Drying chillies in a food dehydrator
Every chili grower is happy about a big harvest. How then can so many chilies be preserved? In the refrigerator, the pods can only be kept for a few days. Chilies can be stored longer in the freezer, but they are muddy after thawing. The best way to preserve chilies is to dry them.
Dried chili have an intense aroma. In addition, the vegetables retain their vitamins and nutrients. The easiest way to dry chili fruits is in a drying appliance.
A dehydrating device has a fan and a heat source. Like a hair dryer, warm air circulates through the housing. You spread your chilies on grids, which are stacked in several layers on top of each other. The warm air dries your chilies without high-energy consumption. You can buy such drying devices or drying automates quite cheaply. Useful models for drying fruit and vegetables are available from around 40 euros or dollars.
Maybe you’ll get yourself a good dehydrating device with a timer. Quiet dehydrators with built-in timers are practical. Dehydrating devices for chilies should be easy to clean. The performance should not be too low for chilies. Habaneros, peppers and the very hot varieties like Bhut Jolokia and Carolina Reaper have a thick and firm flesh.
Our food dehydrator machine has an output of 240 watts. At 10 hours drying time, we can also live well with the electricity consumption. By the way, you can not only dry chilies in a drying machine: pineapples, bananas, grapes and even meat will turn into long-lasting snacks in no time at all.
Which chillies are suitable?
All chilies, Habaneros, chili peppers and paprika are suitable for drying in a drying appliance. Thin-fleshed chili varieties are best for chili powder. Perfect is de cayenne chili, famous as cayenne pepper. Anaheim, New Mexico, Pimiento Choricero, Pickles and NuMex varieties are ideal for sweet chili powder.
Habanero, Pequin, Jolokia and Scorpion are ideal varieties for extra hot powders. Smoky notes can be found in Yellow Bumpy Chili, de Arbol and Billy Goat. The thick-walled Jalapeño is more universal than chili powder. It is available as green and red spice powder. Ground chipotle from smoked jalapeño has a particularly smoky kick.
Wear disposable gloves when processing Chilis. The capsaicin remains on your hands for a long time. Do not use it on your face. Do not rub your eyes. It’s hard to imagine what would happen if you cut a Naga or Jolokia open before.
First you sort out muddy fruits or pods which are spoiled in places. Also do not take chili with brown spots or unpleasant smell. Wash the chilies with lukewarm water and rub them with a kitchen towel. Remove the stems and half the pods. You can also dry smaller chili and thin-walled chili varieties as a whole.
Spread the chili pieces on the drying grid. Make sure that they do not lie on top of each other and have enough distance. Air must circulate well around each chili.
Temperature and time
Slide the inserts or drawers with the washed and halved chilies into the appliance. Do not overload your dehydrating device. Each piece should have plenty of space on the shelves to ensure good air circulation. Adjust the temperature to 60 °C.
If you have an automatic dryer with a timer, set it to 8–12 hours. For thin-fleshed pods like de Cayenne 8, Habaneros 10 and Jalapeño and Rocoto about 12 hours are enough. During this time, check that the chili pieces are dry enough. Turn the chilies over. Dried chili can be taken out of the shelves or placed in the top trays. Larger pieces need more time to dry.
In the collection container of the device, huge amounts of chili seeds are collected. At a heat of over 35 °C, however, they will have lost their germination capacity.
Grinding chili powder
To grind the powder, you can put the dried pieces in a mortar or coffee grinder.
Recipes and dishes with dried chili peppers
To preserve the chilies for the winter, drying them in a drying appliance is best and simpler than in an oven. The dried pods can be ground into chili powder. You can further refine your chili powder by mixing different types of chili, herbs or dried tomatoes. Many recipes can be refined with the spice:
- Chili con Carne
- Meat and fish dishes
- chili salt