Category Archives: Storin

How to dry hot peppers

So I went overboard with the peppers this year.¬† I have already pulled in enough jalapenos for 50+ jars of Cowboy Candy. The peppers keep coming. I used to just food-processor chop up what I didn’t eat by the end of the season and freeze it for use the following year. I would need 3 gallons of storage in the freezer this year if I did that again. Then a few weeks ago I noticed THIS on the ovens I installed a couple years back:

Took a while to put it together, but this year I’m drying and grinding the peppers. So, I made cowboy candy out of the green and red jalapenos and went to work on the Orange habs, yellow Trinidads, red Trinidads and red ghost peppers:

Drying as a preservative is not a new art. The trick is to dry them and not COOK them. Getting them dry is what keeps them preserved and from getting moldy. It’s a very simple food storage method that’s been around for eons. Any dehydrator should work fine or you can even use the warm setting on one of those primitive stone-age ovens that doesn’t have a built in dehydrate setting and just crack the door open to keep it at 150 degrees.

Start by slicing them in half. They dry way faster this way. Spread them out on cookie sheets and such cut side up so none of them are touching.

Throw them in the oven until they are dry. I mean really dry, like dry enough that a breeze will blow them across the counter. If they are still pliable at all, they aren’t dry enough. They should just crumble to pieces and weigh seemingly nothing when they are done. The little ghost peppers took about 12 hours and the big fat Trinidads took about 24 to dry.

Once they in drying, time for a break. Pro tip: wash your hands BEFORE going to the bathroom.
Once they are all dry, take them out and just throw them into a chopper/grinder and grind them up real fine like.

Here’s another warning: When you ground these, there’s going to be a dusting of pepper talc that comes out of that grinder straight into your face no matter how careful you are. Wear a mask.
Sift it into a cup or something. The go back and re-grind the seeds and pieces that don’t make it through the sifter.

Once all ground¬† up, just put them into your favorite little air-tight shakers and they’ll last well past next season!


Cowboy candy: Candied jalapeno peppers

My garden’s overflowing with jalapenos and serranos this year and I’ve stuffed them every way I can and was running out of Ideas on what to do with them all. My sister-in-law said candy them. It took me a minute to wrap my mind around it but a little google-fu and I found plenty of candy jalapeno recipes. I found one that looked good and tweaked it with some additional spices and tore into it.

Verdict: Where have these BEEN all my life?

Gather up about 3-4 pounds of jalapenos. You city folk can just go buy some at the store.
Chop them into little slices with the seeds, up to 1/4 inch thick. Discard the stems and points of course. Yes Virginia those are red jalapenos and some serranos in there.

Here’s the rest of what you will need:

  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar.
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 3 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne or chili powder
  • 2-3 little pea-sized chunks of candied/crystalized ginger
  • Bunch of 4 and 8 ounce canning jars/lids/rings

Once you have all your peppers sliced, get everything else ready.

Now add all the spices, sugar and vinegar into a 5 quart pot. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, add all those slices right into the boiling liquid. Make sure to coat everything with the liquid and bring it back to a boil.

Once boiling again, give them 3-4 minutes to roll over in that bubbling goodness and get your jars ready. Stir to make sure they don’t clump up.
That fluid mixture is going to soak into those peppers and when it cools off they are going to be hot, sweet and chewy.

Line up your clean jars and use a slotted spoon to fish those peppers out and put them into the jars. Push them down a little bit and make sure they don’t quite reach the top of the jar.

Now ladle in the boiling fluid that remains in the pot, into the jars so that you have about 1/4″ left to the top of the jar. You might want to use the ladle handle to push the peppers a bit and get any bubbles out.

Use a napkin and clean all the goo off of the top edge of the gars and get a lid on those jars.

Also: SAVE THE FLUID!!!! You show up at a BBQ and slather some of that sweet spicy goodness on some chicken or pork and you are going to be Lord God King of that BBQ.

Now go ahead and boil those jars in a canning pot for 10 minutes if using 4 oz jars, 15 minutes for 8 oz ones. Some say let them sit and stew in those jars a week or two before trying them but I have been popping these peppers like candy all evening, they are divine.

Put these candied peppers on some BBQ burgers, cream cheese crackers, stuffed potatoes or whatever, and you’re going to rule the day.


Keep handy: Chopped peppers

I love peppers. I grow them every year and always have more left than I can possibly use whole. Instead of taking up two drawers of gallon-sized bags of whole peppers, I like to chop them down for freezing.

Look at these peppers.

Stop reading, go back, just look at them. This is a weeks worth of peppers from my garden. Habaneros, jalapenos, little reds, cayennes and Anaheims in there. Chopped together they make a great overall pepper mixture.

Chop the stems and bug-bitten parts off.

Throw them into the food processor with a chop blade and chop them down. I use my little Cuisinart Duet Processor. The chopper blade makes pretty short work of these little guys.

Mix it all up with a little cumin and that whole big bowl will now fit in a medium-sized plastic container you can keep right in your freezer door.

You can just grab a spoonful right out of the freezer instead of those dried flakes or store-bought peppers and plop them right into whatever you are cooking. It only takes a few seconds to to sly them into your wife’s bland soups when she isn’t looking. Soups, burgers or crock-pottery, add a scoop to anything.

Candwich, sandwich in a can

Go America! When I heard about these canned sandwiches I thought they were a funny idea, but the more I mulled them over I’m not sure they aren’t genius.

Sandwich, in a can.

Perfect for vending machines, bail-out-bags, hunting packs, glove boxes, truck toolboxes and emergency kits. Mark One Foods was kind enough to offer the cook like a man review team a free sample, so thanks for that!

The bread was nice and soft, plenty of PB&J, a little knife and piece of candy comes in the can. It was a good PB&J sandwich. The official Cook Like A Man review team also agrees: Yummy!

Gamma2 Food Storage 5 gallon bucket lids

If you are planning on having adequate food storage when the zombies come, you probably thought of having some 5 gallon buckets for storage. These buckets make decent storage in that you can grab a handle, throw it in the truck and it can bounce around in the bed while you head for the hills and not break and spill your food. Hopefully you remembered the lid-removal tool but if you didn’t, these buckets would have made it a lot easier on you.

I was skeptical when I saw these in the store but I bought one to see how well it worked.
These lids have a removable center that spins out easy without tools but still retain their airtight seal when tightened down. These are a lot easier to get into than a regular bucket lid and come in all sorts of colors to sort your food. A 5 gallon bucket will hold about 25 pounds of dry food such as pancake mix, flour, sugar or rice. These lids make it pretty easy to get out a meal’s worth and seal it right back up.

Gamma2 The Gamma Seal Lid For 3.5 to 7 Gallon Buckets or Pails

Gamma2 The Gamma Seal Lid For 3.5 to 7 Gallon Buckets or Pails