Dehydrating hot peppers will ensure that you will always have this spice handy in and out of season. After drying, these condiments can last for more than a year under the right storage conditions. Under normal conditions without drying, they can last a few days to a week or a little bit longer in a refrigerator.
Before you start the drying process, you need to select pods that are good for drying. Some things to look for whether you are buying or reaping from your own garden:
The best flavors and longevity when dehydrating hot peppers depend a lot on selecting the best pods. While the drying method is important, if the fruits are of poor quality you will have spoilage. It is therefore important to pay as much attention to the selection process as you do to the drying and storage.
Safety is important throughout the process so you should consider wearing gloves, goggles and a dust mask. It is also a good idea to wear gloves during the preparation stage and to avoid touching the eyes or face. Before you start, you will need to remove the stems. Peppers give off strong fumes, so air circulation is important, especially if you are doing the drying indoors. Also, make sure to wash peppers before drying them.
Anyone who is interested in dehydrating hot peppers can use one of three methods. You can use a dehydrator, leave them out in the sun, or you can dry them in the oven. Whichever method you use, the peppers will not lose their potency. The main methods of drying hot peppers are:
This requires placing the peppers outside in direct sunlight, and you will need to:
If drying cut peppers, you will need to cover them with cheesecloth or other protective material to keep away insects and dust. If there is consistent sunlight, they will be ready in about 12 – 14 days. Depending on the weather conditions and the size of the peppers this time may vary.
You can dry them either whole or in halves when using the dehydrator, but cut pieces will dry quicker. When removing moisture using this piece of equipment, do the following:
This way takes a long time up to five or more hours, but it works. The basic steps for drying them in the oven are:
Some people who grow their own peppers try the air-drying method. This is the slowest method but it works well. One way to air dry peppers is:
Dehydrating hot peppers means a constant supply even when prices are high due to short supply. If there is a shortage, you will have this condiment to keep your meals spicy. Best of all, removing the moisture content can result in better tasting peppers and in some cases, can make them even hotter than when fresh.