This week at Growing in Harmony we've harvested our chilli crop! Harvesting is such a fun and rewarding part of growing your own veg, it's the time when all your hard work is rewarded and this year our chillis have been so successful that we've had more than we could use or sell. Luckily we had the perfect solution to stop them from going to waste - our dehydrator!
Since we got it a few years ago the dehydrator has been invaluable, not only is it great for preserving surplus produce, like our chillis, it also makes great snacks including kale chips, one of our favourites. Recently we've used it to dehydrate the orange slices that we use to decorate our wreaths (for more about our Christmas wreaths click here)
To dehydrate the chillis we cut off the tops, made a hole in the side to let the moisture escape, arranged them in a single layer on the tray of the dehydrator and just let it do its thing! If you don't have a dehydrator you can do the same thing in the oven on a very low temperature but be warned, it takes a a long time to dehydrate things properly so your oven may be on all day.
Once they're done you can store the chillis as they are in an airtight container or grind them up to make chilli flakes or chilli salt. If they're fully dehydrated they should store for a long time.
You can do this with any type of chilli, we grew a few different varieties and mixed them together but you could do them separately if you prefer, different types of chilli will vary in how sweet or spicy they are so you could create a few different types of chilli flakes to suit different tastes.
How to make chilli salt
We made some of our chillis into chilli salt. To do this we used about 2 tablespoons of ground dehydrated chillis and half a cup of Himalayan pink salt. You can adjust the quantities however you like to make it more salty or more spicy. If you're using a pestle and mortar like we did you might find it easier to grind the chillis in small quantities.
Add the chillis to a pestle and mortar or a spice grinder (or coffee grinder reserved for spices)
Grind until they look like this
Add the salt and continue to grind. We left a few bigger lumps of salt, which is fine if you're using the salt for cooking because the big bits will dissolve in the heat. If you think you'll want to sprinkle it onto your food you might want to grind it up a bit finer to avoid big lumps of salt.
use a funnel (or part of a clean plastic bottle!) to decant your chilli salt into a spice jar.