preserving habaneros

My habanero plant is absolutely covered with peppers and they're starting to turn orange - this, in addition to, some other varieties of chili peppers that appear ready to harvest and it's too much to deal with at once. What's the best way to keep them for the longest amount of time? Freeze the fresh peppers? Dry? (in the oven?) Dry, then freeze? About how long can I keep them with any of these methods? How long would homemade hot sauce or salsa keep in the fridge? -thanks
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You probably are aware that habs have a bad habit of rotting if not used rather quickly. Oven drying will work if you dry them at a very low temp for a long time, however the downside is the smell and eye irritant issues in the house. I've had very good luck in the past when I smoked them dry. I cut off the tops and removed the seeds and membranes with some long kitchen tweezers. I highly recommend using gloves to do this. If you don't, you will invariably touch around your eyes (or more sensitive body parts *wink*) I promise you don't want to do that. I used a small backyard smoker and I used charcoal for heat and mesquite wood for the smoke, but hickory, pecan or apple wood would work. Smoke them on a VERY low temp for a long time and check them often. You will be able to tell when they are dry. I still use some that I have in a spice jar which I smoked over 5 years ago. good luck!

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Thomas (dot) wrote:

I'm still not sure what approach I'll take. I don't have a dehydrator or a smoker and don't want to fumigate the house buy using the oven. I may throw some in the freezer for now and experiment on some others with a charcoal grill.
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And everybody is ignoring my canning suggestion.... :-(
Thanks.
IMHO freezing ruins peppers. I've ended up tossing every frozen pepper me or my mom every tried.
They are......
gross.
I have a dehydrator. Drying in small amounts should be no big deal.
If the smell is that bad, do it out in the garage or a sheltered outdoor area with an extension cord.
I dry peppers every year, Jalapenos, bell strips and chili petins and feed most of them to my cockatoo. They are a rich source of vitamin C that birds need.
She loves them and fresh citrus is messy and attracts fruit flies.
But I'd never offer her an Habanero. ;-) That'd be mean....
Her favorite is a handful of fresh chili petins in her food dish. She ends up with a pink beak and I refuse to play "kissy bird" when she has pigged out on them. <G> I have a hyooge bush of them in the yard that is a perennial.
Gives a whole new meaning to the concept of "hot lips". ;-)
--
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Om

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OmManiPadmeOmelet wrote:

I've never done any canning and don't have the supplies so I guess that's why I ignored it. Plus it seems like a jar full might still be too much at once, after I opened it. Smoking some other drying method is making sense to me because then I could use it a little bit at a time.

I need to research dehydrators.

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Sorry excuse... Canning jars come as small as 4 oz. <G>

Agreed.
I just don't agree with freezing based on _personal_ experience! At least without blanching somehow and I'm not convinced of that.

It's not rocket science. I've gotten excellent results on a simple, cheap convection dehydrator from "Harbor Freight" for around $30.00 per unit, even doing jerky.
Meat can get touchy. Veggies are no big deal.
--
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Om

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Well, I am interested in your canning idea for your peppers. I normally just freeze what I have but would like your recipe for doing this. This year I use a package of seeds that just said hot mixed peppers and well saying they are hot is a understatement. I made the mistake of taking a bite out of a round one (which I thought was just an immature sweet green pepper) and burnt my mouth.
--
:) Lynn


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Oops... and owch eh? <G>
I've always dried peppers, but I'll post over on RFC and see if Barb has a canning recipe for them.
She cans _everything_!!!
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On Fri, 11 Aug 2006 21:25:58 -0500, OmManiPadmeOmelet

I just checked the latest Ball Blue Book and the new Ball Complete Guide to Canning and for hot peppers they only list freezing and drying.
--
Susan N.

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OmManiPadmeOmelet wrote:

AFAIK Barb doesn't can peppers. Canning them will not make them like fresh peppers. Mostly you end up making a pickle of them as follows:
Cap the peppers so the pickle can get inside and out. Sterilize a jar, fill full of peppers. Bring a pickle of 50:50 5% vinegar and water with whatever pickling spices you might like to a boil. Pour over the peppers in the jar and put on the lid and ring, hand tighten. Boiling water bath for at least 5 minutes, take out and allow to sit on a folded towel for 24 hours. Should last up to two years with no problems.
George
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That sounds about like the ones we get in the store. I've purchased canned Jalapenos and I actually like them better for stuffing than the fresh ones. They are more tender and easy to eat. Good either fried or grilled.
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Om

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I will try this with some.Mostly I will be just using them as a salsa or chilli ingred
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:) Lynn <---DOF Leaper
Smokers are a dying breed
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OmManiPadmeOmelet wrote:

It will not be a good method for habaneros. You will have to pressure can them for a long time and they will turn to mush.
But here's how to do it if you really want to try: http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/how/can_04/peppers.html
It seems to be mostly aimed at thick-fleshed peppers rather than thin-fleshed peppers like habaneros.

You don't freeze them for eating fresh, you freeze them for cooking with. Especially habaneros because they are so hot.
Best regards, Bob
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I can't speak to the dehydrating side of things but I have been happy with both the habs I have frozen and also alcohol soaked.
For the freezing I just put them in a glass jar and pick out a whole pepper when I need it. I've kept them this way for over a year. Yes, they do get mushy when I drop them in a soup or stew but the heat is still there and that is all I care about. No muss no fuss.
I also have diced up some habs, put them in an old, empty large Tabasco sauce bottle, about 1/3 full and then filled the jar with vodka. Mmmmmm. (I've also done the same with whole peppercorns)
I guess it would be a bad thing if you put too much pepper and not enough hooch, then the proof is too low and cooties will grow. Everclear is your friend! :-)
I know firsthand that if you put wet peppers in a jar and top with oil, nasty stuff will soon bloom and if you are dumb and use it on food, I assume you will get very sick or even dead.
JJ
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Thomas (dot) wrote: ... I used a small backyard

I tried to smoke some in a regular covered charcoal grill with wood chips this weekend. I'm not sure but they may have gotten burned. They're pretty brown and shriveled. I guess I'll have to try some tonight to see if they taste ok.
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frank megaweege wrote:

I actually think they came out great. I used a weber-style grill. Built a small charcoal pile near the front of the grill and threw a handful of mesquite chips on top. The habs were on the little warming grill, a few inches higher than the main grill and towards the back, so as not to get direct heat. I got it going, closed the lid and didn't check back until the charcoal was spent. The habs were shrunken and shriveled but still fleshy and somewhat moist. I repeated the process again. The next morning they appeared too brown at first glance and I was afraid I'd ruined them. They were lightweight husks now, and upon further inspection not really burnt but darkened. I crushed them up, some parts brittle, others a bit more tough and put them in a jar. I chewed up a piece about the size of a quarter, and it had a great smoky flavor, although it was way too hot to be eaten like that. I'll crush them up some more and use to make a jerk rub and add the bigger pieces to stir fry or pop into the blender with other salsa ingredients.
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Most ovens are too warm to properly dry chilies. But you can try it. Just watch things closely. I have a dryer and it works great for chilies, even habaneros. I do it in the attic with good ventilation. Also wear gloves when handling the chilies. I buy packages of 100 latex or similar gloves at a time. I also recommend wearing goggles and a gas mask if you grind them. _________________ John Henry Wheeler Washington, DC USDA Zone 7
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In article

What about just canning them?
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Peace!
Om

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frank megaweege wrote:

Freeze them. They will take up less room if you cut them up first (large dice works well.) They will last for years in the freezer. Wear rubber gloves when you chop them, and throw the gloves away.
Bob
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Disposable latex and latex free gloves are available in the paint section at Lowe's and other home improvement stores. They are cheap.
I use them for a LOT of kitchen work, including working with garlic (when I'm crushing large amounts of it), slicing or processing hot chilies, and mixing ground meats.
I made meatballs the other day and wore disposable latex gloves. It was SO nice and tidy! :-)
I just hate getting grease all over my hands. ;-p
I also use them for doing any spray painting, or scrubbing items with bleach or acid solutions. My hands are a lot happier. ;-)
--
Peace!
Om

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