powders in the kitchen

Leggi questo post in: Italiano

i’ve kidnapped my father-in-law’s mini food processor and i’ve been using it a ton in the kitchen! let me start by telling you about something i’ve already been doing for a few years (learned from my father-in-law): powdered chili pepper.

every so often someone will give us some chili peppers in the form of either long red peppers or a plant. and every so often i buy them. unfortunately they bother my husband’s stomach, so i can’t cook with them. but i can always add a bit of the powder to my plate.

how do you make it? first of all dry the pepper *very* well. if they’re not perfectly dried, they won’t turn into a nice powder and will go bad. if they’re not well-dried, you can put them in the oven a bit. when i have to, i put them in the oven after having turned it off after cooking something else so as to not waste electricity. break them into pieces and dump them into the food processor. *very important!* if your food processor’s cover has little holes like in the above photo, please cover those holes with a piece of heavy paper or something like that. i can promise you that even the tiniest bit of this powder comes out of those holes, it’ll go straight into your eyes and burn like… well, you know what! oh, and also don’t lean over the appliance after taking off the cover because if you accidentally breathe in a bit of that powder in the air, you will get a very painful burning cough. trust me, i learned this the hard way.

(and yes, those are two different mini food-processors. the one in the first photo ended up not working well, so i finished the job up with the other one.)

grind, grind, grind super well…

…and put the powder into a little jar. when you need it, just take a bit out with the tip of a knife and add it to your dish. (do not try to shake a little out of the jar because you know very well that you’ll end up in the hospital after having eaten half the jar that will have fallen out all at once! or in the best situation, you’ll have to throw out the contents of your plate.)

ok, now powder number two! i saw this idea both here and in the book vivere in 5 con 5 euro al giorno by stefania rossini (a great book which i’ll write about soon)… citrus fruit powder (orange powder in the photo above).

we are once again in the midst of the mega citrus fruit season here in southern italy, and we’re lucky enough to get a lot of organic fruit. normally i use the peels to make liquors, such as arancello and limoncello, but we already have tons of those! so i decided to use the peels in a new way for me. and it’s super easy! first wash and dry the outside of the fruit well and then remove only the outer peels  with a vegetable peeler, trying to remove as little white part as possible.

you can dry them out in the oven, but i preferred drying them out in bowls on top of the hot radiators.

doing it that way, they dry out wonderfully in about 3 days.

then put the super-dried peels in the food processor, grind very well and dump the powder in cute little jars. but before you put them in the jars, it’s absolutely necessary to stand there sniffing the powder for a few minutes, sticking it (still in the food processor) under the nose of anybody who happens to be in the vicinity. if you’ve used good fresh fruit, you cannot imagine what an intense and stunning scent this powder has!

aren’t they pretty?! the darker one is mandarin orange, which is too bitter for my taste and i won’t be making again. the regular orange-colored one is orange, which is quite nice, but the one that stuns everyone the most is the lightest-colored powder made from grapefruit peels. it’s scent and flavor is sweeter than the other two. you just need a tiny bit of this powder to add a little zing to your food (don’t go overboard or else it’ll be bitter), for example fish, meat, desserts, cheese. or you can mix it with salt (or even better, grind up the salt with the powder in the food processor) to make flavored salt.

in the past i’ve made many types of marmalades (orange/lemon and lemon/ginger) with our excess citrus fruit, but this year we’ve been eating masses of mandarin and regular oranges, making lots of freshly-squeezed juice and i also healed a bad cough and sore throat drinking lemon infusions with manuka active honey, a honey from new zealand with antibacterial and therapeutic properties. what a wonderful medicine!

10 thoughts on “powders in the kitchen”

  1. Wow Lisa, che post interessante! Io adoro il peperoncino e quando andiamo in Basilicata ne approfitto per fare scorte. A me piace aggiungerlo, secco, all'olio di oliva. Adoro vedere l'olio che si trasforma e diventa rosso. Lo uso nelle zuppe, nella pasta e fagioli o anche solo per condire gli spaghetti.
    Però non ho mai fatto la polvere e stasera tirerò fuori il tritatutto


  2. anche noi mettevamo il peperoncino secco nell'olio per fare "l'olio santo" e com'era buono! non so perché non l'abbiamo più fatto. ma ora so che cosa fare con i peperoncini che ho ancora non tritati! grazie per avermelo ricordato! 🙂

  3. How fun! Is there a big taste difference between your fresh chili powder versus store-bought? I'm sure the answer is YES — I just wish I could taste-test myself! And I'm intrigued by the citrus powders. I bet that must taste fabulous on greens — to add a bit of zest!


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