Last week, I picked a basket of pepperoncini – of different varieties (due to cross-pollination). Some of them I’ve been eating fresh, others I’ve frozen. The hottest ones I decided to dry with my dehydrator. I had enough of the long, thin, hot ones to fill two trays of my dehydrator, which was enough for a test to see how they’d dry.
I’ve read that dried hot peppers are great in cooking, so I chose the hottest of my pepperoncinis – the ones that look like thai chili peppers – to dry.
For the peppers to dry well, I cut the tops off and sliced them lengthwise. (NOTE: I wore latex gloves while handling the peppers so I wouldn’t get the hot pepper oil on my hands. I’ve scratched my eyes after handling hot peppers; and even though I had washed my hands, there was still enough oil on them to burn my eyeballs! It wasn’t a pretty sight!)
After cutting the peppers, I removed the seeds. I tried to leave the pith (the membrane) because I wanted more of the “heat” left in the pepper. Then I placed them on my dehydrator tray, cut side down, leaving plenty of room around each one for the air to reach the entire pepper.
I had enough peppers to fill two trays, with a little space left over to add a few regular pepperoncinis to dry.
My dehydrator does not have a temperature gauge, so I just turned it on. The manual stated that peppers can take 4 to 14 hours to dry – based on the type of pepper, how thick-walled it is, how it’s cut, etc. (You’ll have to follow the guidelines in your own dehydrator’s manual.) The peppers are dry when they are stiff and brittle. I found the long, thin, chili-pepper-looking pepperoncinis took about 6 or 7 hours to dry. The regular pepperoncinis took 10 or 11 hours.
Once they were dry, I put them in a sealed mason jar and put them in my pantry (a cool, dark place).
I tasted one of the regular pepperoncini (not the very hot ones) – as is. WOW! Great crunch and an intense POW of pepper flavor! I think I’ve found a new snack!
Do you have a dehydrator? What do you dry in it?