Saturday, October 20, 2012

Drying Peppers

This year I grew a bunch of peppers I’d never grown before.   I usually just make hot sauces or use fresh peppers in my cooking.  For hot sauces I will freeze peppers as they ripen until I have enough for a decent amount of sauce.  But to fully utilize my Alma Paprika and Joe’s Long Cayenne Peppers I needed to dry them.  I learned that not all peppers dry the same, so I used two different methods. 
I also dried some of my Thai Hot Peppers, because they are small and perfect for throwing into soups, pastas, curries, etc.  So for the Thai Hot and Joe’s Long Cayenne Peppers, I simply strung the peppers through their stems on cording.  I used sewing thread for the small peppers and yarn/hemp for the larger peppers.  You can tie a bead or large knot on the bottom of the string to keep the peppers from sliding off as they shrivel up.
I let the smaller peppers touch each other, but for the cayenne peppers I tied a knot every 3 inches or so after each stem to keep them dry and separated. 


Hang the strung peppers in a sunny window.  I just put a couple nails at the top of my window sill and hung the peppers from there.  You can hang them outside, but if it rains and the peppers get moist they will rot or mold.  At first I put the nails on the outside of the window sill, but I kept forgetting to bring the peppers in now that it’s finally raining again!
I had trouble with my paprika peppers; my first harvest rotted when I tried to hang them.   I’ve been dehydrating the rest in my oven.  I slice the peppers and spread them onto a baking sheet.
Then bake them on the lowest setting for several hours until all the moisture cooks out. 
I ground them up in a blender and made Paprika!  It smells and tastes amazing, I’m going to use it in a potato salad for this weekend.
I’m still waiting for the cayenne peppers to dry completely so I can grind them up too; I can’t wait because I love cayenne powder.  One of my favorites is to add it to Alfredo sauce for spicy Alfredo!  I throw a little cayenne in everything to add some spice!

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