‘Putting by’

Buying “fresh” produce from halfway around the world in the dead of winter (or any time of year for that matter) is problematic for a number of reasons.  Our great grandparents understood that certain foods were simply not not available out-of-season.

“Putting food by” or preserving, can be accomplished by several methods, including root cellaring, salting, canning, pickling, curing and drying.

1 dozen large fresh jalapenos, cored, split and seeded.

Into the stove-top smoker over medium heat; close the lid just as the wood chips begin to smoke. Do you see the wisps of smoke coming from both ends of the pan?

Don’t want to cook them too much, just long enough that they begin to brown around the edges.

Straight into a pre-heated dehydrator.  Those are tomatoes drying on the rack below.

Here are the smoked, dried peppers after about 24 hours. You can store them just like this in an airtight container, or pulverize and store in a spice jar.

In either case, watch the jars closely for a couple of days to make sure there isn’t any moisture present.  At the first sign of condensation, you must immediately re-dry the goods or risk spoilage.  If everything looks good after a few days, the peppers will keep indefinitely.

Lots of things are suitable for drying, including tomatoes and herbs.