Why Air Dry Peppers?
Air drying is one of the best ways to preserve your peppers for long periods. Growing up on a Nashville farm, I saw my grandmother make long, colorful strands of peppers that looked like garlands to me. Not only are hanging peppers colorful, but they keep their color and seeds better than dehydrated or oven dried peppers and there is no tricky thaw process like with freeze-dried peppers. Air dried peppers last longer than peppers dried the other ways, too, and have a hotter, spicier flavor. In addition, air drying helps preserve some of the vitamins, minerals and protein content of the peppers.
Pick a Peck of Pickled Peppers?
While you won’t need to pick a peck of pickled peppers, you do need to select ripe peppers that are neither overly ripe nor marred by bruises or cuts. While the shape of the pepper is not important, you want to choose firm peppers with “perfect skin.” Leave them whole with their stems attached.
What You Will Need to Dry Peppers:
- Ripe, unmarred, whole peppers
- A sharp needle
- Strong thread, dental floss or fishing line
- A good dry place, preferably in bright sunlight, to hang the peppers
How to Air Dry Peppers
- Cut off the length of thread you think you will need for your strand of peppers, allowing plenty of room between peppers for air.
- Tie a knot clump at the end of the thread big enough to catch the peppers of they slide.
- Run your needle through each pepper stem. I also either make a knot clump between each pepper or tie the cord around each stem after I run my needle through.
- Hang your string of peppers in a warm, dry, sunny spot where fresh air will circulate.
- Allow two weeks of drying time, more if the spot you hang the peppers is at all moist, cold, or dark.
Option: Dry the Entire Pepper Plant
Another way to air dry peppers is to cut the stem near the ground and hang the entire plants upside down in a cool, dark place where you can leave them to dry all winter. The branches and leaves provide the necessary space for air circulation.
How to Know if Your Peppers Are Dry
Dried peppers should have no signs of moisture or fleshiness. It is OK if there is a bit of flexibility in their skin, but they should be approaching a brittle texture. Store them in plastic containers until you are ready to grind them up to add to foods. By the way, while the seeds are spicy, they also survive the air drying process and can be planted the next year.
- Peppers: The Health Benefits of Green Peppers and Hot Peppers
- Skin, Health & Beauty Basics
- Rodan + Fields Examiner
- Follow Skin, Health & Beauty on Twitter
- Join Skin, Health & Beauty on Facebook
- Subscribe to get the latest skin, health, and beauty updates