If you grow chillies you’ll know that each plant produces a lot of fruit! Whether you grow chillies indoors or in the tropics, and no matter what variety, your harvest should be plentiful if you have good soil, water, and warmth. For me, chillies grow as a perennial, I have fresh chillies every day of the year. But what to do with all those excess chillies. Here are my best ideas!
Chilies are possibly my favourite plant to grow in the tropics because they’re just so easy! Some varieties of chilli do struggle here in the cooler winter months, and very rarely, die as it gets colder. Most varieties of chillies grow as perennials for me, becoming very large plants or bushes, covered in hot pepper fruit.
What To Do With Your Chillies After Picking
Fresh chillies, once picked, store quite well in the salad or crisper drawer of your refrigerator. After a few days, they’ll either start to dry out or become inedible and mouldy.
I’ve kept home-grown chillies in the fridge for over a year, they fully dried out and I later planted the seeds. Those seeds germinated with no problems at all.
A refrigerator will buy you a few days to think about what to do with your chilli crop. Here are some great things to do with your chillies once ripe and picked. You can also pick them green of course, for a slightly different flavour.
Red chillies taste more fruity, green chillies taste a little grassy. We did a blind taste-test to establish this!
- Sell them
- Give them to friends and family.
- Sun dry them.
- Dry them in an air dehydrator.
- Dry them in a food dehydrator.
- Dry them in the oven.
- Dry them in an air dryer.
- Once dried, smash them into chilli powder or flakes.
- Ferment them.
- Pickle them.
- Make pickle rings for sandwiches or burgers.
- Spice up your other ferments.
- Use them raw on many dishes, finely chopped.
- Make Bhutanese chili cheese, ema dhatshe.
- Put them in your home-fermented kimchi.
- Add them to literally any savoury cooked dish.
- Stuff them, particularly larger types.
- Make hot sauce.
- Make cowboy candy.
- Make fire cider.
- Make spicy chutneys, sambols, and relishes.
- Make chili jam.
- Make chili oil.
- Make herb oils and butters with a little kick!
- You can freeze fresh chillies, I’d chop them first so they’re ready to use or at least take the green tops off.
- Remove their seeds and replant them.
- Can you can them? I don’t know, I don’t can as I don’t need to. As cooking destroys some vitamins, this wouldn’t be my preservation method of choice.
- Put them onto your compost pile to fertilise your soil.
- If you chop and drop them, be ready for a lot of new plants! Those seeds will grow.
Are you starting to see the possibilities? There really are endless uses for chillies and as they’re packed with nutrients, particularly vitamin C, adding chillies to your food must be a good thing? Right? Fermenting them adds even more benefits.
I’m going to be adding my own recipes to this site shortly. Have fun growing and preserving chillies!