel in it, thanks to the blue corn, even though I planted them as far apart as I could.

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...well, it turns out my query was much to do about nothing.

Although cayennes have a considerably higher scoville rating than serranos, I was able to use an entire cayenne (probably 9 inches in lenght and as big around as my index finger) in the gazpacho last night with little more discernible effect than if I'd used two or three serranos.

But, served with a baguette it made for tasty and colorful gazpacho. I just wish it had taken 35 minutes of prep time as the recipe suggested, rather than an hour. Lots of chopping!

I am having some for lunch as we speak and there is considerably more heat on the tongue now than there was last night.

The rest are of the cayennes are now in vinegar and refridgerated as suggested above.

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How does he keep them from cross-pollinating? I used to grow a big veggie garden in my backyard when I lived in Santa Monica. One year I planted bell peppers, mild New Mexico chiles, and jalapenos. I ended up with spicy bell peppers and spicy chiles. And spicy jalapenos, too.

The Silver Queen corn had the occasional chalky blue kernel in it, thanks to the blue corn, even though I planted them as far apart as I could.

I dunno :P I'll have to check out the bells and see if they're spicy. Actually, about half of the garden has "burned up" due to all that horrendo heat we had the last couple of weeks.

I am SO ready for fall.

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Get some white vinegar. Put the peppers in a big jar and cover with the vinegar. Refrigerate. They will keep a good long time that way.

Or you could whiz them up in a food processor (wear goggles!) with vinegar. I think the proportion is 3 parts vinegar to 1 part peppers. Put in jars and refrigerate or freeze. Then you can add to chili, salsas, etc.

You could also string them and let them dry in a dry area of your house. Wear gloves!

Questions:

What does the vinegar do to the peppers? Is it an acid that keeps them from spoiling? White vs. rice vs. champagne vinegar... does it make a difference? Why not (a neutral) oil?

If I combine different peppers -- cherry bomb, jalapeno, thai chile -- in the same vinegar solution will the flavors of the individual peppers be affected?

Given the current humidity, can I dry them in the oven... say 250 degrees for a couple of hours?

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Questions:

What does the vinegar do to the peppers? Is it an acid that keeps them from spoiling? White vs. rice vs. champagne vinegar... does it make a difference? Why not (a neutral) oil?

If I combine different peppers -- cherry bomb, jalapeno, thai chile -- in the same vinegar solution will the flavors of the individual peppers be affected?

Given the current humidity, can I dry them in the oven... say 250 degrees for a couple of hours?

The vinegar is an acidic preservative. Check the acidity level on the bottle label of your vinegar - it doesn't matter what type it is, but the USDA wants you to use one with at least 5% acidity. The low pH will kill any bugs that might spoil the solution. Oil might be OK, but if there are botulinium spores on the peppers, the oil will allow them to breed.

Combining different peppers will give you an eventual product that tastes like a blend of all of them (learned the hard way).

I've dried tons of chilies. An oven would work, but I would bet you could slice open one side of them to let the moisture out and put them out in the sun today and it would work just fine.

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Questions:

What does the vinegar do to the peppers? Is it an acid that keeps them from spoiling? White vs. rice vs. champagne vinegar... does it make a difference? Why not (a neutral) oil?

The peppers will be pickled, and the vinegar will be very spicy. Most vinegars are 5% acidity, except for rice vinegar, which is less. If you want to make a Latin-style escabeche dilute 5% vinegar (usually white or cider) with a small amount of water and olive oil, and salt. Heat it up just to the boiling point and pour the liquid over the peppers, to which you have added raw onion, sliced carrot and celery, whole garlic cloves, oregano and bay leaf. Let it sit for a day or two before starting to use. will keep for weeks in the fridge. You can macerate peppers in oil, but for long-term storage you need to strain out the peppers after a while and heat the oil. There is a small risk of botulism developing without any acid to create a hostile environment for anaerobic bacteria.
If I combine different peppers -- cherry bomb, jalapeno, thai chile -- in the same vinegar solution will the flavors of the individual peppers be affected?
Vinegar changes the flavor anyway, and the longer they sit in the vinegar environment, the more they will end up all tasting pretty much the same.
Given the current humidity, can I dry them in the oven... say 250 degrees for a couple of hours?

At that temp in the oven, they will be baked. To dry things with high water content, you'd need to go 170-190f. with the oven door cracked open so that the water vapor can escape. If your place has a/c it's probably not that humid inside. You might try putting them on a rack in a sunny spot with a fan blowing on them. It will take a couple of days for them to get dry--maybe a combination of air drying and oven drying?
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