Pepper Wreath

Allen demonstrates how to create a chili pepper wreath - a fun twist on the traditional stringed peppers.

If you've ever grown chili peppers, you know it only takes a few plants to produce an abundance of the hot, fiery, fruits. It doesn't take many to satisfy my taste buds so I'm always looking for other creative ways to use the pepper harvest.

Since there are over two hundred varieties of chilies that range in many colors and sizes, they can add a bright spot to autumn arrangements. And since peppers dry so well, they are ideal for making an interesting chili wreath - just a variation on the traditional long strings of peppers.

I start with about two quarts of red chilies. I like the medium sized ones. Take a piece of twelve-gauge wire and wrap it around a clay pot to form the shape. Then twist one end as a hook so it will maintain its shape after the peppers are threaded. Use the other end of the wire to string the chili peppers. I lance each one near the cap and direct the ends in various ways. It helps to draw the peppers down tightly because they will shrink as they dry.

To protect yourself from the juice of the peppers, I recommend you wear gloves and you don't rub your eyes.

When you've filled the line completely, hook the wire together and tie on a raffia bow.

This dried wreath can be used in the kitchen simply as decoration or you can pull the chilies off and use them in cooking whenever needed.

Fresh chilies will last up to two to three weeks in the refrigerator but if they're crushed and dried, they have a shelf life of over two years. This is great way to take advantage of the pepper harvest.