Dehydrating peppers is an excellent way to preserve them. If you have had a bountiful harvest and you can’t consume all the peppers you got from your garden, then it’s time to dry them out.
There are several ways to dehydrate peppers: hanging and air drying, using a food dehydrator, putting it in an oven, or sun drying. No matter what method of dehydration you use, you will need to be judicious in selecting and preparing your peppers.
We will go over the different methods of dehydrating peppers, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each technique. We will also take a look at the most frequently asked questions about dehydrating peppers.
Step-by-Step Guide to Dehydrating Peppers in a Dehydrator
A food dehydrator is an appliance that removes moisture from vegetables like peppers so that you can keep them from spoiling. It’s an excellent way to preserve peppers if you have a bountiful harvest and have peppers that you cannot eat or give away.
There are several types of food dehydrators that you can use for your peppers, such as the electric-powered OSTBA Food Dehydrator Machine or the sun-powered KinoSol Eco-friendly Solar Food Dehydrator.
How Long Does It Take to Dry Peppers in a Dehydrator?
Drying peppers in a food dehydrator takes anywhere from four to ten hours, depending on how thick the peppers are. Smaller peppers can dry out faster than larger pieces.
You will know that they are thoroughly dried when the peppers become brittle and look dry.
Best Types of Peppers to Use When Using a Dehydrator
For bigger peppers, you might have no other option than to dehydrate it in a food dehydrator. This process is the best way to dry Bell peppers and other bigger varieties quickly. Of course, you can also use a food dehydrator for smaller peppers too.
Step-by-Step Instructional Guide to Drying Peppers in a Dehydrator
Using a food dehydrator, you will need to:
- Choose the best peppers for drying
- Prepare the peppers for drying
- Put it in the food dehydrator properly
Let’s get into each step in more detail.
Choose Your Pepper
When you’re dehydrating peppers, it’s best to choose fresh ones. If the fruit shows signs of rotting, you will need to throw them away or put them in your compost bin if you have one.
Don’t choose peppers that have softer skin or wrinkles. You can cook these peppers, but it’s not ideal for eating raw or dehydrating. If you’re choosing from cut peppers, you must avoid those that have white moist bits along the cut side, as that can be signs that those peppers are going bad.
Give Your Peppers a Bath
Once you have chosen the peppers you want to dehydrate, give them a thorough washing and dry off completely.
Wash peppers under cool running water. With bigger peppers, be sure to pay extra attention to the crevices because these are where bacteria often hide. This video shows you how to wash your peppers properly:
Prepare the Peppers
Once the peppers are clean and dry, you will need to remove the stems. If you are working with thinner peppers, you only have to cut them in half.
However, if you have thicker peppers, cut them into rings. Cutting them into smaller slices will help make the dehydration process a whole lot faster.
Alternatively, you can also dry your peppers whole, but you will need to be patient as it takes longer to dehydrate whole peppers.
Put the pepper pieces on your dehydrator’s tray. Be sure to space them evenly so that the heat will be distributed appropriately.
Power on your dehydrator and raise the temperatures to 135 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit (57 to 60 degrees Celsius). If your dehydrator has a recommended setting, use that.
Tip for Drying Peppers in a Dehydrator
- While it takes around four to 12 hours to dry your peppers in a dehydrator, you can probably leave them in the dehydrator overnight. This way, you can be sure that the peppers have thoroughly dried out and are safe to store. If they’re still not ready by the time you wake up and check on them, just leave them in the dehydrator until they’re completely dry.
Pros and Cons of Drying Peppers in a Dehydrator
The biggest pro about using a dehydrator to dry peppers is that it will save you time compared to other methods of dehydration.
Compared to other methods of drying peppers, using a food dehydrator allows you to save time. Instead of taking days to weeks, you only wait for your peppers to be thoroughly dehydrated for a few hours.
With a dehydrator, you can simply put whole peppers or slices on the tray and leave it, unlike with other methods that require you to string or tie up peppers together.
There are not many downsides to using a dehydrator for drying your peppers aside from the fact that sometimes the drying is not even, and there are parts of your pepper that are still moist. This moisture will make the pepper mold easily. The uneven drying results from improper placement on the dehydrator tray or not using the right size of pepper.
If your peppers are not evenly dehydrated, your best option is to stick them back in the dehydrator until they have fully dried.
Step-by-Step Guide to Dehydrating Peppers in an Oven
Alternatively, you can dehydrate peppers in the oven at a very low temperature. The key to drying peppers in an oven is using a low temperature, because you don’t want to cook your peppers.
How Long Does It Take to Dehydrate Peppers in an Oven?
Depending on what kind of oven you have and the type and the size of the peppers, oven drying can take anywhere from 12 hours to as long as four days.
Best Types of Peppers to Use When Drying Peppers in an Oven
The good news is that you can oven dry any type of pepper. Smaller peppers might be best because bigger peppers can take a lot longer to dry.
Step-by-Step Instructional Guide to Drying Peppers in an Oven
Using an oven to dry peppers can take more work than using a food dehydrator. On top of choosing and preparing the right peppers for oven drying, you will also need to prepare the baking tray and check on the peppers every so often.
Choose and Prepare Your Peppers
The best peppers to dry in the oven are those that are newly harvested. Avoid using peppers that have soft spots or rotting portions. Wash your selected peppers under running water.
Wipe the wet peppers with a kitchen towel, and make sure they are completely dry. You can cut bigger peppers into equal sized slices, so that they dehydrate evenly.
Prepare the Baking Tray
Cover your baking tray with either aluminum foil or baking paper, or you can use baking sheets.
If you are using aluminum foil, the glossy side should face upwards. Spread your peppers over the baking tray, ensuring that there is enough space between each pepper or each slice to make sure that the hot air can circulate.
Pre-Heat Your Oven and Bake
Pre-heat your oven to 150 degrees Fahrenheit (66 degrees Celsius). You might tinker with the temperature depending on the type of pepper you are drying and how thick the skin of that pepper is. Once the oven is up to temperature, slide the baking tray into your oven. Do not close the oven door completely. Leave it open a crack so that the moisture from the peppers can escape. You should also make sure that the oven doesn’t get too hot as it can quickly burn the pepper.
Check on the Peppers Every 30 Minutes
You should check on the peppers every 30 minutes to make sure that they’re not burning. Most peppers take on a deeper shade when they dry but keep an eye out that they don’t burn too far.
Take out any pepper that has dried completely. You will know your pepper is ready when it is dry and brittle.
If you find peppers that are getting soft or turning brown or black, then take them out and use them for something else as these peppers are getting cooked.
Pros and Cons of Using an Oven to Dehydrate Peppers
There are two pros to using an oven for drying out peppers: you don’t need to buy any special equipment and most homes are equipped with an oven and the steps needed are fairly easy.
The downside of using an oven to dehydrate peppers is that it can take a bit of time, depending on the peppers you’re drying, and it does require some oversight so that you don’t accidentally burn or cook your peppers.
Step-by-Step Guide to Dehydrating Peppers by Hanging Them
Living in a dry, warm area or have a place where you can keep a steady temperature of 85 degrees Fahrenheit (29 degrees Celsius) during the day? Then, hanging or air-drying peppers might be a good option for you when it comes to dehydrating peppers.
How Long Does It Take to Dehydrate Pepper by Hanging Them?
The process of hanging and air drying your peppers can take up to three to four weeks. The length of time will depend on the humidity, the amount of sunlight, and the amount of air circulation available.
As with all dehydrating processes, your peppers are ready when they become brittle.
Best Types of Peppers to Use When Air Drying Peppers
When it comes to hanging and air drying, the best peppers to work with are those that have thin walls. If you use a thick-walled pepper, it may not be fully dry, and it may grow mold.
Step-by-Step Instructional Guide to Air Dry Peppers
- Once you have chosen your peppers you wish to dehydrate, wash them, and make sure there are no blemishes or damage from insects. Wash and dry your peppers using a paper towel.
- You can start threading these peppers using a string. Make sure that you leave enough space between two peppers to allow for adequate airflow. Proper ventilation is needed to make sure that your peppers dry entirely. This video will show you how you can thread peppers:
- Once you’ve finished threading them up, you should find a place that has a lot of sunshine and airflow and has a warm temperature where you can hang up your peppers.
Pros and Cons of Dehydrating Peppers by Hanging Them
When you hang and dry peppers, you don’t need any special equipment for it. You only need to string your peppers together using a needle and thread.
Unlike sun drying, you don’t need a lot of space when you dry peppers by hanging them up. What’s more, you can be creative with your hanging chiles and create wreaths or ristras with them, and use them to decorate fences, patios, and windowsills.
However, you will need to wait for a period when the days are hotter, and the air is less humid to hang your ristra outside. Plus, using thicker peppers might mean that some may begin developing mold before they dry up completely, so be careful. You’ll have to make sure your peppers don’t get infested by bugs and insects as well, to make sure to check on your chilis regularly.
Step-by-Step Guide to Dehydrating Peppers Under the Sun
If you’re trying not to spend too much money, then what better way tis there han using the power of the sun to dry your peppers?
How Long Does It Take to Dehydrate Peppers Using the Sun?
Depending on the amount of sunlight and humidity you have available, sun drying peppers can take anywhere from three to five days, if you use smaller or sliced peppers. Whole and thick peppers can take around two to three weeks before they are completely dehydrated.
Best Types of Peppers to Use When Drying Peppers Using the Sun
Like air drying, the best peppers to dehydrate under the sun are those that have thin walls. You can still use thicker peppers, but you will have to ensure long periods of uninterrupted sunlight for best results.
Step-by-Step Instructional Guide to Drying Peppers Using the Sun
So, how do you sun dry your peppers?
- Check the weather forecast. The amount of sunlight will be crucial for you to dehydrate peppers successfully.
You will want uninterrupted days of hot sun, low chances of rain, and low humidity. With that in mind, you must scout your yard or patio and find the place that gets the most sunlight. You can also use a table or flat surface in a well-lit room, if you don’t have an outdoor space.
- Choose your peppers. As with any drying method, don’t use peppers that are soft or rotting. Rinse the peppers you want to use. When it comes to sun drying, you can cut the peppers in half if you want them to dry faster.
- Use a stone or stainless-steel tray. Lay the peppers on the tray and then cover them with a mesh, cheesecloth, or towel if you are drying them outside. The cover will protect your peppers from being snacked on by birds and other pests. Avoid using aluminum trays, as it may react negatively with the acids you find on the pepper.
Pros and Cons of Drying Peppers Using the Sun
The best part of using the sun as your drying power is that it is free!
However, because you are laying your chili flat on baking pans or baking sheets, you will need some amount of outdoor space or a well-lit area indoors when you sun dry your peppers. If you have limited space, you will only be able to lay a few peppers flat at a time.
Also, if you’re working with thicker peppers, they may start to mold before they can get completely dehydrated, so make sure to check your peppers regularly.
Additional Facts About Dehydrating Peppers
If you decide to go the route of dehydrating peppers, here are some additional things to keep in mind.
How Long do Dried Peppers Last?
When stored properly, dried peppers can last up to 12 months. But they may lose their flavor and potency over time, so it’s recommended to use dried peppers within three to six months after you have prepared them.
Best Ways to Store Dehydrated Peppers
After drying your peppers, it’s a good idea to keep them inside mason jars or plastic baggies. Be sure to keep the lid on tight on the jars and that the plastic bags are sealed properly to keep the moisture out.
Don’t store your dehydrated peppers in a humid area. If you do, the dried peppers will take moisture in and might start to rehydrate, and they might start to develop mold.
Keep your peppers in a dark and cool place, as this will help preserve their potency and their color.
Other Things You Should Remember When Storing Dehydrated Peppers
In general, dehydrated food has a shelf life of anywhere from four to 12 months, according to the National Center for Home Food Preservation. But how can you ensure that your peppers do not go bad?
- Make sure the peppers are cool before packing them away. High temperatures can cause sweating, which may provide enough moisture for mold to grow and raise the possibility of insect contamination.
- Aside from canning jars, you can also use Ziploc bags, freezer bags, or freezer containers. You may also want to consider vacuum packaging.
- Pack enough dehydrated peppers in a bag that’s good enough for single use. For instance, if a recipe calls for 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of dried peppers, put that much in a bag. Doing this will lessen the exposure of the peppers to air and moisture when you open the package. Air and humidity can degrade your dried peppers, making it easier to spoil.
- When moisture gets into your dried peppers, it’s not going to take too long before it spoils. If you catch a re-moistened pepper, and it’s not spoiled, use it immediately. You can also dehydrate it again.
- Putting the dried peppers inside a cabinet or your pantry is the best to avoid direct sunlight.
- You can put desiccant packets in the jar or Ziploc bags alongside your peppers to prevent them from getting moist.
- If the container or the peppers get wet, you can redry them.
- Keep dehydrated peppers in a cool, dark place, because higher temperatures can shorten their shelf life. The shelf life, according to how warm the dehydrated fruit gets, is as follows:
|60 degrees Fahrenheit (15.6 degrees Celsius)||12 months|
|80 degrees Fahrenheit (26.7 degrees Celsius)||Six months|
General Tips When Dehydrating Peppers
To have an easier time drying your peppers, follow these tips:
- Be sure to wear gloves when you’re handling peppers. These fruits have juices and oils that can burn your skin.
- If you do make the mistake of handling peppers without gloves and it starts to burn your skin, there are several things that you can do to alleviate the burning. You can submerge the affected area in baking soda dissolved in water, milk, or yogurt, or wash your hands with vegetable oil or dish soap.
What Can You Do with Dehydrated Peppers?
Now that you have all these dehydrated peppers, what can you do with them? For one, you can use a pepper or coffee grinder and turn them in to ground chili pepper to spice up your food.
If you want something grainier, you can put the dehydrated peppers into a baggie and then crush them by hand. The brittle dehydrated pepper will be easy to crush, and you can sprinkle the crushed dried peppers over your favorite dishes.
You can combine powdered peppers to create an exciting flavor profile.
You can also rehydrate these dried peppers by soaking them in hot water so that they can be soft enough to use in making sauces or other dishes.
This video will show you the best way to rehydrate dried peppers:
Does Dehydrating Peppers Make Them Hotter?
The amount of capsaicin present in a pepper is what determines how hot it is. Capsaicin is oil-based, so it does not evaporate when you’re drying your peppers.
When you dehydrate peppers, it loses its moisture, but the amount of capsaicin present remains the same. So, you have more of the heat concentrated in a smaller space.
Some people will not taste or feel the difference, but most people who eat dehydrated peppers raw will notice how much hotter dried peppers are compared to their fresh counterparts.
Most people, however, rehydrate these peppers when they’re cooking with them, which means the capsaicin content will be redistributed, and it will not taste as hot as it is when dried.
Can You Over Dehydrate Peppers?
You cannot over dehydrate peppers. Truly dried peppers crack when you squeeze them, and it takes a long time to get to this point. However, you can cook or burn your peppers if you turn up the heat in the oven.
So, while you cannot over dehydrate peppers, you should still be careful to dry them within the right temperature range, or they will be cooked or burned, and not dried.
Which Types of Peppers Are Best for Dehydrating?
While you can dry all types of peppers, here are a few varieties that work well when dehydrated.
The poblano is an excellent variety of pepper to dehydrate.
The poblano generally has a mild spicy taste. When it’s dried, it becomes broad and flat. Dried poblanos are known as chile ancho, which means wide chili in Spanish. Poblanos are pretty mild chilis and have a range of between 1,000 to 5,000 Scoville Heat Units.
Chile de Arbol
Chile de Arbol literally translates to tree chili. It’s a small pepper that is very potent and ranges from 15,000 to 30,000 SHU.
Aside from the spicy heat, chile de arbol also has an earthy and nutty flavor profile. It’s used as a chili powder after drying, and it can be rehydrated as well.
Cayenne peppers are tapering, red and skinny peppers. They are most popularly used as crushed pepper flakes after they are dried, and many people will be familiar with ground Cayenne powder.
This pepper is quote hot with a Scoville score of 30,000 to 50,000 SHU.
Sweet or Bell Pepper
You may know Sweet peppers as Bell pepper, and these varieties do not give you heat at all because they do not produce capsaicin.
However, sweet peppers do have different colors, such as the more common green, red, yellow, and orange. There are also varieties with rare shades such as lavender, dark purple, or white.
Bell peppers are nutritious, rich in vitamin C, and delicious, which all make them good candidates for dehydration.
You may know dried red Jalapeños as chipotle. You can smoke them before drying, or you can just go straight to drying them. Dried Jalapeños can be ground or rehydrated for later use.
Jalapeños give your food medium levels of heat with a Scoville rating of 3,500 to 8,000 SHU. This medium-sized pepper is usually eaten and harvested when it’s still green, but some people like to enjoy it after it has been ripened to a bright red, yellow, or orange spicier chili.
Do Dehydrated Peppers Lose Their Nutritional Value?
Unfortunately, drying peppers can decrease the level of nutrition you get from them. According to the University of Missouri, when you’re drying food in general:
- The air and heat destroy vitamins A and C
- You can counter the loss of vitamins by using sulfite when drying, but this may result in the loss of thiamin or vitamin B1.
- Blanching peppers before you dry them can also destroy vitamins B-complex and C, as well as water-soluble minerals
Dried peppers, however, have more calories because of the concentrated nutrients. That is to say that 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of dried peppers will have more calories than 100 grams of its fresh counterpart.
Dehydrating peppers can be fun, and if you do it right, you’d never have to throw out any of your extra peppers again. There are a lot of ways that you can use to dry them, so you can choose the drying method that is best for you!