Drying Peppers

This time of year the dehydrator stays busy at HA. For the last couple of weeks it was drying apples and making apple leather. This week it has been drying peppers. Dehydrating is a great way to preserve both sweet and hot peppers.

sliced peppers for drying (click on any image to enlarge)

Our summer and fall weather is too humid to successfully dry any vegetables outdoors, so indoor drying of some kind is necessary. Peppers usually get moldy before they dry if left outdoors. While you don’t need a dehydrator to dry peppers, it does speed up the process and makes for a great end product.

sliced sweet peppers

I normally cut the sweet peppers into slices or small pieces for drying, and either cut the hot peppers in half lengthwise or leave them whole. We typically use the hot peppers to flavor bean dishes, soups and entrees, and leaving them whole allows them to be easily removed after cooking. They can also be cut into pieces before drying, which certainly speeds up the drying time. The dried peppers can also be ground up to make chili powder or paprika.

Holy Mole, serrano and jalapeno peppers for drying

The dried sweet peppers are great on salads, pizzas, and other dishes where the concentrated pepper flavor is desired. They are also tasty just eaten as is!

peppers drying in dehydrator

We have found that the dehydrated peppers keep fresh longer when frozen. We usually vacuum seal them first with our FoodSaver sealer. Dehydrated and vacuum sealed, they take up little room in the freezer.

package of vacuum sealed dried peppers

Our first frost is forecast by the end of the week, so I will be busy getting all the frost-sensitive crops harvested. There are more peppers and tomatoes out there, and some of them will likely wind up in the dehydrator. After a busy season, it won’t be long before it’s time to put it away. And I’m just about ready for some rest myself!

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16 Responses to Drying Peppers

  1. kitsapFG says:

    When we moved from central Washington western Washington almost 8 years ago now, I sold my dehydrator so I would not have to move it. Instead I borrowed my sisters when needed since she lived nearby. However, last January she moved to Arizona and now I have no dehydrator and no one to borrow one from when needed. I guess I may have to break down and purchase one in the future.

    Dried peppers are particularly nice and I always love the look of the dried whole hot peppers.

  2. Wilderness says:

    I don’t use my dehydrator like I should. I like the idea of peppers. The sweet ones you mentioned using on pizza. Do you rehydrate them first or use them dry. Also how dry to you make them hard or pliable? I dehydrate sliced potatoes that I use in my own hamburger helper mix. Is there a reason for storing them in the freezer after they are dehydrated? I seal just about everything that goes in my freezer on the foodsaver. I freeze things like peppers on cookie sheets and then seal them after they are frozen.

    I know a lot of questions but freezer space has become a problem and I can everything possible but have a lot of meat in the freezers.

    • Dave says:

      I usually rehydrate the peppers before using on salads or pizza. And I usually dry them to the point of being brittle. It’s not really necessary to freeze them after dehydrating. Our environment here is pretty humid, so it can be difficult to keep the moisture out of things. Storing them in a glass jar after drying works well too.

  3. Jody says:

    Thanks for yet another great idea. We have just been freezing ours. Drying makes perfect sense, and it’s an easy extra step to put them in they dryer before packing and freezing. Thanks.

    • Dave says:

      Jody, we didn’t really start dehydrating them until 2009 when we had a bumper crop of peppers. This year the pepper yield has been about average, but we still are finding plenty to dry.

  4. That does it, I need to PM Santa, and beg him for a dehydrator. I keep meaning to get one. This year it didn’t matter so much, as our peppers and tomatoes were mostly lost to Fusarium, but next year, I’m plotting and scheming to have a much better harvest (if the tomato grafting works), and I’m going to NEED one of these wonderful gizmos. How long does it usually take for the peppers to dry?

    • Dave says:

      The whole peppers can take 2-3 days to get completely (brittle) dry. The sliced ones are usually dry in about a day, depending on the thickness of the pepper walls.

      I honestly don’t know how I ever did without the dehydrator. I used to dry tomatoes and peppers in the oven, on a low setting, but the results were variable. My wife had a dehydrator when we met, but it was one of the round types with a fairly small capacity. Her research led us to the Excalibur we have now, and it’s done a great job for us. Our only regret is that we didn’t get the 9 tray model (ours has 5). What were we thinking? 😀

  5. Liz says:

    I have this Middle Eastern recipe that I really want to try which calls for dried peppers but I can never find them in the shops. It looks like you would never have that problem. How much do you find you use the dehyrator?

  6. Robin says:

    Those peppers look great. I’ve had the Excalibur out so much that I just gave it a permanent home on my butcher block. I love it for drying fruit this year too. Have done sugar plums, pears, apples and fruit rolls lately. Another great tool as we attempt to preserve all of our garden. Freezer space is getting limited and you do not have to be concerned about a power outage with some of you bounty perserved by dehydrating it.

  7. Robin says:

    I do all of my drying in the oven. We are going to have to invest in a dehydrator…maybe Santa will get me one this year.

  8. Lisa says:

    Your blog posts are always so inspiring! Dehydrators are very expensive, aren’t they?

    • Dave says:

      They can be had for under $40. Our Excalibur model goes for $189 these days, is made in the U.S. and should last us for many years. It was well worth the money for the use we get out of it.

  9. Diana says:

    Interesting. I did not know that we can dry capsicum and preserve them that way. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Harry says:

    I do not have a dehydrator, can I do in a microwave, say on defrost low setting, or what other alternative is there? Thanks

    • Dave says:

      Sorry, I have never tried the microwave, so I have no idea how that would work. And with a regular oven, you run the risk of cooking or burning the peppers instead of just drying them, so the dehydrator is really the best bet. You can dry whole hot peppers by hanging them up in a dry place inside, out of direct sunlight.

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