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Home-grown chili powder

Start with mixed chile peppers, the fresher, the better. You want enough to make 1/2 cup of powder. Pull them right off the plant, strip out the seeds (but put them aside) and put everything through an air dryer.


Nibble them and guesstimate a mix that will give the desired degree of heat. Err on the mild side, because you're going to use 1/2 cup of chili powder for three pounds of meat, beans, or whatever. You can always grind some of the leftover seeds and add them later if you want to make it hotter.


Toast 1 T cumin seed in a bare metal skillet, stirring constantly, until it darkens 3 or 4 shades. If it smokes, toss and try again.


Add 1 t Mexican oregano.


Mix and grind to a fine powder. We use a food processor.


Notes: This chili powder doesn't substitute directly for store-bought chili powder which contains garlic and onion powder and salt. You'll need to add garlic and onions to most cookbook chili recipes.


HERE is a chili recipe based on our home-grown chili powder.


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Taken on August 15, 2008