I grow lots of things in my garden and I love is trying to grow new plants. One new thing I tried this year is hot peppers. I simply bought a mixed pack of hot pepper seeds just so I could find out what I liked and what I didn’t. The cayenne peppers are the first to mature.
Me, being the adventurous one I am, tasted one of these things right out of the garden. Bad idea! This thing had me running for some milk to put out the fire blazing in my mouth. After the shock, I knew I wanted to make these into my own red pepper flakes because a good batch of sufficiently spicy ones is sometimes hard to find.
I collected my peppers, cut them and removed a majority of the pith and seeds* (I wanted to keep some for the extra kick) and put them in the dehydrator over night. My mom bought this dehydrator at Costco on a whim and it does the trick. It is made for beef jerky, but I have never used it for that.
Anyway, I realize that many people do not have dehydrators, but never fear, your oven will work just fine. Set the oven to 200°F and place cut peppers on a baking sheet on a middle rack. Let them bake for 6-8 hours until they are brittle. Since you are using an oven they might come out a little darker than mine.
After the dehydrator or oven, I used a mortar and pestle to gently crush them into flakes. You can also use a food processor, which I think I will try next time. I think the food processor will allow me to create more consistent flakes using a pulse method instead of how I accidentally ground some up.
I had an empty spice bottle that I am hoping I will fill up by the end of the season!
*To remove pith (membranes) and seeds, slice the pepper vertically and part open. Then use the blade of the knife to scrape the inside of the pepper, always in a direction away from you and your fingers. Special note! Please don’t touch your face or eyes while doing this. I did that as a child and it is still a traumatic experience.