Are you bored of eating bland food? You can spice up your meals with crushed red pepper flakes. They are also known simply as 'red pepper flakes'. These days it is also widely known as 'pizza pepper', as it has become as standard as salt and pepper on tables at Italian restaurants and more so in pizza parlors. It is commonly used in pickling, sausages, sauces, soups, marinades and not to forget omelets. The heat of this spice has special affinity for all that is creamy such as cheese, cheese sauce or cream soups.
Crushed flakes are made from hot dried red pepper, which is crushed. Normally cayenne pepper is used to make the flakes as it is spicy and hot. The percentage of seeds in this pepper is very high, which also makes for a very hot spice addition to foods. Actually seeds are the ones, which intensifies the heat of the pepper.
How to Make Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
Do you have a garden and grow peppers in your garden? Chances are high, that you will have more peppers, than you actually use. There are two options you can utilize to store the excess peppers produced in your garden. Either you can freeze the excess or dry the peppers to make crushed red peppers.
Do not think, that if you do not have homegrown pepper, you will not be able to make crushed red pepper. Crushing red pepper from store bought peppers is also possible and it will give your foods the same dash of spice you want. To make crushed red pepper at home, you can make use of any variety of red peppers. It is better to experiment and mix various types of red peppers to find the taste, which suits your palate the best.
- Spread red peppers in a single layer on a baking sheet.
- Dry the pepper at the lowest temperature in the oven for 8 hours or overnight.
- If you live in dry climate, you can place the pepper in the sun for the whole day for drying. After several days of drying the pepper in air, your chilies are ready to be crushed into flakes.
- Remove the red peppers from the oven, when the pepper is dry and brittle.
- Fill the dried pepper in a gallon sized freezer bag and put the freezer bag in an old pillow cover.
- Crush the peppers using a rolling pin. Applying pressure on roll pin, as you roll it over the bag.
- Remove the pepper from the bag, when the pepper is crushed as fine as you would like and store it in a container with a shaker top.
- Store any extra flakes in a storage bag or jar with a tight fitting lid.
- If you do not store the crushed pepper in an air tight container, chances are high, that they will become moist and would not taste the same.
In case you are going to use bell pepper to make crushed red pepper, quarter the pepper before you place it in the oven. It is not recommended, you remove the seeds from red pepper flakes, while crushing, as the seeds is where the heat in the peppers is. Using blender or food processor to crush pepper is not a good idea, as you may end up with more powder as compared to flakes, that you are looking forward to. If you have sensitive skin, use rubber gloves, when you are handling peppers for an extended period of time, as you may end up with burning hands.