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METHODS TO DRYING PEPPERS  

Preparing your peppers for drying

Before drying your peppers here is a few things you must know:

  • Warmed peppers will give off pungent fumes that will irritate the eyes. So keep your peppers in a well-ventilated area. It is ideal to have some sort of fan or window to help keep the air circulating in the room.
  • Always wash your hands thoroughly after touching hot peppers. Make sure not to touch your eyes, nose, or any other sensitive area of your body after handling
  • Inspect the peppers you wish to dry and discard if they have:
    • Soft, mushy, or spoiled areas
    • White, grayish, or diseased looking spots
    • Have a questionable odor

Now you are ready to prepare your peppers for drying.So start by washing the peppers with room temperature water and dry thoroughly with a cloth towel

Drying in a food dehydrator

This is one of the easiest and quickest ways to dry peppers. Just make sure your food dehydrator has a fan in it because the circulating air provides the quickest results.

Now you have your choice on how you would like to dry your peppers. You can either cut off the stems and slice the pepper lengthwise in half and set on the tray. This will give you your quickest results. Or you can just cut the stems off and place whole peppers on the trays.

For medium to large peppers it is ideal to cut them in half lengthwise. While smaller peppers, around 1 inch, can be left to dry whole.

Once your food dehydrator is set up in a well ventilated area place your peppers on the trays with space around each pepper to allow proper air flow. If your dehydrator has a temperature setting set it to 140 degrees. Keep the peppers in the dehydrator for at least 8 to 14 hours depending on the size of peppers. Check every four or so hours to see which peppers have completely dried.

If you sliced your peppers you will notice most of the seeds have fallen out of peppers. Save these and use them if you are going to grind up your peppers or they can also be used for plants next growing season.

Drying Peppers in the Oven

This process is much like the food dehydrator process. For large peppers slice them in half lengthwise and small peppers you can dry them whole.

You can either place the peppers on the oven racks or on non stick baking sheets. Don't over-crowd the baking sheets.

Set the oven just below 150 degrees, which is usually the "WARM" setting. Wait a couple minutes for it preheat and insert the peppers. Make sure to keep the oven door open slightly to allow for air circulation and the moisture to escape. Every hour rotate or flip the peppers to allow for even drying. This process should take between 8 to 12 hours. Check every 4 hours to see if any peppers have completely dried.

If you find the peppers are getting soft, brown/black, or are very hot on the side touching the baking sheet. Then you are cooking the peppers. This is not what you want to happen. To fix this you can either turn down the oven temperature, flip the peppers more often, or open the stove door wider.

Air Drying Peppers

For this process it is advised that you leave the stems attached to the peppers. This process is more suited towards drying whole peppers.

Using a long, sharp needle and strong thread or fishing line, string the peppers together. Leave enough room for the air to circulate between each pepper.

Hang your stringed peppers in a warm, dry place, preferably in direct sunlight.

This process will take quite a while, can be up to three weeks for peppers to fully dry. Air dried peppers will retain most of there color and keep the seeds nicely in the pods.

Once the peppers have dried

Properly dried peppers should be devoid of any signs of moisture or soft "fleshiness". Fully dried peppers can still retain a bit of flexibility in their skin - you don't have to dry them until they're brown, crumbling, or hard as a rock. But when in doubt, the pepper should be uniformly dry, slightly brittle, and have a tough skin.

Store your dried peppers in air tight container in a cool dry place to keep moisture reaching them. Dried peppers that have been properly stored will last you a very long time.