Homemade Red Chili Flakes

We grew some Anaheim Chili Peppers last summer in our backyard garden.  My husband and I just adore Barbequed Chili Poppers and also Chili Relleno Casserole!  If you would like to see recipes for those, please click HERE.

I also froze quite a few of the chilis for use during the winter after they had been fire-roasted and deseeded.  You can see that process HERE.

Homemade pepper flakes

Our Anaheim Chili Peppers were VERY happy last year. Between our four plants, we got POUNDS of peppers! Because of it’s versatility in cooking, this chili pepper has become my favorite.

Our pepper plants were so prolific, however, that I was able to save the last of the season chilis by dehydrating them in a Ristra.  This is an ancient method of preserving just about any kind of pepper.  By stringing them in a ristra, the peppers are exposed to more air flow, which helps them dry faster, preventing any mold from forming. By hanging the peppers, they are also less likely to be eaten by some critter, bug or (heaven forbid) curious child. Homemade Ristra

I strung my Ristra with dental floss and a sewing needle!  The floss is strong, not readily absorbent (which helps with the mold issue) and yet is thin enough to hide behind the Ristra.  I started out with about a two foot long piece, then added peppers to the end as I harvested them from the garden.  Once the last pepper was strung and the excess floss was cut off…

♪♪♫♪♫ Ta-Da ♫♪♫♪♪   RISTRA

Many people use their Ristra as a decoration in the kitchen. They are particularly popular in the Southwest.  I’m sure you have seen braided garlic and onions hung in a similar manner. They really are quite pretty and I hung mine on a side cabinet where it could easily be seen in my kitchen.  I received quite a few compliments!

But, in my quest for self-sufficiency, this was not the end-product of my peppers.  Nope!  Though the Ristra was pretty, the dried peppers were destined to become red pepper flakes!

This is such an easy thing to do!Red Pepper Flakes homemade  Just unstring your Ristra, pull or cut off the dried green cap and stem, plop the dried pepper (seeds and all) into either your blender, food processor or coffee grinder, press the button and let the peppers whirl around about 15 to 30 seconds (you don’t want to completely pulverize them!) and you have red pepper flakes!

Fair warning:  please let the flakes settle down in your blender/food processor/grinder before opening the lid because you will be SORRY if you get a snoot full of red pepper powder!  Please don’t ask how I know about this! 🙁

Since I have started growing and drying my own herbs and spices, I have been collecting and/or buying containers for them.  The container I put the red pepper flakes into is pretty large and I wouldn’t use such a large container for dried basil, oregano, etc., but we go through a lot of red pepper flakes!  Have you ever had Arrabbitata Sauce before?  Mmm…

You can go one step further with this process and absolutely pulverize the peppers into a powder, which (I think) is easiest to do in a coffee grinder.  Then, you would have the basis for a homemade chili powder. There are a lot of different recipes out on the web for homemade chili powder, but I thought I would throw mine into the mix:

Recipe for Homemade Chili Powder

Perfect for a barbeque rub on a pork loin!  Yum………



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49 thoughts on “Homemade Red Chili Flakes

  1. Oh I can imagine the burn….sorry!! You can use the red peppers with oil and garlic and dish soap and maybe some other stuff to spray on your plants to keep critters from eating your veggies. works pretty good but you have to reapply and make sure the wind is blowing away from you! Love reading all your posts!!

    • Yes – I tried this bug spray last year and it worked pretty well. I just had to make sure I got it under the leaves and during the cool of the day in the morning. And of course, I will not spray upwind! 🙂

  2. Vickie,
    Wow, this is so cool, I’ve never heard of a Ristra but I now realize I’ve seen them used in many places. Here’s hoping I get enough peppers this summer to be able to try this method. And I’ll be sure to be careful and wait to open the food procesor, that sounds awful!!

    • Hey Jon – good to hear from you! Yes, if you get the powder in your eyes, it can be an emergency situation. If you inhale the pepper dust, you might be coughing for hours! Of course I learned all of this after my other incident with peppers when I didn’t realize they could burn your skin! You would think after all of this I wouldn’t like peppers, but I love them anyway!

  3. Hi! Renee here. I live in New Mexico , ( not much better than the old one, lol) We use Ristras all the time or lay the chili’s on tin in the sun to dry in the hot N.M. sun. There’s also a secret for freezing chili. After years of roasting, seeding before freezing, my ” Momma” finally told me, her ” Hita” how to do chili much easier. After roasting, just let them cool, and put them in a freezer bag whole. When you thaw them in cold water, the skin just slides off, then split up the side and scrape out the seeds with your thumb!!!! So much easier!

    • So… that’s how you do it! I found out last year that this is also the easy way to peel tomatoes – just throw them into the freezer whole and when they thaw, the peel just slips right off! I love hearing about tips and tricks for easier homemaking. Thank you so much, Renee.

  4. That’s how I do. One! It’s lovely to find out you’re doing it right! Also I use the chilli stems for making my yogurt.
    I think the way you’ve posted your recipe is really snazzy! Love!!

    • Chili stems for yogurt? That sounds very interesting – please tell me how and why you do that! Does your yogurt taste like a chili pepper?

    • Yes, we have started using it a lot more spices lately. I’m not sure if this is because we have become more adventurous or because we are getting older and our tastebuds don’t work as well. 😉 The best part about growing, dehydrating, freezing or somehow preserving your own herbs and spices is that you know exactly what is in the bottle! I plan to grow more herbs this next year to start making my own tea, also. Thanks for your kind comment, Jodee!

  5. I made the mistake of opening the processor before I should have. Only takes once and you will remember forever. LOL. I enjoyed your blog and the tip about using the dental floss.

    • Oh no – getting a lung full of red pepper powder is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy! Well… maybe 🙂 LOL Thanks for stopping by, Shirl!

    • Good morning, Alison. Yes, you should grow some peppers, make yourself a ristra for christmas decorations (perfect red and green colors!) and then finally make some of your own red pepper flakes!

    • It was so easy! I would recommend that if you plant a few chili pepper plants, save a dozen or two at the end of the season, make a ristra (pretty and practical) and then when thoroughly dry, make red pepper flakes!

  6. I have first hand experience of the snoot full of pepper! I’m so glad you share your homestead experiences with us here at Real Food Fridays 🙂 Have a great weekend, Vickie!

  7. Today on Rachael Ray she did a recipe where she ground the red pepper flakes into a powder and put on chicken. Rachael said the powder isn’t as strong as the flakes and it has a real good flavor. This was done while the chicken thighs were raw.

    • I wish I had seen that – I will have to see if I can find it somewhere. Thanks for the heads-up! If you take your red pepper flakes, some dehydrated onion and garlic, perhaps some dried basil or thyme and then pulverize the mixture into a powder, that makes a really good dry rub for just about any kind of meat! I am glad you stopped by today, Judy!

    • Good morning Rachel and Kathy – nice to meet you! Thanks for pinning. I happened to read your blog this morning and saw the recipe for the flat apple pie. That one sounds like a total winner – thanks for the recipe! Enjoy your weekend!

  8. This is a great idea. I am too much of a wuss when it comes to eating spicy anything. Sometimes mild salsa has too much of a kick. But my husband would love this idea. Thank you for sharing at the snickerdoodle link party!

    • What’s nice about making your own red pepper flakes is that if you want a mild pepper flavor without the burn, just omit the seeds! Most of the “hot” is in the seeds, so after they are thoroughly dried, cut off the tops and tap out the seeds. Then you can grind up just the pepper itself.

  9. Thanks for sharing this process. I am going to save-pin it for my husband. We grow a lot of various pepper every summer and he likes to do this with some of the seeds.

    • This year, when you have too many peppers (if that could ever really happen) you should definitely make some Ristras. They make great Christmas presents! Then, when your ristra is all dried and you need some red pepper flakes, just chuck some in your blender or food processor and ♫♪♫♪♪ ta-da ♫♪♪♫♫. The hardest part, for me at least, was taking apart the pretty ristra! 🙂 Here’s to another abundant pepper crop!

    • Hi, Julie – yes, please be careful taking the lid off! Now I know why you can put this stuff in a spray bottle with water and oil as an organic insecticide! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  10. Thanks for sharing this on the Art of Home-Making Mondays! I love this idea and the ristra (didn’t know that was the name) was beautiful. We hang our garlic but never thought to do peppers. My husband have similar self-sustainable, etc., goals so I appreciate your thinking 🙂

    • Hello, Jes! Just adding your new party on my list! Several years ago my husband and I went to the Garlic Festival in Gilroy, California and it was there that I learned how to braid garlic! I know the reason for doing this, making ristras, hanging herbs and such is so that the bulb/fruit/herb can dry evenly and out of the way of critters, but I also think they make beautiful kitchen decorations! Thanks again!

        • I know! At one point my eyes were actually starting to sting a bit from all the garlic in the air! Did you try the garlic ice cream at the festival? If you had never had garlic ice cream, this is something you should put on your bucket list. Of course, I won’t tell if it was good or not! 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend, Jes.

          • So glad you added this to the Seasoning and Spice Mix Link up! Your chili powder seasoning sounds great too! Will be pinning this 🙂

          • Thanks, Jes! I have recently started collecting recipes like this, so I am looking forward to seeing what everyone else posts!

    • I agree, Jarnette! It seems the cost of everything keeps going up, including spices and herbs! I have been dehydrating a lot of my herbs, onions, garlic, peppers, etc., this year for my own use and it is sure saving me a lot of money!

  11. Oh, thank you for your pepper posts!!! I have an Anaheim plant that will not quit. It has been growing year round. We eat them fresh, frozen, fermented, and now I know how to roast, grind and powder them!!!! God BLESS you!!!

    • Haha, I decided to grind most of my peppers into flakes before they got too dusty! 🙂 Even though I like them as a decoration, they are more frugal as food. Thank you for hosting the party, Theresa.

  12. Did you know you can not pan heat jalapeños to crisp them up, it’s like a pepper sprayer blew up in your home. Just thought I’d throw that out there for everyone’s knowledge.

    • Actually, I have done this before, with the vent fan on high and windows open! I was able to avoid tearing eyeballs that way. Thanks for the head’s up 🙂 Sorry it took so long to comment. If you read my most recent post, you will understand why I have been absent for so long. Have a great day!