The Creative Uses of Hot Peppers

Hot peppers seem to have a cult following. Hot Peppers, Acapulcos Mexican Family Restaurant and CantinaPeople either love hot peppers or they can’t handle them. There seems to be no in-between.

The uses for hot peppers run the gamut from cooking to garnishing to decorating. You can use hot peppers fresh, roasted, dried, canned… there’s no wrong way to use hot peppers. A delicious way to add a touch of heat to marinades and soups is to crack the hot peppers a touch (just a little to avoid releasing the seeds) and add them to the pot.

Dried hot peppers have the unique privilege of being used in wreaths and other decorations. In the kitchen however, you can mix dried hot peppers in a blender or food processor with good olive oil to drizzle on… well, quite frankly, to drizzle on just about anything.

As you could imagine, the many die-hard cooks and lovers of hot peppers prefer to use them fresh. However, among lovers of hot peppers, it is almost a unanimous opinion that even canned hot peppers are better than no hot peppers at all.

The article quoted below by Well Preserved shares an excellent use for hot peppers! Read on…

Infusing Vodka with Hot Peppers (Preserving Summer)

It is a great myth that preserving takes a long time or takes a great deal of skill.  Infusing is super easy and the results can be astounding.

To infuse Vodka with hot peppers, do the following:

  1. Place a hot pepper (whole) in a mason jar.
  2. Fill Mason jar with Vodka.
  3. Store in a cool, dark place for 3 days.
  4. Remove the pepper.  Straining is best as there could be some new solids within the jar.
  5. Say SHAZAM!

A few tips:

  • Don`t be afraid of heat.  You can dilute spicy Vodka with more Vodka if you`d like to make it milder (though wait a few weeks as it could get milder over that time – some of my fruit infusions have changed for months from medicinal to fantastical).
  • You can add garlic (use lots – up to a bulb for a 1-liter jar)
  • Experiment with different hot peppers.  We ran a series on Hot Peppers earlier in the year which concluded with a review of 9 different types of dried hot peppers.  Click on wellpreservedloveshotpeppers to view that series.
  • Every Hot Pepper – including ones on the same tree – will have different heat.  The Lexicon shows the range of heat for your reference and explains further.  Either taste the pepper you place in your vodka or take the risk – but recognize that different batches with the same number of peppers will have different heat.  If you make multiple jars you may consider mixing them for consistency.
  • Pickled Asparagus or Pickled Beans (you can use the same recipe) are awesome additions to any caesar.
  • We posted about infusing with fruit and then what to do when an infusion gets bitter.
  • You don`t need to make a liter.  Feel free to make micro small portions (i.e. 0.5 cup jars) but consider altering the portion of your peppers – there is no right or wrong other than your personal tastes.

Mexican food is widely believed to be extra spicy, when the fact is (while Mexico is known for its love affair with hot peppers) Mexican dishes are more flavorful than spicy. Here at Acapulcos Mexican Family Restaurants & Cantinas, we pride ourselves on the authentic Mexican taste of our food. Having said that, we too are fans of hot peppers and will happily “heat up” your dish anytime you’d like.

Visit any of our 12 Acapulcos locations in Massachusetts and Connecticut for a flavorful authentic meal, with or without the heat of hot peppers. We’re always happy to serve you!

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