Let the Sun work - Red Pepper Flakes & Dried Limes

>> Saturday, 10 July 2010

It has been so hot these days - but while I retreat indoors with the fans working overtime, I've been letting the sun do some work! Drying hot peppers to make pepper flakes and experimenting by drying limes! Read this week's column to learn more about red pepper flakes and how to go about making your own.

I dried three types of peppers to make 3 sets of pepper flakes, each with varying degrees of heat.

As you know, my love for food is universal. A couple of years ago, I had my first taste of Persian food and fell in love - again. One of the dishes I had was Qormeh Sabzi - an stew of herbs, lamb and kidney beans flavoured with dried limes (more about this in future column). That was my first experience tasting and eating dried limes... and it was heavenly.

Knowing that I would be experimenting with cooking Persian food, I bought a packet of dried limes while on my travels, but that soon ran out. I decided that I'd try drying my own limes. The experiment was successful but I found that it took way too long for the limes to dry - almost 3 months (sun-drying). At the end of the 3 months, I ended up with only half of the number of limes I originally set out to dry. Some of the limes started to rot during the drying process and were discarded. I think I'll buy at least 2 packets the next time so that I'll have enough to last me for a while. Once dried, the limes can last for up to 2 years! I read somewhere that the limes are boiled first then set to dry but I put mine to dry soon after picking.

Tis the season for making pickles, let them cook in the sun too!

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