March

HOW TO: AIR DRY CHILLIES

The Slowpoke: HOW TO AIR DRY CHILLIES

After long hours in the hot summer weather, most of our Aussie farmers have a smile on their face at the arrival of cooler weather. It also sees them reaping the benefits of the bountiful harvest they created. One such local crop in plentiful supply at the moment is chillies – an ingredient for which a little usually goes a long way.

There are many ways to preserve chillies, with one of the quickest and easiest being drying. Michael Zagoridis from Pocket City Farms and Common2Us is giving us the rundown on air drying the spicy harvest to use throughout the year.

“As sad as it is to farewell summer once again, farmers are breathing a sigh of relief as autumn arrives. Summer crops can certainly keep you on your toes and anyone who has restrained themselves from picking a zucchini one day only to come back the next to see a giant marrow can surely sympathise. Another tricky summer crop to manage is the humble chilli plant.

“A healthy chilli plant will have several flushes of fruit, which tend to ripen in fairly close succession. Dealing with an overabundance can create problems if you can’t physically get through it all before it spoils. Once again this is where preserving can help you out. An extremely easy way of preserving chillies is to hang them to dry. Literally all you need is some twine and a spot that is fairly well ventilated.

“Note: some fleshier chillies such as habaneros and jalapeños will only dry this way if you have low humidity. If you don’t, it’s best to dry these varieties using another method such as the oven, or simply freeze them.

“Cut several equal lengths from a ball of kitchen string – I cut mine to around 90cm. Take one of the lengths of string and a single chilli and tie a simple knot around the stalk of the chilli, toward the end of the twine.

“Repeat this with consecutive chillies, tying them along the string with a gap of 5-7cm between each. Continue until you have a full length of chillies tied to the string, being sure you leave enough length at one end to tie a loop in the string for hanging.

“Repeat with more lengths of string til you have your chillies all tied up and ready to hang. A hot tip: after handling all those chillies, be careful not to touch your face and eyes!

“Hang them in a well-ventilated area – the lower the humidity the better. They’ll take a couple of weeks to dry. Once they’ve dried you can either store them whole in an airtight jar or to make chilli flakes, remove the stalks and pop them into a food processor and quickly blitz. Store them in an airtight container somewhere dry, they should last for about a year if you don’t eat them sooner!”

The Slowpoke: HOW TO AIR DRY CHILLIES The Slowpoke: HOW TO AIR DRY CHILLIESThe Slowpoke: HOW TO AIR DRY CHILLIES The Slowpoke: HOW TO AIR DRY CHILLIES The Slowpoke: HOW TO AIR DRY CHILLIES The Slowpoke: HOW TO AIR DRY CHILLIES The Slowpoke: HOW TO AIR DRY CHILLIES The Slowpoke: HOW TO AIR DRY CHILLIES The Slowpoke: HOW TO AIR DRY CHILLIES The Slowpoke: HOW TO AIR DRY CHILLIESWords and instruction: Michael Zagoridis, Pocket City Farms

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