Usually when I write a post about food I start off by telling you how much I love that particular food. What can I say? I am a food lover! But I can't lie about peppers. I really don't like them. I use them in cooking for seasoning and spice but you won't see me preparing stuffed peppers or tossing them into my salad. Unfortunately, my family does not share my dislike of peppers and so I have to deal with them from time to time, and I do grow them in my garden.
It's really only bell peppers that I dislike; Jalapenos and Peperoncini I really do like, but they don't like me back so I avoid them. So it's not like I hate all forms of this huge family of vegetables. Also, I do realize that sweet peppers do add a certain flavor to foods that I do like.
Peppers are a little complicated because some are sweet, some are mild, some are hot and some are OMG hot. They even developed a scale to indicate pungency (hotness) of peppers--the Scoville Scale. Sweet peppers have a zero rating (no significant heat) and Carolina Reapers have a rating of 1,569,300, which basically means they burn A LOT from the time they enter your body until the time they exit your body, and they can even burn your skin. While I have occasionally bought Serrano, Arbol, and Cayenne chili peppers for spice, in general Jalapenos are as high up on the Scoville Scale as I like to go (at about only 5,000 Scoville units). Chili peppers (or chilies) are simply peppers with a little heat. They all come from the same family of vegetable but people often drop the word "pepper" from chili pepper and refer to hot peppers solely as chilies.
Dehydrating peppers or drying chili peppers is a standard commercial practice, unlike a lot of other vegetables, and it's not uncommon to see a bag of dried chili peppers in the grocery store. However, drying the peppers with low heat is still a bit unconventional which is a shame because they have the most potential and can be used in more recipes.
How To Dehydrate Peppers
Start with fresh ripe peppers.
Wash your peppers.
Chop up your peppers.
You can leave the peppers in larger chunks or you can dice them up. I remove all the seeds from the sweet peppers.
You can leave the seeds in smaller peppers with a little heat if you like. Keep in mind the seeds are hotter than the pepper, so leaving the seeds in will make the dehydrated peppers hotter.
I'm lazy and use my food processor to chop up the peppers.
Be sure and use the pulse button if you decided to use your food processor as you do not want to liquefy the peppers.
Here is the size of my food processed chopped peppers.
Load up your dehydrator trays. The back two trays have sweet peppers and the front tray has Poblano peppers.
I have a 9 tray Excalibur Dehydrator and I loaded it with 6 trays of sweet peppers, 1 tray of Poblanos, one tray of Peperoncini and one tray of Jalapenos. Mixing the dry peppers to use in soups and stews takes flavors to a whole new level.
Set the dehydrator on the vegetable setting for about 18 hours.
Here are the dried Poblanos.
Here are some of the dried sweet peppers.
Place them in a container that is air tight. For long term storage you will want to keep the dried peppers away from light, air, heat and moisture. You can add them to soups, stews, chilies, salads, or whatever creation you can come up with or you can make them into pepper powder.
To Make Pepper Powder
Here I'm making Jalapeno powder with my KRUPS coffee grinder - my favorite tool for making powdered dehydrated food. You can make sweet pepper powder, hot pepper powder, mild pepper powder. The possibilities and combinations are endless. I have a friend who makes homemade spaghetti sauce with sweet pepper powder because if you add powder to the mixture you don' t have to wait for the mixture to cook down. You've already removed a lot of water.
Here is what the pepper powder looks like after it's been ground.
Here is a closer look.
Before I add dehydrated peppers or pepper powder to my food storage I always vacuum pack them with my FoodSaver in Mason jars. I love this attachment for canning jars. It comes in a regular mouth size and a wide mouth jar size.
To reconstitute add one tablespoon of power to two tablespoons water. If you add the dehydrated peppers or powder to soups, stews or chili just add water as needed, as there is probably enough liquid in your recipe to accommodate reconstituting a few peppers or a few tablespoons of pepper powder.
Can you think of other ways to use dehydrated peppers?