Ever wonder how red pepper flakes are made? Or where they come from? Until recently I hadn’t really thought about it. I buy my red pepper flakes/ chile flakes from the grocery store in a bottle like I do with most of my spices.
In my weekly Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) box I found a full pound of cayenne peppers. Researching how to cook with them, I discovered Julia from Mariquita Farm’s photo essay on how to make red pepper flakes.
First, wash the peppers and pat them dry. Cut the peppers length-wise and take out the pith and seeds. Set oven at 200 degrees and place peppers skin side up, and let roast for about 6-8 hours until roasted, dark and dry. You’ll know the peppers are ready to be grinded when they become brittle.
Next, let the peppers cool a bit and put them in a grinder. You can use a coffee grinder, a food processor—whatever you have in your kitchen. Start by grinding just a little to see the size of flakes you get. The less grinding—the more flakey the result. The more you grind—the closer it’ll look to the powdered pepper you buy in a store.
These cayenne pepper flakes are nothing like the plastic store bought red pepper flakes. The color is a deep blood red, the flakes smell like fresh pepper, and the texture is like rock salt. And the taste…is incredible—deep, warm, mysterious—with just a touch of a rounded spiciness.
P.S Cayenne peppers rate about four out of ten in terms of heat.