Agriculture Reference
In-Depth Information
take care when harvesting, or indeed at any time you come in contact with the plant. Oils
from the peppers containing capsaicin, can transfer onto skin and clothing readily causing
burning. If small children or pets are around, ensure that the plants are caged to prevent
any accidental brushing. When harvesting, it is best to use disposable gloves and remem-
ber to bin these immediately after use (and before you decide to scratch that itch…). If you
do get a burning sensation on your skin after handling peppers, use rubbing alcohol on the
affected area, as this will help dissolve the capsaicin. Wash the affected area thoroughly
After harvesting, pat the peppers dry with some paper towels and store in paper
bags, or wrapped in paper towels. These can then be stored in the refrigerator for up to
2 weeks. Try not to store peppers in plastic bags, as this can cause the pepper to sweat,
hastening their spoiling. Alternatively peppers can be dried or frozen. To dry chiles, using
a needle and thread, string together your peppers and hang them in a warm, well ventil-
ated space to air dry. This should take approximately 4-6 weeks depending on conditions.
Alternatively you can dry them using an oven. Wash, core and de-seed the pepper, before
cutting into half-inch/three-quarter inch strips. Steam the strips for 10 mins before placing
on a baking tray at a low heat until the peppers become brittle. The dried peppers can then
be stored. Peppers can also be frozen down. Simply cut and prepare the pepper in the form
you would use for cooking (strips, cubed etc.) and place on a tray so that they aren't touch-
ing one another. Place into your freezer for 30-60 mins. Then remove the tray and place
the peppers into a freezer bag and return to the freezer until use (this tray-freezing step pre-
vents the peppers getting stuck together when frozen and makes it easier for you to separate
them afterwards). If using chiles, the heat of the chile will keep perfectly after freezing but
the texture will change somewhat, so bear this in mind when cooking.
Chapter 9 discusses how to store seeds for future use. If you plan on doing so, re-
member that the seeds will only be mature and be able to germinate the following year,
when the pepper has fully matured. Therefore for seed collection, allow the pepper to
achieve its fully ripe color, then allow it to sit on the branch for a further week or two be-
fore harvesting.
If you the first frost is approaching but you still have some unripened peppers on
your plants, please see the chapter 8 for details how to deal with the peppers and plant.
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