String Up Your Bounty of Hot Peppers

Cayenne peppers grew so well this year we probably have enough for the next five years or more. Of course we’ve shared with friends, but how many strings of hot peppers does one kitchen need?

Hot Peppers Hanging in the Kitchen
Hot Peppers Hanging in the Kitchen

Hanging a collection of peppers is a nice way to display the colorful fruits and have easy access to them while cooking. By stringing them up the peppers will have room enough to dry out and not mold. If you have lots of counter space you could just dry them on a tray making sure to turn them every day. Just throw away any that turn black- not so appetizing. If you’re short on places to put a tray of peppers for a couple of weeks, try stringing them up. It can be a fun way to get the kids to help out with the end of the growing season chores.

Colorful Peppers in the Kitchen
Colorful Peppers in the Kitchen

All we need is a needle and thread, the peppers, and a way to hang them up. Pierce the cap of the pepper with a double-threaded needle having a knot in the end. Oh, if you haven’t done any sewing this may be new to you.

How to Double-Thread A Needle

Cut a long piece of thread at least twice as long as the final size of the strung up peppers. I used white polyester thread as it seemed stronger than the cotton thread, but you could use any kind that you have available. Thread the needle and pull the two ends of the string to the same length.

Hold the needle in one hand so that you can keep the lines taut. Use your other hand to make a knot by first holding both ends of the thread between your thumb and index finger. Then, wrap both ends around the index finger once and use your thumb to roll the threads off your index finger. As you roll the threads off your finger they get twisted together.

Form a knot by grabbing the loops of string with the middle finger and thumb. Pull the needle end taut and you should get a double-threaded needle with a knot in the end. If at first you don’t succeed, try it again. It’s quick and easy once you do it a few times. I remember learning this in third grade for a holiday craft project, so I know you can do it too!

The knot formed in this way is large enough to keep the peppers from falling off – even when they’ve dried. You can always make an overhand knot with the two ends, but I would double the knot to make sure.

String Up Your Peppers

Keep adding peppers in the same fashion in any combination you like. Mix the colors or make one string all green and another all red. Mix up the varieties of peppers if you have more than one kind. We strung up cayenne peppers and chile peppers on separate threads. Their beautiful reds and greens now decorate the kitchen where they hang for easy access.

So, what did we do with the left over dried peppers from last year’s harvest? After those peppers were dried out they were placed in a quart-sized mason jar in the kitchen. Some were left whole and others were put in the blender, crushed to flakes, and transferred to a shaker jar. While this year’s harvest is hanging out and drying, we used the dried peppers to make flakes for table use and for cooking.

Dried hot peppers retain their heat for quite some time, so we rely on them as a non-toxic pest deterrent too.