Monday, August 19, 2013

Dehydrating Peppers

I use a lot of peppers in my cooking, especially in winter when I make lots of soups, stews and chilis. During the winter, however, peppers are ridiculously expensive and the quality is terrible. Instead of just settling for crappy, expensive peppers, I dehydrate wonderful and cheap peppers during summer to use all winter long. Dehydrated sweet peppers make a wonderful snack, especially for road trips or hiking. Peppers can also be added to eggs, casseroles or pasta dishes.

Last night at a farm stand, I found beautiful Hungarian Wax peppers for $1/3 and jalapenos for $1/5. Sometimes I find peppers on the clearance rack at the grocery store 4 bell peppers for $1 or a 5 lb bag of hot peppers for $2. If you get a bumper crop of peppers in your garden, dehydrating is a perfect way to stretch your harvest with minimal expense or space.

First, clean the peppers well, and dry. Trim off the stem and any bad spots and cut out the seeds and membrane. I cut small peppers into rings and larger peppers into thin strips. You could cut them into chunks or thick strips, but you won't be able to fit as many on a tray and it will take much longer to dehydrate.

Lay them out evenly over your dehydrator trays and dehydrate for 6-18 hours, depending on types of pepper, size of pieces, humidity, etc. When they are fully dry, they will crack easily when squeezed and clatter when you stir them.

reuse food jars left over from pasta sauce, pickles or relish to store my dehydrated food. I have stored dried peppers for several months without noticing any loss in quality. If you wanted to save food for a longer term, add oxygen packs, vacuum seal or oven can the peppers. 

You can snack on them (drink plenty of water if you regularly snack on dehydrated food). You can rehydrate them by pouring boiling water over them for about 20 minutes. If you are making soups or chili or a slow cooker meal, just add them to the dish dehydrated, and simply add a bit more water than the recipe calls for.

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1 comment:

  1. If you don't have a food dehydrator, you can string them and hang them the old fashioned way. I use dental floss to hang my Cayenne peppers. They are often seen hanging on the end of my curtain rods in the fall. They are really quite pretty. I then powder them in the blender and keep them in a sprinkle container by the stove. Did you know Cayenne's have been used to stop heart attacks?


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