Dry Your Own Hot Peppers

21 Jun 2010

Dehydrating is one of the easiest ways to preserve hot peppers to store all year. Plus dried peppers are versatile, and can be used in tomato sauces, reconstituted to make mexican mole type sauces, muddled  in a mortar and pestle to make your own crushed pepper flakes, or added to a soup or curry for a little kick. All you need is a dehydrator and a bunch of hot peppers.

Here's how to do it:

Wash the peppers and wear gloves, just in case (These peppers are hot people!) Leave stems on and do not cut them or your kitchen will be filled with hot pepper smoke (not fun, trust me). 

Next, place them in a dehydrator. I have a retro convection oven/dehydrator I picked up at a yard sale in Provincetown, but the typical tray ones work great. Set it at 125 degrees and dehydrate for 8 to 12 hours. Sometimes longer depending on the size of your peppers. 

Check to see if they are done. If they are crunchy, and break when you bend them, they are dehydrated.  The peppers should be totally stiff, and will have darkened, like this.

Then, you just have to store them. I like to put mine in mason jars. If kept airtight like this, they'll last up to a year. They also make great presents (you can even make your own labels and put them in fun jars.)