I love growing hot peppers and the jewels in the crown of my garden this year are the Tabasco Pepper and The Gong Bao Pepper. The plants were beautiful however I suspect their location did not deliver enough sunshine as the Anaheim’s were short and less abundant. I grew four kinds of peppers that are prepared in very different ways.
- Serrano- eaten fresh red or green in salsa
- Anaheim- roasted and diced, added to anything you want to have a little kick
- Gong Bao- dried and crushed to eat on pizza, pasta and soups
- Tabasco- mashed and fermented into a hot sauce
I will share more about the hot pepper sauce we are planning to make with the Tabasco Pepper but today I thought I would share how I am preserving my Gong Bao Pepper.
While the Serrano and Anaheim peppers are meant to be eaten green the Gong Bao are intended to be a brilliant red pepper with thin walls, good flavor and moderately intense heat. This plant was so beautiful and delivered red peppers in July and continues to produce into October. So that I don’t get overwhelmed I created some ristras.
This is a simple process of stringing the chilis together and hanging them in a dry airy place. In past years I have strung chilis by piercing them at their stem however when they dry the stems want to fall off and this can make the ristra more fragile. Here I simply pierced them in the middle of each pod and keep the needle attached so that I can add more as they ripen and are harvested. When full I tie it to some cardboard and start another. Don’t forget to wear gloves for this project the fresh chilis will emit juice when pierced with a needle.
Eventually these will be dry enough to process into red chili flakes. The green stems are removed and the pods placed into a blender. Depending on the level of heat you enjoy you can remove some of the seeds for a milder effect. My husband likes to grind them with a spice/coffee mill and put it in a shaker so hot pepper can be added to everything.