Cayenne pepper paste is a delicious, yet simple way to spice up any dish. When the hot peppers are abundant or the harvest is plentiful, cayenne pepper paste is just one way to preserve this delicious and spicy gift of nature. Here is a staple we keep in our kitchen. Let's get started!
Sterilize glass canning jars as well as the lids by boiling them in water for 15 minutes.
The oven must be preheated to 250°F - 121°C only on the day after the prep work with the peppers. In our case, on the day of canning, our wood-fired oven had been used for baking bread and finally cooled down to a perfect temperature for drying the peppers overnight.
First step is to wash the cayenne peppers thoroughly, and allow them to dry on the countertop spread over a tea towel and rubbed dry. If dried in the heat of the sun, make sure to cover them with a cheese cloth to keep the insects off.
Once they have dried, remove the stems and tops from the peppers as shown in the video. Make sure to wear gloves when dealing with the hot peppers as they can burn your skin.
Cut the peppers in half longways.
Place the sliced peppers and seeds in a pot, cover them with the wine and vinegar. This mixture must always be one part vinegar, two parts wine, just enough to submerge the hot peppers.
Once the wine and vinegar mixture comes to a simmer, gently boil the peppers for about 8 minutes.
Drain the peppers and with the help of a potato press, make sure to remove most of the liquid as shown in the video.
Spread the peppers over a cooling rack, that is resting on a baking sheet. Transfer them in the warm oven, and allow them to dry overnight.
The following morning the peppers will have a rubbery, (not crunchy) texture and consistency as most of the moisture will have been removed.
Next transfer the peppers into a food processor and cream them into a chunky paste by pulsating while adding the olive oil, and salt. Be generous with the salt as it is a good preservative. Drizzle the olive oil into the food-processor as you continue to pulsate.
Carefully spoon the pepper paste into the sterilized glass jars provided with lids.
Once filled, top each jar generously with olive oil and secure each with a lid.
Wrap each jar with either news paper or cloth to keep them from knocking against each other, and place them into a large pot. Fill the pot with water until completely covered. Bring water to a boil and let simmer for 20 minutes. Once the water has cooled carefully remove the jars. Store them in a cool dark place. Once a jar has been opened, store in the refrigerator.
The pepper paste is now ready to eat! It can be served as a thin layer on a sandwich, or added to a variety of dishes such as pasta or soups thus adding a spicy and delicious flavor. Enjoy!