Cayenne is our favorite pepper. We use them in a lot of preparations in the kitchen. So, we grow at least 10-15 plants each year. They are either harvested when green or after they turn red. Green ones are used in stir fries and some other dishes. We harvest the green ones and keep them in the freezer for the rest of the year.
The red ones are usually dehydrated. They then can either be stored whole or made into flakes or powders. If stored whole, they can be flame charred for some dishes. We like to use charred peppers in a few chutneys we make.
Red peppers’ color can be enhanced by blanching them first. Take a large vessel with plenty of water and boil it on high heat. Once the water starts boiling vigorously, add the cleaned peppers. Wait for 30 seconds or so, then transfer the peppers into an ice bath. That will stop them from getting cooked. All you need is to get the skin cooked. That will release the gases in the cell walls and make the skin more translucent; thus, makes the red color brighter. Boiling a large amount of water is to keep it from getting too cold when peppers are added.
A couple of jalapeño and bell peppers too are grown every year, and paprika in some years. Pickled jalapeños are our son’s favorite. They are usually not pressure canned. High temperature in the canner overcooks and makes them mushy. They are better crunchy. So, the sliced pieces are added to boiling pickling liquid (made with vinegar, water, salt, garlic and spices) and then removed from heat. When cooled, they are transferred to glass jars and kept in the fridge. They stay fresh for a month or two.
We had Leutschauer, a Hungarian paprika, this year. They were started a bit too late. So, they did not produce all that well. Whatever we harvested were dehydrated and made into powder. Being a mild pepper, its powder can be used for giving deep red color to some dishes, without making the dish too spicy.