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Make your own seasonings and rubs

by Timber Press on February 1, 2017

in Food

Photos by the authors.

Drying is the oldest and geographically universal way to preserve pepper pods, and it works well for most peppers—except for the very meaty ones such as jalapeños, which are smoke-dried and called chipotles. Using dried peppers, store-bought or grown and preserved from scratch, you can add delicious heat to any dish.

Ancho Chile Dry Rub

Here’s a great rub to use on meats that will be smoked or grilled. Since anchos are sold in fairly pliable condition, place them in the oven on low heat until they are brittle Blend all the ingredients together in a spice mill or blender. Store in a glass jar.

  • 4 ancho chiles, stems and seeds removed, dried in the oven
  • 2 teaspoons whole white peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • ½ teaspoon celery seed
  • 3½ teaspoons cumin seed
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon annato seeds
  • 1½ teaspoons salt

Onza Rojo chiles in a market in Oaxaca.

Dry Jerk Seasoning

Jerk seasoning is actually a delicious, tropical way to season either pork or poultry; simply rub into the meat, marinate overnight in the refrigerator, grill (or bake), and then enjoy! Combine all the ingredients and mix well. Store in a glass jar.

  • 1 teaspoon dried ground habanero or cayenne
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground thyme
  • 2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves

Thai chiles in a Bangkok wholesale market.

Chile and Herb Salt Substitute

Use this recipe to replace salt in your diet or in any recipe you cook from. It tastes best, of course, when you grow and dry your own herbs, but commercially purchased dried herbs will work as well. Try this mixture on baked potatoes, pasta, and vegetables—and especially on corn on the cob. Place all ingredients in a mini-food processor and blend for 10 seconds or so. Put the mixture into a glass shaker jar and cover tightly until ready to use.

  • 4 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 4 tablespoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon dried tarragon (or pineapple sage)
  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dried dill weed
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon crushed, dried red chiles such as piquins, or 2 teaspoons New Mexican red chile powder


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