Why not grow your own? If you buy a few so-called “spice pepper” plants in the spring, you can have a year’s worth of amazing dried hot and/or aromatic peppers to perk up all sorts of dishes. Peppers can be grown in the ground or in pots and if you’re quick enough in the fall, they can be considered perennials if you bring your plants or pots indoors before the frost and be careful to keep them moist.Every year, I grow a world of spice peppers: Aleppo from Syria, Urfa Biber from Turkey, Kalocsa Paprika from Hungary, Pasilla Apaseo from Mexico, and then some. This year I added a few new ones from Trinidad, Korea and Brazil. What I mean by spice pepper is a variety that is typically dried, pulverized and used in pinches or small spoonfuls.
I get my plants (or seeds) from Cross County Nurseries since it’s close enough for me to drive to but you can also order online from their website chiliplants.com for shipment to your house. Start planning now for a January order.To dry peppers, you simply need to wipe them with a cloth (or if you have to wash them, let the surface air dry for half a day), trim and cut them in slices, with or without the seeds, which hold the most heat. Place them in a dehydrator (or an oven on super low) and let them dry very thoroughly for a few hours before cooling and pulverizing them to store in an airtight jar in a dark cupboard. Even the homegrown spices in my drawer that are a year old (whoops) are more flavorful than any jarred paprika from the grocery store.
So simple, so great.