Chili Peppers, Air Drying Peppers Naturally
My Fresh Picked Peppers
How Would You Rate This Chili Pepper Process?
How To Air Dry Chili Peppers
Fresh picked from my backyard garden, an abundance of chili peppers gather on my kitchen counter tops. There is no way we can eat them all before they go bad. So, we set out to learn a simple natural way to dry them so they can be used throughout the year. All it takes is strong thread (natural fibers only), a durable sewing needle, a bunch of colorful chili peppers, and a place to hang them!
How To Stop The Burn Of Hot Peppers
Due to the fact that capsaicin is soluble in oils and fats, NOT water; stopping the burn of a hot pepper mishap should include consuming things that are fatty. Try ice cream, milk, and nut butters to help dowse a singeing mouth! Using water to cool things down will only spread the inferno like a windy wild fire!
Safe Handling Of Hot Peppers
Hot Chili Pepper Precautions
Before you start production to air dry your chillies, a few safety measures should be in place.
- wear gloves!
- wash them in cool water and pat dry
- wash your hands with soap after handling
- never touch any open membrane on your body before washing hands (eyes, mouth, nose, genitalia)
- avoid getting chili residue in abrasions or cuts
What Makes Chilies So Hot
Capsaicin Makes Chilies Hot
The "spicy" or "hot" sensation caused by a chili pepper is derived from a family of compounds called capsaicinoids. Of the many capsaicinoids, only two make up 80 to 90% of the chili pepper; capsaicin and dihydrocapsaicin. How hot a chili is will depend on just how concentrated these compounds are in each chili variety. It is interesting that such fiery compounds come from the larger group of chemicals called vanilloids.
Dihydrocapsaicin Molecular Structure
What You Think Really Does Matter!
Did you know drying peppers could be so simple?
What Is A Scoville Chart
The heat of a pepper is measured in Scoville heat units (Shu). Essentially, it determines how many parts-per-million of capsaicin (the hot stuff in peppers) can be measured within any given chili. The more parts-per-million of capsaicin a chili has, the hotter—more spicy—a chili will be. An example would be;
- Sweet Bell Peppers are rated at "0"—containing 0 Scoville units
- Cayenne Peppers are rated at "7"—containing 30,000 to 50,000 Scoville units
- Red Savina Habanero is rated at "10"—containing 350,000 to 855,000 Scoville units.
- Naga Jolokia Peppers are said to measure well over a million (1,000,000,000) Scoville units...ouch!
No matter what I am cooking, I try to stay somewhere between "0"(sweet bell peppers) and "7" (cayenne peppers). I like a really spicy dish, but I prefer flavor over the emergency room.
Air Dried Chili Peppers
Instructions For Air Drying Peppers
- Pick peppers with stem on, and wash thoroughly. Pat dry.
- Thread heavy gauge thread (natural fiber preferably) through a durable needle, making a large knot at one end.
- Pierce one pepper at a time near center of each stem, (never through the meat of the chili) making a new knot after each pepper. Sew about 5 or 6 peppers into each wreath. Be sure to leave enough room between each pepper for plenty of air flow.
- Tie the ends together to make a wreath. Hang each wreath in clear flowing open air and sunshine. Leave them for a few weeks until they lighten in color, and become wrinkled and dried.
- Once the chilies are dry, you can remove them from the wreath and place them in airtight containers. Storing them in a cool dry location allows the shelf life to be as much as one year.
Chili Peppers For Drying
Can Any Chili Be Dried?
Even as just about any chili can be naturally air dried, some peppers do present challenges. Keep in mind that thicker meaty flesh on any chili will take longer to dry—due to the higher moisture content. This moist and meaty variety can also become rotten if not kept in higher temperatures, low humidity, with good air flow. This may be why it is more likely to find jalapeño peppers in a smoked or pickled state of preservation rather than dried.
Cancer And Capsaicin
Capsaicin Fights Cancer
Being that capsaicinoids are phyto chemicals (they have medicinal applications), they are said to be an effective cancer fighter. Is seems that they help to process hydrocarbons (bad free radicals) in such a way, that they cannot bind to DNA causing cell mutations—like cancer.
Dried Red Chillies
How To Use Sun Dried Peppers
Once you have your chili peppers completely dry and ready for use, you can remove the stems, and use them in several ways, below you will find 4 ways to use dried peppers.
4 Ways To Used Dried Chillies
- Grind them into chili powder or flakes
- Rehydrate them in hot tap water for about 30 minutes, and use similar to fresh chillies (discard the bitter soaking water, and never use boiling water or too much flavor can get leached out)
- Add hydrated peppers to salsa or sauces; straining out the tough skins
- Toast chilies to activate their oils for about 30 seconds on each side before using whole in sauces (remove chili from sauce before serving)
Raw Chili Peppers (as per the USDA National Nutrient data base)
|Serving size: 1/2 cup (100g or 3.5 ounces)|
|Calories from Fat||0|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 0 g|
|Saturated fat 0 g|
|Unsaturated fat 0 g|
|Carbohydrates 9 g||3%|
|Fiber 2 g||8%|
|Protein 2 g||4%|
|Cholesterol 0 mg|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
Serving Spicy Recipes
No matter how you use your chilies, just remember that the seeds and inner membrane of the pepper hold a great deal of the heat. Removing all—or part—of these before using them in a recipe can determine just how picante (spicy) your food results will be.
Make sure to have some ice cream or milk on hand for those who may have sensitivity to your hot chili fiery foods!
What's Your Chili Pepper Recipe?
Do you have a great recipe idea for dried peppers? Be sure to share it in the comments section below!