Learn The Art Of Drying Peppers To Increase Their Storage Life
Chili pepper seasoning and flavoring is an integral part of almost all the cuisine cultures in the world. It is due to this high popularity that the cooking experts around the world came out with several ways of drying peppers so that they become usable for longer and better. The resulting dried peppers are even hotter and amazingly flavorful.
Lets us move ahead towards the article where we share the best methods to dry the chili peppers and other related info.
Types of chilies you can dry
The best way to preserve chilies is drying. The dried chili peppers are even more fiery and ferocious than the fresh ones. They have a better flavor and enhanced natural sugars.
You can dry almost all types of chilies for storage. Let us see which ones though:
Some basic preparations
The major alert here! Wear gloves before starting with drying hot peppers. Wash your hands properly later.
Note: The seeds carry the major part of pepper’s flavors. You can either keep them intact or remove them. These seeds can be dried separately too and used wholly or in the ground form later.
If you had a major Chili crop or bought a huge amount from the market, then it becomes important to preserve them nicely. This will let you enjoy the flavors year-round. Now, let's move to different ways you can go about drying peppers.
Dry the peppers in the oven
The very reason why a lot of people want to know how to dry peppers in oven is that the method gives super-quick results. Now, this method may last for several hours that will be different for different sizes of chilies. The thicker and larger peppers will dry up faster through this method than the thinner and smaller ones.
Chopped peppers will dry out faster. Now place them in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined up with parchment paper. Set the microwave on at 125 degrees or the lowest temperature of your oven for a few hours.
It may sound weird, but you must keep the oven door slightly open up to a few inches to let the moisture escape. After each hour, flip or rotate the chilies for even baking. Keep removing the baked ones to prevent over-roasting or worst, burning.
If you see the chilies turning black/brown, very hot, or soft, then know that the process is going well. Watch this video to understand better.
A side tip: Keep the seed side of the chilies up as they will dry faster and better this way.
Dry the peppers indoors
This method is apt to choose when you have ample time and patience to get the chilies dried up. You only need a baking sheet or a plate for this method. Start with dispersing the chilies in a single layer over the tray.
Now keep these at a place that is very warm and dry and receives a lot of sunlight. A window can be one such place. Your peppers will be dry and read in max 2 weeks.
If the peppers that you have taken are long ones, put them over a cooling rack. This enables proper air circulation and the peppers remain dry throughout. You can put the rack with peppers out under the sun on a few days when it’s too hot.
Make sure that you keep checking the peppers regularly for any sign of rotting. Keep rotating them for every side to receive equal drying. Remove the ones that get spoilt or soft.
Dry the peppers outdoors
This method is similar to indoor drying. You just have to spread the chilies over any tray or baking sheet and keep this load outside when the sun is glazing on a very dry day. Ample sunlight is a must.
You can also protect the peppers from insects by placing a screen over them.
Air drying the hanged peppers
You can even hang the peppers for advanced drying. You need a string for this on which you will be hanging the peppers. This method works best for thin peppers.
Take a needle, put the string into it, and start stringing the peppers together just like you sew the clothes. You have to put the whole chilies with stems intact and around an inch apart. Now tie the string to a toothpick on each side so that the peppers don’t slide off.
Now hang this chili string horizontally somewhere outside with a lot of air and sunlight.
Fun tip: After sewing the chilies, spiral them out. The arrangement will now look like a stunning Ristra. It also promotes even airflow.
Dry the chilies with a Food Dehydrator
Just like drying peppers in oven, a Food Dehydrator also hastens the process and makes it super easy too. Start with cutting the large or medium chilies as per the length. If they are small, let them be whole.
Now put the chilies on the tray of the Dehydrator at good space to promote even drying and air circulation. If there is a temperature setting feature in your equipment, set the temperature at around 135-145 degrees. Leave the peppers inside for almost 8-12 hours.
Keep checking the peppers at constant gaps and remove the ones that have dried. When the chilies turn brittle and completely dry, they are ready to be taken out and then stored.
Storing the dried peppers
Once you are done with drying chili peppers, there are few ways you can store them and use them. Let’s see how:
Now that you are done with drying peppers, go make chili oil, chili powder, or any type of seasoning with them. We assure you that the methods stated above are going to give amazing results. You will be then ready to make your recipes more flavorful with dried chili peppers!