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 Post subject: Preserving ground hot pepper
PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:23 pm 
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I have some packets of South African hot pepper from our trip there last year. I opened one, and made a traditional South African spice rub for Peri-Peri chicken. My question is, how do I best preserve the mixed spice? I know that pepper (all ground spices) loose flavor once opened, but I would like to put it off as long as possible.

I have it in a shaker with a packet of dessicant gel (there are no "dry" places in Florida) in my spice drawer away from heat. I am trying to figure out the best thing to do with the shaker to preserve the heat and flavor. Freeze it? Put in a vacuum sealed jar?

I wouldn't normally go to such lengths, but it will likely be five years before we go back and it is something Asher just adores.

Thanks for any ideas!

--Lisa


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 Post subject: Re: Preserving ground hot pepper
PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 5:58 pm 
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Do you have a foodsaver? If so, make some packs using that, and then freeze it - it will last almost forever. I just found a small packet of thyme in a box, not even frozen (though I think it was originally), but the foodsaver pack was still sealed. The date was 4-04, so it was going on 5 years old (must have dropped out of my spice box I keep in the freezer for refilling from). I just got some recently from Penzey's, where I probably got that from, but that was ALMOST as good as the new! In fact, I took it to my Mom's and replaced her almost flavorless batch of thyme. No telling how old that was. :o

BTW, if you do have a FS, and are using the rolls, cut some into lengths then make 2 seals closeby on one end, using the highest setting. Then seal in the spice, using the highest setting again, then about 1/4 " apart from that, make another seal, using manual seal setting. Two seals will help prevent the occasional break in the single seal - something I do with most things I seal.

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 Post subject: Re: Preserving ground hot pepper
PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:09 pm 
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Thanks, Dave. I only made a small shaker though (2/3 of a spice jar). I may put the shaker in a resealable vacuum container and freeze it so I can use it at will and reseal.

As for the remaining unopened foil pouches we brought back should I freeze those as well? or are they okay as-is?

Thanks!

--Lisa


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 Post subject: Re: Preserving ground hot pepper
PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 7:21 pm 
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Great tip about the seals, Dave. I've been having trouble with my seals lately, probably due to the vintage of my machine.


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 Post subject: Re: Preserving ground hot pepper
PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:56 pm 
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Location: Chico, CA
I would food saver the original package before freezing. I always leave extra so I can reseal. I have also used the refrigerator version (with the ziploc) to freeze short term stuff. I put the stuff in a regular ziploc, get all the air out and then put that in the fridge foodsaver and vacuum seal. It does better than freezing the ziploc, though I would not use it for long-term freezing.

I date my Penzeys spices when I get them and freeze all that are not used regularly. I buy my garlic, smoked paprika, oregano, bay leaves, pepper and cinnamon in bags, so those get frozen and I refill the containers as needed. I foodsaver jars of stuff I seldom use. Being thrifty, I also save used foodsaver bags, wash them and then reuse them for the spice jars since they are fully enclosed. Less waste.

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 Post subject: Re: Preserving ground hot pepper
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 1:17 am 
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The only problem I have with sealing a jar in a FS bag is that if it (the jar) is well sealed, it may still have air in it, so oxidation could still take place, albeit slowly in the freezer. For this same reason, I puncture those original packets, like the foil packs lisa refers to, to release all of the air, so the spice becomes rock-hard, once the air is all sucked out.

I also save bags and strips of FS plastic, as long as no meat has touched it, or it is not wrinkled badly. I have two bags of scraps in all the junk over my MW.

I can't imagine where the myth started about freezing spices seriously altering their flavor. Maybe spice marketers, knowing that it will go bad faster at room temp?

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 Post subject: Re: Preserving ground hot pepper
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:39 am 
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Location: Chico, CA
Thanks Dave. The ones I've had so far have not had this problem, but I may just take them out and put them in bags. It will also take up less space which is a plus.
I don't ever reuse protein bags, wash the others thoroughly and dry them as well. I foodsaver some bags to keep them safe from punctures in the pantry until I open and move the contents to glass jars (mainly KAF stuff). So the stuff doesn't actually touch the bag. Had a bad experience with a new bag of cocoa that I put in the pantry intending to transfer, and then forgot when DH moved it. It got pressed against the corner of a box (which is how I found it). Hole was tiny, and it was wedged so tight none leaked out, but could have made a big mess.

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 Post subject: Re: Preserving ground hot pepper
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 10:31 am 
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Okay, lots of good information in this post. I think I will "loosely" tighten the jar and then FS it in the interest of an experiment to see how it holds up. I don't expect it to last forever. I think we will be eating a lot of Piri-Piri chicken over the summer.

I'm going to pinhole the remaining foil packets and then will FS them as well and get them in the freezer.

I appreciate all the ideas.

--Lisa


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 Post subject: Re: Preserving ground hot pepper
PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 12:37 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 8:41 pm
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Location: Near Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Lisa, I'm doing a Penzey's order and saw this:
http://www.penzeys.com/cgi-bin/penzeys/ ... iperi.html

not sure if it's close to what you have, but thought I'd mention it.


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 Post subject: Re: Preserving ground hot pepper
PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 3:20 pm 
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Hi Jean,

Thanks so much for thinking of me. As far as I can tell, their Berbere seasoning is what I was making with my spice mix and Peri Peri (AKA Piri Piri) peppers, but they aren't actually using Peri Peri peppers (which are a varietal), but instead they are using Cayenne. Although the mix is probably tasty and with a similar profile, now that I have my hands on real peri peri I won't be going back. :)

BTW, after all of this, bringing the pepper back to the States and trying to find the best way to store it, etc, I found this, conveniently now available by mail order. It is the same brand I brought back. >.<

--Lisa


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