Drying peppers on the air
A simple way to dry chillies is to spread them out outside on baking paper, wood or linen. This is also how it is handled in the big chili-growing nations. When spreading the chillies, make sure that you lay out your chilli peppers flat.
Thin-fleshed chilli varieties are ideal. A prime example is Cayenne Chili. Thai Dragon and Tabasco are other varieties that have proven excellent for drying in the air.
After about two weeks, thin-walled chilli varieties are dried at low humidity. After that, such chillies have a long shelf life. To save space, the dried chillies are often ground into powder or flakes.
We don’t like to dry chillies with thick flesh in the air ourselves. These often start to mould before a large part of the water has been removed. The moisture remains in the flesh for too long. Their thick Habaneros are already lazy before they are preserved.
We prefer whole pods to dry in the air, sliced Habaneros we prefer to put in a drying device. While chili peppers protect their skin from dust and flies. If the flesh is open, dirt and insects can settle easily.
Decorative and practical is the drying of chilli peppers as Ristra. Ristras are chili peppers bound together according to a certain pattern. They save space when drying chillies and still look nice. In many cultures it is believed that threaded chili strands in the kitchen bring good luck.
In New Mexico and Hungary it is hard to imagine the market image without ristras of chillies and garlic. At many stalls they hang as an impressive bundle.
If you want to tie a ristra yourself, you will need thin-walled chilli varieties, thread and, depending on the type of binding, a needle to thread on. Only thin-fleshed chilli varieties are suitable. Cayenne is perfect, Habaneros and Jalapeño unsuitable.
Of course, you can also use dried chilli peppers. Sometimes a gift should be made quickly. Make sure you have a sufficiently long style. Before you start knotting the ristra, sort your chillies by size.
Tying the Ristra
Take a thread of about one meter. At the end, tie a thick knot to prevent the chillies from slipping down. Thread the other end into the eyelet of a sewing needle. Now pull the string through the stems. If you thread your peppers by size, the finished ristra looks more chic afterwards. At the bottom the small peppers come in, at the top the chilli peppers get bigger.
It is best to stick the needle close to the crown through the stem at a 45° angle. Then hang the chillies more neatly. Several chilli strands twist you to an impressive total work of art.
For those who want to knot special Ristras, there is a colour gradient. In a sunny, warm and airy place, dry your chillies fastest in the air. It takes about 14 days until the chillies are dry enough to grind.
Paprika on a leash
An efficient way to dry thick fleshed peppers is to divide them and put them on a clothesline.
So that the vitamins do not disappear more than necessary, hang the line with the vegetables in a row in the shade.