I am going to dry some cayenne and thai chili peppers in my dehydrator. This is my first time doing this, and I am wondering if I need to cut the peppers up first, or dry them whole since they are so small?? Thanks. Michele
Any of the smaller, thinner peppers can be dried whole, they just take longer than if they're cut up or at least cut open. I think it does speed drying somewhat to take a knife and puncture each one a couple of times to make some slits to allow some of the moisture to come out, but that's optional of course.
And, based on personal experience, I would suggest you put the dehydrator in a garage or outbuilding, or at least a room where you can close the door and seal it up. The drying process evaporates or volatilizes some the capsaicin, and I found that, when trying to dry them in my kitchen, I would get a runny nose, burning eyes and throat. The reaction was powerful enough that I only tried it indoors one time.
these are the easiest peppers to dry. no need for a dehydrator with these peppers. I string them up with a strong thread and needle. you might try some dental floss for thread. Just hang them in a room. The extra heat of a dehydrator will only take away some flavors.
If you want to dry them fast you can slit them in half top to bottom and lay them out in the sunshine open side toward the sun. they should dry in one day that way.
However, I find the best way to preserve the fresh flavor is to immediately make a hot sauce. Just add to vinegar and grind them up in a blender or food processor and put into a bottle. instant hot sauce.
The vinegar preserves.
Great advice from denninmi on putting the dehydrator outside (or at least in another room). Learned that the hard way. ;)
Thanks everyone! I don't have a garage or an outside building but I will start them outside this morning and move them into the basement at night if they aren't dry yet! Thanks for the warning, I never would have known. Also, does anyone have a good recipe for some hot sauce??
I give them a quick chop in half and put the dehydrator in the bathroom with the fan on for the fumes. They are usually dry over night.
I dry my hot peppers whole in the dehydrator. I put the dehydrator on my kitchen counter near an open window and the fumes don't bother us. We do have a large kitchen though with good ventilation.
Then when I want to spice up a dish with pepper flakes, I take out my mortar and pestle and grind some up. In the photo, the quart jar holds cayenne and the pint jar holds match box peppers.
BTW when they say wear gloves when handling hot peppers they say so for good reason. I learned twice the hard way. Two times over the years when I didn't wear gloves, my hands were so burned that I had to go to sleep with my hands submerged in a bowl of water sitting on my chest. If I took them out of the water they felt like they were on fire.
I also hang hot peppers, don't use the dehydrator for them.
My dehydrator is in the kitchen, was a nice 77 degrees this morning running all night for the bell peppers. I will take out to the porch, if I decide to dry onions.
Cutting hot peppers has never bothered my hands, but stupid me, a few weeks ago, forgot I had chopped jalapenos earlier, rubbed my eyelash...YEIKS! Was at the neighbors, had to say a quick goodbye cause I couldn't open my eye.
Went home to a 20 minute yogurt mask. Yogurt is great for stopping the heat, or you can use milk or ice cream, BTW.
Dairy products contain casion (sp) to reduce the caspium receptor. Water intensifies.
I just canned up the Ball recipe for Hot Sauce, used 4oz jars to pass around and everyone loves it so far..me I think I will reduce the sugar for the next batch.