How to make your own chili pepper flakes:
I used all the chili peppers I grew in my garden and bought some as well from my local Farmer’s Market.
Test the pepper to make sure it is a hot chili pepper (before you dry it), by taking a tiny nibble.
If your goal is to make one cup of crushed red pepper flakes, you will need 71 Serrano peppers.
I dried half of mine in my kitchen, strung up and out of the way.
Directions from stringing up chili peppers
Use a large needle and kitchen twine; pierce the pepper through the stem to ensure the fruit stays intact. String up your chilies in a cool, dark, dry as can be environment. This will ensure a mold-free dehydration. Usually, it takes about four months for a fully dried out chili with no preserves, chemicals or treatments.
Once the chilies are thoroughly dried, remove them from the stem by a simple twist and tug. Pat the chili peppers dry with a towel, to ensure the removal of dust or clinging particles.
I also dried some in the oven. If using the oven method, turn it on to 170ºF or a low setting.
Directions for drying chili peppers in the oven
Using a knife carefully cut off the pepper stems. Then, slice the peppers by simply splitting them in half. Don’t remove the seeds.
**Wash hands after handling the chili peppers and do not touch your eyes or mouth until you have thoroughly washed your hands.
To roast the peppers, I used a stainless steel pan but you could also use glass Pyrex dishes. Line the peppers side by side and avoid clumping them together, otherwise, they won’t dry properly.
Bake in the oven for approximately six hours. To be sure they get enough time to dry, set a timer. Once six hours have passed by, turn off the oven and allow the dried peppers to remain in the oven overnight, so they will continue to dry and dehydrate.
Making the chili pepper flakes
Place the dried peppers in a food processor or coffee grinder. I recommend wearing a mask over your nose and mouth, for protection from the chili pepper dust that comes out from the food processor. Working near a fan-extractor is a great idea.
Once the dried peppers have been thoroughly crushed/minced, carefully pour them into an airtight glass container for storage.
**Be careful when handling chilies. Avoid contact with anything but the soap after handling chilies. They can be very, very hot and will burn your eyes nose or mouth and even skin if concentrated chilies come into contact.