Dried Pepper & Traditional Flavors
Updated: Feb 16
We love the pepper flavor and heat that fresh peppers bring, but if we don't use them quickly they spoil. For decades people have dried a variety foods to be used later. Its true if you don't do it right you can expose yourself and family to some nasty germs. But done right
You'll get to have pepper throughout the year and save money.
You'll get to have the same flavor and heat in your dishes long after the season has past.
You 'll know there isn't any unsafe preservatives in your peppers.
Just imagine. Winter is coming and you'd like to have peppers from your summer garden throughout the rest of the year. Well, it's time to consider drying those lovely healthy peppers. Even though it's obvious this must be said. You must make sure to grow or buy the best fruit possible and only use those choice fruits in your dry batch. This sometimes means removing many or a few of the fruits in a batch. You must sort put aside or discard fruits. They might be salvageable but don't include them in the dry batch. Put-em in the fridge and use them later. Do Not include them in the dry batch. Its painful I know, but one bout with bad fruit and you'll never do it again. Sort and discard any pepper that shows signs decay or mold. These defects can affect all foods being dried. So inspect and pick your fruit for the drying batch as though you're cooking them today.
Pepper I dehydrate for DTH Spice are picked and dried at slow temperatures to preserve flavor and nutrients. The lower the temperature you dry all vegetables at, the more nutrients they retain. It's a lengthy process but you can do it too. Once I had the process figured out i then ran into the nightmare of dehydrating bulk batches (a whole nother beast)
Young fruit can be used but why bother. Immature fruit lacks flavor and color. On the other hand, overripe fruit can be tough and fibrous, or soft and mushy. Don’t bother with immature fruit unless you have several days before you want to dehydrate it.
What's the use if the peppers I dried don't taste as good as the fresh pepper? In my experience! The very best way to keep traditional flavor and nutrients in your dried pepper is to wash uncut peppers and prep ( prep depends weather its a Hot or Sweet pepper) then start the drying process.
Dry at a slow temperature and store in a cool dry place until needed. With Hot pepper you keep the seeds, with Sweet pepper you remove the seed. Sweet peppers have great flavor in the flesh Hot peppers have most heat in seeds. Oily capsaicin on the flesh is another subject. There is some talk about cutting Hot peppers and washing inside before drying. We are not getting into that. In my opinion wash the outside of your pepper. For heat keep the seeds! Then proceed with drying. Seeds are no problems if you plan of grinding or flaking your finished product.
There are plenty of dehydrating machines and many ways to dry peppers, you need to figure which works for your needs and pocketbook. Dehydrating equipment can be expensive. You need to consider your batch size and the yield you'll get from that batch. In the beginning the biggest problem I had was knowing what I wanted and which equipment could do it and not break down after 10 or 20 uses.
You might as well consider where and what you're going to store your dehydrated peppers in. Whichever vessel you store them in, you should put them out of the way. I like to put mine a box and keep the box in a cool dry place. I date and label the box so I don't have to disturb the contents until i need them. Most pepper if stored correctly can last upto 24 months without any loss of flavor. Be aware that the closer you come to the 24 month date your peppers loose flavor, they are still good enough to eat but they degrade every month after approx 24months. I am fully aware many website says dehydrated peppers can last 5 to 10yrs. They are correct but remember we are discussing how to dry and use you fruit while it still has its flavor, heat and nutritional benefits.
If you get frustrated learning your own process try to remember that you're saving the best of the best fruit you love and you're saving money. Hopefully you're having fun or will start having fun once you've ironed down your own process.
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