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Crumbling dry peppers

I seem to have developed an allergic reaction to dry peppers, so crumbling dry peppers with my bare hands is not a good idea. I see a few options:

(a) use surgical gloves -- a hassle, and a waste of gloves unless I manage to re-use them. Plus the flakes stick to them.
(b) Put the pepper inside a small plastic bag and crumble from outside. (This sort of works, but not great).
(c) Pestle and mortar -- didn't work well for me in a Le Creuset stoneware one, maybe I do not have the right pestle.
(c) Give up on dried peppers :-)

Any other idea? Many thanks! -- CF

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    or a coffee grinder might work

    the first option won't work if you mean whole dried peppers rather then chili flakes which I realize now you probably mean, which puts me back to coffee grinder suggestion

    1. A $10 coffee grinder. Just don't use it for coffee also.

      1 Reply
      1. I agree with TeRReT. I don't know exactly what dried pepper you use. I actually use some dried habanero peppers. I do like to cut them with a knife first -- especially if I want to de-seed them. After that, I put it in an inexpensive blade coffee grinder.

        Because you said you have allergic reaction to the pepper.... you will still need to use gloves while cutting them with a knife or even just to transport them in and out of the coffee grinder.

        (From time to time, I also wear gloves too, especially when I apply the dried pepper on the meat and rubbing on it. Otherwise, I can feel pain in my fingernail bed -- it gets in there)

        1. Once had a messa jalapenos and knew they'd just go bad before I'd ever use them. Wore GLOVE, sliced stems of and cut lengthwise. Then into cheap food dehydrator till crispy... time?? I ran them thru the food processor to get a coarse powder that's a nice sub for cayenne or black pepper in herb mixes/rubs. NOTE: put a damp towel over top of processor and do NOT immediately pull lid off... had a POOF of jalapeno dust iin the air that set off a long coughing/sneezing fit!!

          1 Reply
          1. re: kseiverd

            <o NOT immediately pull lid off... had a POOF of jalapeno dust iin the air that set off a long coughing/sneezing fit!!>

            Ha ha ha. I remember this happened to me as well -- now that you mentioned it.

            But then, this exactly proves the coffee grinder works well -- able to produce flakes small enough that can go airborne.

          2. When I need to crumble small chilies like the hontaka or thais I just drop them in a plastic sandwich bag and crush away until I get the size I want.

            1. Depending on the pepper, i put into a heavy duty small freezer bag, then the freezer bag into a brown lunch bag, and run a rolling pin over it several times, shake the bag, rolling pin again, etc.

              1. Thanks for all the ideas! I am mostly using largeish dried whole peppers, not very hot: guajillo, ancho, nora, ... I do have a Krups grinder that I only use for spices, so I'll try it. Also using a rolling pin with a bag seems a good idea. -- CF

                2 Replies
                1. re: careme_fan

                  I have used a coffee grinder for dried chiles like ancho, but the result isn't very fine. It is easier to just buy them already ground in the Mexican cello packets. Guajillo in particular has a tough skin. The grinder works best if the chiles are brittle dry, as opposed to leathery.

                  More often I soak the chiles, and separate out the pulp (with a food mill if quantity is enough).

                  1. re: careme_fan

                    i wouldn't use the same grinder for the peppers if you actually ingest the spices you grind in there. that's a great way to make yourself sick through cross-contamination.

                  2. Disposable latex gloves would be my pick. They're a basic supply here because often in use for potting up plants, soil mixing, etc. [For those sensitive to latex, I think the looser clear food prep gloves would work; definitely quicker to get on and off.]

                    These days I don't handle fresh peppers without them. I've begun to use them when de-seeding dried peppers, too, because I find I can work much faster (plus the time saved hand-washing before going on to anything else). For me, at least, plastic bags wouldn't provide the same full use of hands, our best tools, and would cancel out the time savings.

                    I feel okay about this relatively small addition to the waste stream, given how much we've cut down in the last few years on packaging, disposables, etc., and given the benefits of the gloves in speed and safety.