I’m probably a little late posting this, but maybe someone can use this as a guide next season! The peppers in my little balcony garden were a big fail this year, but I was fortunate that my friend Nicole from The Fresh Kitchen had a beautiful haul this year and shared the wealth with me.
Although fresh chilies are delicious, there are reasons why drying them for later works well. Perhaps you have an abundance and some are at risk of spoiling. Maybe a specific recipe calls for dry peppers. I wanted to make chilli jam with mine, but didn’t have time to get it done before they went bad.
You can dry chilies a few different ways: in the sun, in your oven, in the dry air, or in a dehydrator. I chose the oven for my chilies. I’ve also dried figs in the oven, by the way; it’s the same concept.
To dry chilies in the oven, make sure your oven is on the lowest setting possible, no more than 130 degrees fahrenheit. If it’s too hot, the chilies will just cook. The time to dry is going to vary, depending on your oven and the size and type of your chilies. Expect it to take at least six hours, but check every hour or two.
You want to release the moisture from the air, so either leave your oven door open, or crack it open every hour for a few minutes. With the second method, you may have to leave the chilies in the oven longer. I ended up doing most of my oven drying after Baby J went to bed, because I was concerned about leaving the oven cracked while he was awake. If you have pets, that’s something else you should probably monitor.
If you want, you can turn the oven off before going to bed, leaving the home, etc. The chillies will be just fine. Just start up the oven again when you get back.
One thing to note…the fumes from the drying chilies can be really strong. Make sure the area is ventilated. Set up a fan, open the windows, etc. You’ll know the chilies are dry when they are easy to snap into two.
That’s it! Very simple.