You can dry chili peppers in more than one way. If you find yourself with excess fresh chili peppers, then the best way to store them for a long time is to remove the moisture from them.
Drying peppers will increase and build up the flavor, natural sugars, and heat it holds. It also allows you to keep them for several months, or even years if stored properly.
Preparation Before Drying Peppers
Before you begin drying peppers, it is best to take some precautionary measures against hazards caused by its pungent fumes and irritants caused by capsaicin. Pepper fumes can cause harm not just to yourself, but to your kids as well.
If you plan to dry your peppers indoors like your kitchen, keep the area ventilated. Turn on your ceiling fan or open you kitchen windows. It is important to keep the air circulating to keep the fumes from affecting your eyes and nasal passages.
When handling peppers, always wear gloves. Keep your hands away from sensitive areas of your body like your nose, face, and eyes. Wash your hands thoroughly after handling the veggies.
To prepare your peppers, inspect them one by one. You need good quality peppers for drying.
Sort them and remove if they are:
- Have rotten smell
- Mushy or spoiled area
- White or grayish spots
Once you have sorted your peppers. Wash the good ones thoroughly with warm water. Pat dry the peppers with a kitchen towel.
Drying Peppers at Home
Once your peppers are ready, you need to decide how to dry them. You have several options for drying peppers, and it’s really up to you which method you want to use. Below are three of the most widely used methods of drying peppers.
Air-drying is the easiest and most convenient method of drying peppers but it is also the most time-consuming. You can air-dry peppers either indoors or outdoors. You can also do it two ways:
- by spreading or
- by hanging to dry.
To air-dry your peppers indoors, follow these steps:
- Slice your peppers in half. It is up to you if you want to remove the seeds or not. You can also remove or keep the stem. If you plan to turn the peppers into powder later on, it is best to remove the stem.
- Spread them out on a cookie sheet or a plate, and place it in a very dry and ventilated area where the sun can reach it. A windowsill exposed to sunlight is the best place to air-dry them.
Rotate the peppers to keep the dryness even.
- After one to two weeks, your peppers should show signs of dryness and brittleness. After three weeks, they should be completely dry.
To air-dry your peppers outdoors, follow these steps:
- Slice your peppers lengthwise in half. You may or may not remove the seeds.
- Drying outdoors requires that you check local weather, and make sure you have a sunny forecast for the next three days.
- Place your peppers on a cookie sheet and expose it to direct sunlight. Make sure you place it high enough, out of pets and children’s reach.
- Expose the peppers for at least 8 hours, turning the peppers over midway so you can expose both sides of the peppers.
- Come dusk, cover your cookie sheet with a clean towel or sheet to keep the bugs and other insects from eating or attacking the peppers. In the morning, you can remove the cover to expose them under direct sunlight again.
It takes about 2 weeks for peppers to dry outdoors. You can check if your peppers are dry by their brittleness. If they crumble in your hands, then they’re good to go.
Hang-dry the peppers
Another outdoor method is to hang-dry the peppers. Observe the following when you are using the hand-dry method:
- You need to keep the peppers whole if you plan to hang-dry them. String the peppers along the stem using a strong thread and needle.
- Make sure you do not clump the peppers. Make room for the peppers to air.
- You can hang-dry them by hanging both ends or by tying a single end of the string. If you tie just one end, make sure you put a stick at the end of the string to keep the peppers from sliding off.
- You need to cover or wrap the peppers at dusk to keep insects away.
Hang-drying peppers take 2 to 3 weeks to completely dry.
Drying peppers in a dehydrator
This is the quickest method of drying peppers, but you need to invest in a good food dehydrator to use this method. If you are planning to use this method, follow these steps:
- Slice your peppers in half.
- Place the peppers in the dehydrator rack. Make sure to maintain space between each pepper so air can flow properly.
- Set the temperature of the dehydrator between 135 and 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Let it dry for 8 to 12 hours, checking often to see if the small peppers have dried out. Larger sized peppers take longer to dry.
The seeds will most likely accumulate at the bottom of the dehydrator. You can use them as either seedling or include with the dried peppers.
Drying peppers in the oven
You can also dry peppers in the oven. Here is a great video that shows you how to dry peppers in the oven.
Thank you for the dried peppers image: PepperScale