Thinking of drying chillies? You’ve come to the right place!
In this article we have everything you need to know about what dried chillies are, why to dry them, which chillies work well when dried and how to dry them.
By the end, you’ll be an expert at preserving these spicy fruits.
Here’s your complete guide to drying chillies:
Dried chillies are a type of fruit that is produced and prepared commercially through many different methods. In hot places like India – where 1.74 million tons of dried chillies and peppers are produced – they can often be dried in the sunshine.
Commercial factories might also dry them in large ovens, heat racks and freeze-drying units.
When we talk about dried chillies in this article, we are talking about drying chillies that are fresh. This can be done with many different types of chilli, although some are more suited to drying than others.
For example; jalapeños are better pickled or frozen because the texture is very juicy and succulent, and that juice can be lost during the drying process.
Drying chilies like bird’s eye, cayenne and poblano chili peppers are really great contenders for drying, so if you have a glut that you have grown or been given, it is word considering drying them for use.
There are many different reasons that you should give drying chillies a go including the following:
To Intensify The Heat
One of the key reasons that people choose to start drying chillies is to intensify the heat. Chillies are hotter once they have been dried and so, you need less in a recipe for the same amount of heat as a fresh chili.
To Avoid Food Waste
Globally we get rid of 900 million tonnes of food of which 17% available to consumers goes in the bin and 60% of that comes from domestic waste. Using methods like pickling, freezing and drying of products like chili helps to avoid food wastage, prolonging the usable time of the produce.
To Create A Beautiful Aesthetic
Dried chillies fall very well into the cottagecore decor trend along with jars of preserves, baking apparatus and dried flowers. Some people like to dry chillies as decorations that add a splash of colour to a neutral aesthetic.
You can use dried chillies in all kinds of recipes, like those in this handy Youtube video.The great thing is, when you have a string of dried chillies you can just take one and use it. No need to get fresh chillies from the store. Just a quick bit of spice right from your store cupboard with minimal effort.
To Make The Most Of A Glut
If you grow chillies you probably already know that you can get a glut, which is loads of chillies at the same time, too much to use. Although you can give those chillies away, it makes good sense to try drying chillies so that you can also store them for yourself for future use. That way your fruit harvest goes way beyond growing season.
Dried chili peppers can be ground down to make chili powder, which is a fantastic store cupboard item or gift. You can also use the dried flakes in lots of recipes to add instant heat. We particularly love them sprinkled on top of a salad for a bit of yummy warmth to contrast with the cool, crunch of the produce.
Lastly, it is worth noting that drying chillies is fun. The same as making jam, or baking bread, drying chillies is a little bit of wholesome fun to have with natural produce and your hands.
Drying chillies is really easy, and there are multiple ways to do it. Let’s take a closer look:
Plate Drying In A Polytunnel/ Greenhouse
If you grow your own chillies in a polytunnel or greenhouse you can simply leave the chillies to dry on a plate or rack inside those places.
The only thing you might want to do first is rinse them off if you have used any pesticides on the produce as they have been growing.
It is also important not to leave the drying chillies within reach of areas where water could splash on them, as the chillies will spoil and rot if they are constantly left warm and moist.
To oven dry your chili peppers you simply need to cut them in half (lengthwise) and then arrange them onto a clean baking tray allowing them to bake in around 120 degree heat for as long as they need to dry out.
If you leave the oven open a bit it will enable the moisture to escape the oven but it isn’t 100% necessary.
Oven door open or not drying the peppers does not have a set time, you simply need to keep checking on them until they are totally free of moisture.
Using a dehydrator at 145 degrees for about 8-10 hours you can dehydrate chillies easily. Just make sure that the chillies are evenly spread out so that they can dry out fully.
Natural Air Drying
You can dry your chili peppers whole by tying up your chili peppers by the stalk and then leaving a few inches between each one until they are all tied up.
You then need to hang them up so they are totally separate and allow them to dry in direct sunlight (kitchen windows are a great choice).
This will take weeks for the chillies to fully dry but they will look great in the meantime. Some people also string their peppers in a way that they are touching, a bit like garlic.
This method can work well too, and you can learn how to do it in this Youtube video.
You’re Ready To Start Drying Chillies!
Hopefully, with all the information above you are completely setup to start drying chillies.
As soon as they’re ready to go you can start making yummy, delicious recipes with these spicy fruits day after day, all whilst enjoying their bright and beautiful aesthetic in your family kitchen.
It’s a win, win!