This year I grew both cayenne and paprika peppers. I planted seeds and had half a dozen plants of each just about ready to transplant, but our dogs reduced that number to one plant of each variety. I was thankful they spared those two plants.
My goal is to grow and dry those peppers to make my own cayenne and paprika powders. I use a lot of both in cooking; I also add cayenne powder to the herbal wormer I give the goats. I'd like to be able to grow the things I use most, instead of being dependent on the grocery store.
I babied the two remaining plants, keeping them potted in my herb garden for awhile until the grasshopper infestation died down a bit. Then I planted them in metal tubs in partial shade (and also here), just because that's where I had room and could easily keep an eye on them. They had more room to stretch out there, and both of them took off and grew.
The paprika plant is still covered with yellow peppers that haven't yet turned red, so I'll talk about those later when I harvest them. For now, I have picked all the red cayenne peppers. There are just two green ones left on the plant, so I'll dry and powder them later. (There are also a few new blossoms on the plant, but I doubt that those will turn into red peppers before the first frost.)
|Those look almost neon - it's from the camera flash.|
I washed the peppers in vinegar and water, then spread them out on a towel to dry well. That one plant produced 46 red peppers plus the 2 not-ripe-yet peppers. I forgot to fertilize it; it might have produced even more if I'd remembered, but I am happy with that number from just one little plant. This year's experiment will help me decide how many plants I should grow each year.
Wearing gloves, I cut the tops off the peppers and cut them into pieces about a half-inch long. You can remove the seeds at this point, or leave them for a little extra heat. I left them, but next time I'll remove them. I found that they didn't grind to quite the fine powder that I'd expected, and I think removing the seeds might fix that. Not that it really matters; I just expected a finer powder. Don't forget to wear gloves when cutting up the peppers.
Then I put the pieces in my L'Equip dehydrator (affiliate link). It took about 24 hours for them to dry to a brittle state.
I put the pieces in my electric coffee grinder (which I use for spices only, not for coffee) and powdered them.
Those 46 peppers from one plant yielded just shy of two ounces of cayenne powder. This will help me decide how many plants to grow next year, as long as I can keep the dogs from eating the transplants.
You might also enjoy:
The New Herb Garden
The Herb Garden in June
The Herb Garden in July
The Herb Garden in August
The Herb Garden in Late September
Ten Ways to Use Basil
How to Dry Homegrown Herbs
DIY Cayenne Pepper Powder
Harvesting the Herb Garden
My hope is to inspire you, and to encourage your homesteading plans and your dreams of a