I’ve never really been a fan of hot peppers – I’m not big on spicy foods. But it turns out, I just hadn’t found the right way to use them yet, and now that I have, I can’t get my hands on enough of them.
I have four things that I’m going to show you how to make over the next week, and they all call for dried hot peppers, so today, I’m going to start by showing you how to dry peppers.
Let’s get started!
What You Need:
Hot peppers (any variety will work)
A cutting board
A dehydrator (optional, but a big help. Scroll to the bottom of the post for instructions on drying without one)
First things first … don’t skip the gloves. The Capsaicin that gives peppers their heat can irritate your skin. A thick pair of kitchen gloves is ideal, but if you don’t have any, doubling up on latex gloves will also work (that’s what I did). Believe me, I’ve made the mistake of handling hot peppers ungloved, and you don’t want to go there.
Some people dry peppers in their oven, but I don’t recommend doing it that way. As the peppers dry, the Capsaicin will get into the air, and it can become extremely irritating to your eyes, nose and lungs. To avoid all of that unpleasantness, I just take my dehydrator out on the porch, and dry them in that. It works like a charm, and it gives me an excuse to get outside for a little while.
Here’s What You Do:
Wash and dry your peppers, and cut off their stems. If you’re working with larger peppers, like jalapenos, cut them in half lengthwise. This will help the peppers to dry out faster. But, don’t scoop out the seeds – they’re what give the peppers their heat, so you want to dry them, too.
Load your peppers onto drying trays, taking care to leave some space between each one. This will help them dry out faster.
Then, pop the lid on your dehydrator; flip the switch; and go about your day. Depending on the type of pepper you’re drying, and the weather, it could take anywhere from 24 hour to 72 hours for your peppers to dry. You want them to feel leathery and bone dry, so they’ll store well. My jalapenos were dry after 48 hours.
Transfer your peppers to an air-tight container. Shake the jar at least once a day for the next week. This will help to distribute any remaining moisture evenly through the jar, so they don’t mold.
Then, be sure to give your drying trays a good scrub to remove the pepper oils. You don’t want your other dehydrated foods to come out tasting like hot peppers!
And that’s really all there is to it. Stop back by to see what I’ve been making with my dried peppers. I think you’re going to be as geeked out by my latest diys as I am.
Need a dehydrator? I use two inexpensive Nesco dehydrators, and I’ve never felt the need to upgrade. I own an earlier version of this one.
Not interested in buying another appliance? You can also dry peppers by stringing them up in a warm, dry room. Just run a piece of string (unflavored dental floss works great) through their stems, and hang them until they’re dry. (If they’re big peppers, it helps to cut a slit up their sides, so the moisture has a way to escape.) Expect it to take at least three weeks for them to dry.