Growing Cayenne Peppers
The best time to grow cayenne peppers is during the warmer months. The cayenne peppers are an heirloom variety that produces long slim deep red peppers with a hotter flavor profile. They are mostly used for hot sauce but can be prepared as red pepper flakes for pizza toppings or pasta dishes. When growing cayenne peppers we highly recommend growing them in the seed starting trays. The seed trays will allow for a jump start on planting which we allow for stronger and reduce disease pressures in the vegetable garden. If the plants are not ready to be planted in the vegetable garden they should be stepped up to a 4-inch pot to allow more room for growth. Since peppers are apart of the nightshade family they are susceptible to blossom end rot which can cause a calcium deficiency. To help reduce these problems you can apply pelleted gypsum at the base of the plant at bloom set. Pepper plants can produce 5 to 6 inch long fruits that reach around 2 to 3 inches tall. Since these plants produce heavy yields on each plant we recommend using the Florida Weave trellising technique that ensures plants and fruits have plenty of support and stay off the ground which will reduce soil-borne disease problems in the vegetable garden. The peppers will initially be green and should be left to mature to a deep red color for optimal flavor and heat profile. Overall, whether you like sweet or hot pepper varieties, growing them in the garden will leave you plenty of production to harvest and incorporate in many different recipes.
Red Pepper Flakes
On this week’s episode, Travis explains the best red pepper flake recipe to make at home. Travis currently has two rows of Cayenne Peppers growing in the vegetable garden. Most of them are starting to turn red which means they are ripe and ready for harvest. After harvesting all the red peppers from the garden, Travis takes them inside to wash them and then start the recipe. The first step is to cut the green stems off of them and place them in a bowl before you place them in the oven. If you prefer them to them be less hot you can remove the seeds, but Travis prefers to leave the seeds in there. The major key to dehydrating the red pepper flakes is with low and slow heat. You don’t want to burn them just simply dry them out. The best way to dehydrate red peppers is with a food dehydrator but an oven works great also if you don’t have a food dehydrator. With either a regular baking pan or an elevated pan you can lay the red peppers along the trays evenly. Then, once the peppers are on the trays we slide them into the oven and place the temperature as low as the oven will go. Travis recommends leaving them in the oven for around 8 to 10 hours so place them in the oven at night and get them out in the morning. After the cayenne peppers are done in the oven they turn out dry and crispy. Also, the red peppers have a smoky smell and they crumble up in our hands. Next, Travis is going to place them and the seeds all in the food processor to get them nice and ground up. Then, you simply can put the red pepper flakes in a mason jar and store away in the spice cabinet. The red pepper flakes will store for a while in a good storage area. This is the best and easiest red pepper flakes recipe that Travis has found to work really well for him.