Drying Peppers

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.

Pepperoncini that look like thai chili peppers

Pepperoncini that look like thai chili peppers

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!)

Pepperoncini ~ cut for drying

Pepperoncini ~ cut for drying

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.

Pepperoncini on dehydrator tray

Pepperoncini on dehydrator tray

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).

Dried pepperoncini

Dried pepperoncini

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?

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