I am not afraid of flavor. I enjoy food that is bold and rich in taste, and I also enjoy some heat in my dish. Of course I stock all the usual kitchen spices including various types of chili powders, cayenne pepper, Cajun and creole spices, Chinese red pepper, and an assortment of other heat related sauces and powders, but nothing kicks it up a notch like this crazy mixture of assorted peppers.
I begin in the fall collecting peppers of every kind. Habanero, serrano, thai hot, cayenne, red chili, cherry red, hungarian wax, jalapeno, anaheim, paprika red, italian cherry, ancho, and whatever else I can get my hands on. Just a few of each will yield a lot of chili powder. For drying I use some of my bamboo steamer baskets, placing the peppers in single layers with space around them for air to circulate. These baskets work great as the bamboo allows the moisture to escape and they stack up to save space. I let the peppers dry for about 4 months to make sure all moisture is gone.
I begin by putting on some latex gloves, this is most important. I get my gloves at Rite Aid. I like the fit and the feel of the medical glove for my projects, the bulk boxes are cost effective and they come in different sizes because really, one size does not fit all. I trim all the stems off of the peppers with a sharp knife, being sure to discard peppers that show any sign of mold or mildew. There are always a few that do not seem to dry properly. Toss them and move on. I use my small cuisinart food processor to grind the dried peppers into powder. Working in batches, I fill the bowl about half full of peppers, seeds and all and grind, grind, grind. For storage, I remove labels from empty spice jars I save. The Container Store also offers an impressive selection of jars in different sizes and shapes which can also make great gifts.