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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Dried Chilies

 (Maggie Bullock)
(Maggie Bullock)

We’re experimenting with heat in our household. This year we’re attempting our first batch of hot sauce (using fermentation for the first time as well); I’ll let you know how it turns out in when it’s done.

I tend to be too shy with heat in cooking and making salsa, so I’ve tried to amp it up. We got about 3.5 pounds of peppers off of our plants this year, but I didn’t grow any peppers hotter than a Serrano…the hot sauces needed more heat, so I found small Super Chilies at the farmer’s market this weekend. Some were added to the hot sauce, which is currently fermenting in a jar, and the rest, we are drying on a string. Once dried, the chilies can be added to dishes whole for lots of spice, or crushed and added a pinch at a time.

You can also add crushed red pepper to a salt or pepper mill and place it at the table. (Actually, I see this in our future; Ethan likes more spice than I do, and this seems like a good solution).

To make your own red pepper flakes, you’ll need small, hot red chilies (I used Super Chilies I found at the Spokane Farmers’ Market. There are a couple of weeks of market time left if you want to find some). Simple string the peppers on a thread with a needle, tying a knot on both ends and hang in a cool, dry place. I used cotton thread that has no stretch to it. The weight of the peppers will pull and likely break any stretchy thread.
Hang until the peppers are light and fully dry, then break them off as needed and use whole, or crush.

The bonus? A string of peppers is really quite beautiful.

How do you use hot peppers?


Artist and crafter Maggie Wolcott writes about craft events in and around Spokane, as well as her own adventures in creating and repurposing. Her DwellWellNW posts include project and decorating ideas, recipes, reviews of events, and interviews with local artists. Maggie spends her days as an English professor, and when she’s not grading papers, she can generally be found with a paintbrush or scissors in hand. She can be reached at