Sunday, July 8, 2007

Drying Seeds

Drying pumpkin seeds and roasting seeds are two different processes. To dry: carefully wash pumpkin seeds to remove any pumpkin flesh. Pumpkin and squash seeds can be dried in a dehydrator at 115-120°F for 1 to 2 hours, or in an oven set on warm for 3 to 4 hours. Stir them frequently to avoid scorching.

To roast the dried pumpkin seeds, toss with oil and/or salt and roast on a cookie sheet in a preheated 250°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

Sunflower seeds usually are left on the flower to dry. The flower may need to be wrapped with cheesecloth or old clean pantyhose to prevent birds and squirrels from eating the seeds. Seeds may be dried in the sun or in a dehydrator at 100°F for 3 to 4 hours. Again higher temperatures yield flavorless seeds. When seeds are dried, they can be roasted in a shallow pan at 300°F for 10 to 15 minutes. Salt after roasting.

Thin-skinned hot chilies or peppers dry quite nicely at room temperature. Select mature, red Cayenne peppers or other thin-skinned variety. Wash and dry each pepper.

Use a large sewing needle with white string or thread and tie a knot at the end. Push the needle through the stem/cap of each chili and string the chilies alternately left and right forming a long row. Tie a loop on the end.

Suspend the chilies inside a labeled and dated paper bag with several air holes, gather top of bag around chilies with the loop exposed.

Secure with a rubber band and hang the bag in a well-ventilated room, basement, attic, or back porch. When dry the pods will look shriveled and deep red. This takes about two to three weeks. Use peppers crushed or whole. They will keep their flavor and color for about a year to eighteen months. Wash hands with plenty of soapy water after handling fresh or dried hot chilies; their oils can irritate eyes, finger tips and/or sensitive skin.

Note: Bell and wax peppers that are thick-skinned or sweet peppers are not recommended for the string method at room temperature. They will not dry fast enough and will mold and decay. For these, use a dehydrator or freeze, no pre-treatment necessary.

Good luck drying, roasting and tasting.

2 comments:

McBunni said...

Ems, this blog is awesome! ....and it matches your other one.

Herr Krokodil said...

Emma,

I use to grow pumkins. Currently I have watermelons. Funny aye, white guy growing watermelons.