Can you believe it’s already time to start garden planning?! (Or past time, depending on where you live.)
In Oregon we still have about a month before our last frost, but seeds can easily be started indoors so they’re ready for planting. This will be our third year using seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, which has a really fun and interesting collection. Our seeds were started about 3 weeks ago in a Jiffy Seed Starter Greenhouse, which we’ve used for years and absolutely love! We are blessed to have a real greenhouse outside, but it’s so nice to have them inside and growing before moving them to the great outdoors. So far we have lots of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, and squash out in the real greenhouse, with most of our peppers still inside.
If you have not grown peppers before, maybe this year can be the first time to give it a try! You don’t even need a garden, you could just try a pot on the patio. One of my favorite things from last year’s garden is a little jar of dried red pepper flakes, inspired from this tutorial by Confections of a Foodie Bride.
I use lots of red pepper flakes in cooking (I even keep a bottle in my desk drawer at work!), so it was a no-brainer for me to do this DIY and have one more home-grown item available in my cupboard. I used these Thai peppers for ours, but you could really use any type you like! I knew I wanted ours to be hot, and it is.
DIY Red Pepper Flakes
There really isn’t much instruction for these… wash and dry your peppers, cut off the stem, and if you like, split them partway down the middle (my assumption is that this would help them dry out faster). Heat your oven to 170 degrees, and put the peppers in for 6 hours. After that time, just shut your oven off and leave the peppers in there overnight. Use either a food processor for more flake like pieces, or a spice grinder for a powder, and you’re done!
Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride
This year we’re trying cayenne peppers, which I’ll dry and use a spice grinder to make our own cayenne pepper. Can’t wait! 🙂