How to dry chilli peppers properly

Chilli peppers

Around this time many gardeners are finishing all kinds of preparations including supplies for the winter, and that includes chilli peppers. There are many methods to preserve chilli peppers and if you are not a fan of canning you should try drying.

That sounds pretty easy, doesn’t it? But you might be surprised it is not as simple as it may seem.The most common method i.e. hanging peppers in a sufficiently ventilated place, carries certain risks. And some of them can even endanger your health. No kidding!

When peppers start to mould…

Chilli peppers contain plenty of water.Up to 90%, so you should be aware that some pepper may get mouldy from time to time. Chilli peppers are actually rather susceptible to mould and if you will not notice the problem in time, you can lose a large part of your harvest. The worst scenario is, when chilli peppers start to mould inside. You probably will not notice it and you can easily transfer harmful substances from to peppers to your food.

And what about the seeds?. Contrary to popular belief seeds are not spicy, even if they are covered by a thin layer of an oily substance which contains capsaicin. So, if you grind them, you are actually reducing the level spiciness.

Remove the white thin membrane, which is very spicy

So, what is the best way to dry chilli peppers? The best way is to use a dryer,but we’ll get to that in a moment. First, wash chilli peppers well and dry them. Cut them open and remove the seeds. You also don’t want the white blank, also called the placenta inside. This is the hottest part and you want taste not just the burning. Right?

Chilli peppers

Photo: Pixabay

Try using a dryer

Yes. If you do not have a dryer maybe you should get it. Chilli peppers can be dried in the oven but it is rather a lengthy process and the results are not always great.Dryer on the other hand allows you to set the optimal temperature (around 35 °C)and you can “run” it for as long as you like and drying time is very long and really important. It may take up to two days – unless you choose a higher temperature, which is okay, but chilli peppers will lose some valuable substances. At the same time, you need to switch drying trays regularly because the temperature is usually higher at the bottom so, the fruit dries faster here. Another problem is that the released moisture concentrates at the top.

And how do you know that chilli peppers are dried enough?Well, when you mash the peppers, the skin must be very dry and crackle. If it still feelsrubbery,continue drying. When done, you need to grind peppers and you should have chilli spices of the best quality.

Drawbacks of home drying

It is not really a drawback but warning. If you are drying really hot varieties, never do it where you live. The aroma is really strong and it stays in the room for several days.You should also realize that you will never use the dryer where you dried chilli peppers for anything else – unless you are able to clean it extremely well. Capsaicin can be really strong and you don’t want the taste and spiciness on dried mushrooms for example.

Preview photo: Pixabay

Radek Štěpán

Gardening is my hobby, I have a lot of experience and I am happy to share it.


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