If you grow Carolina Reapers, you probably aren't going to eat them whole. They're way too hot! While Carolina Reapers can't kill you, using too much can definitely make your head feel like it's burning off! So, since a little bit goes a long way, we think the best way to preserve our Carolina Reaper chile pepper harvest for year-round use is by drying out your chiles and making Carolina Reaper Powder!
Carolina Reaper Powder Recipe:
Pick your ripe Carolina Reapers you grew from seed.
You can also make powder from any chile. including hot peppers or sweet peppers like the famous Paprika pepper. Carolina Reapers are ripe after they turn nice and red (or yellow when growing the Yellow Carolina Reaper.) If you you can't grow your own, find a gardening friend to grow them. You may also be able to find some super hot peppers at the specialty grocer or local farmer's market and stands if you're lucky! This also works to make any type of hot chile powder, so habaneros and jalapenos and other peppers work, too, they're just not as hot as the Reaper.
Dehydrate your Carolina Reapers
You can slice and dry them on a tray the sun, or you can use a Dehydrator to dry out your peppers. Here are other clever ways to dry peppers without a dehydrator. We recommend slicing up Carolina Reaper peppers to help them dry out faster.
How long does it take to dry out the peppers?
Let them dry long enough until they are brittle and break apart easily, you want to make sure they're totally dry. How long it takes depends on where you are at, how you dry them (for example, if you cut them first they dry faster) and where you put them. It can take 6-48 hours if you cut them up and set them in the sun depending on the humidity. The best thing to do is test them periodically to see how dry they are – once they're brittle and you don't feel any moist or flexibility to the peppers, they're ready. Make sure to use gloves when handling the Carolina Reaper or any other hot peppers!
Grind up the dried Carolina Reapers
You can use a coffee grinder, a mortar and pestle, or even a food processor. We recommend doing it outdoors, and to put a damp towel over the coffee grinder or processor to keep the dust at a minimum, it's crazy stuff! You can even wear a mask! Keep the dust from getting into your eyes and nose. You can grind it to a fine powder, or you can also leave it less grinded to use as pepper flakes. We usually get a combination of powder and flakes when we use our food processor, which all works for us!
Salt or Spice Blend Option:
To extend your powder and give it even more flavor, you can add salt, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, or other dried spices. This also helps to "water" down the heat so it's easier to use in moderation, and by bulking it up, it helps your precious homegrown hot pepper powder last longer when using often in the kitchen.
Store and use your Carolina Reaper Powder year-round!
Use a funnel to put into a spice jar and store out of light in a dry place. Then sprinkle into salsas, soups, stews, green chile, or anything you want to spice up. But be careful, the stuff is potent!!
Use Carolina Reaper Powder to make Hot Sauce:
Bonus: You can also use powder to make instant hot pepper sauce! Just add vinegar and salt to taste.
10 tsp water
10 tsp white vinegar
4 tsp Carolina Reaper powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder (optional)
Below are some homegrown Carolina Reaper chiles in the middle of a dehydrator tray filled with the spicy Goat Horn Chiles, getting ready to be ground up in the food processor!