How To Make Ancho-Chili Powder

Reader Contribution by Ilene White Freedman
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So you want to know how I made homegrown-homemade Ancho-Chili Powder? It took a year to make. Here’s the timeline:

Spring 2013: buy Ancho-Chili Powder for making chili, and enjoy it. I used quite a bit of it. Think to self: hey, I grow peppers, bet I could make my own. This was the moment of inspiration. The moment of inspiration is an important part of the steps it takes to make something, right? So this was the beginning.

December 2013: Its seed-ordering time. Catalogues are on the kitchen table and piled on the coffee table. Lists are being made, reflections on what to keep, what to drop. What to add. “Hey, Phil, order some ancho pepper seeds. I want to make some chili powder.”

April 2014: Plant seeds in a tray. Add water and sunlight, the works.

May 2014: Plant seedlings into the garden. Wish them luck.

July 2014: Harvest green Ancho-Chili peppers, they are called Poblanos when fresh. Grill em. Leave some on the vine to ripen. For chili powder.

September 2014: The peppers are starting to ripen to red. Harvest the red ones. (Wear gloves when cutting them open! I learned the hard way, with burning skin for a day.) Cut the peppers open, clean out the seeds, slice into thin strips, dehydrate in dehydrator until they snap in half. Bendy is not ready.

Blitz into powder in a coffee grinder dedicated to herbs, a Vitamix or other high power blender, or a food processor. Store in a glass jar in a dark place (spice cabinet).

October 2014: Make my first crock of chili with homegrown homemade ancho chili powder! 

Ilene White Freedman operates House in the Woods organic CSA farm with her husband, Phil, in Frederick, Maryland. The Freedmans are one of six 2013 Mother Earth News Homesteaders of the Year. Ilene blogs about making things from scratch, putting up the harvest, gardening and farm life at Mother Earth News  and, easy to follow from our Facebook Page. For more about the farm, go to

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