Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Dried Hot Peppers
I love spicy food. I use hot sauce and hot peppers in many things I eat! I am fortunate enough to have a father who grows plenty of hot peppers. I grew some on the deck, but they are no where near as impressive as his. With plenty of hot peppers, I like to stuff them with hot sausage or pickle them for a great topping on pizza and salads. Another great idea is drying your peppers.
If you grow or buy hot peppers in quantity, drying them is a great way to store them long term for use in recipes all year long. After all, you don't want to waste any. Peppers have lots of health benefits - and so do most other vegetables.
Dried hot peppers are great to keep on hand for cooking your favorite spicy recipes. When stored properly, hot peppers will stay fresh and delicious for many months. Proper storage is the key to maintaining high-quality peppers and the foundation for delicious tasting recipes.
For lasting freshness, store dried chili peppers in airtight containers or storage bags
away from heat and light. Dried peppers should be leathery to brittle in consistency. Discard all containers of dried peppers that are questionable.
Use dried hot peppers the same as you would in recipes calling for hot peppers, but keep in mind that dried peppers aren’t as sizable as fresh peppers. One half cup of dried peppers equals approximately one cup of fresh ones. Reconstitute the peppers and grind them when necessary. When using them in hot dishes containing a lot of liquid such as soups and stews, it isn’t necessary to reconstitute them first. Just drop them in when the liquid begins to boil, and turn the temperature down so they can simmer until the food is thoroughly cooked and the peppers are tender and hydrated. Also crumbled on pizza is delicious!!!!!!!
Take your dehydrator to a well-ventilated area. The fumes from very hot peppers will make your eyes water, and since this process can take several days, you'll want to make sure that the location is closed off and well ventilated. Outdoors would be even better, if possible.
Let the peppers sit in the dehydrator for several days at about 100 degrees Fahrenheit, checking to see how they're progressing. The peppers must be very dry before they're done, as any moisture left over will invite mold .
Put the peppers in the oven and heat to 100 to 135 degrees Fahrenheit. Leave the oven door open a bit to provide air circulation.
If you're using baking sheets, turn the peppers frequently to provide even drying.
Allow the peppers to dry well, with no discernible moisture left over.
Whole peppers will take about 6 hours, sliced peppers about 3 1/2 hours. Check frequently!
If you want to learn how to dry peppers in the air, leave the peppers whole, and leave the stems attached.
Using a long, sharp needle and strong thread or fishing line, string the peppers together. Leave enough room for the air to circulate between each pepper.
Hang your stringed peppers in a warm, dry place, preferably in direct sunlight.
Peppers may take a few weeks to dry completely. If you want the pepper seed intact, this is the method you'll need to use when drying hot peppers.