I have never really had much of a green thumb, but I do seem to have the ability to grow hot peppers. They grow like a weed in my garden. And, fortunately for me, they don’t seem to mind growing along side of all of the other weeds that I never seem to be able to keep up with!
Last summer I used our jalapeños to make a small batch of pickled jalapeño peppers… And, much to my surprise, we devoured them in a few short months. They were fabulous on top of chili and other dishes. So, when I was planning my garden this summer, I knew I wanted jalapeños and lots of them. For some reason, though, I decided to just buy a pack of seeds for an assortment of hot peppers. Surely there would be jalapeños in the mix, right? Wrong.
My knack for growing peppers served me well, and my mixed pepper plants did quite well. Unfortunately, none of them turned out to be jalapeños. I’m still not entirely certain of what kind of peppers we did get, but I am pretty sure my pepper harvest included banana peppers, serrano peppers, and kung pao peppers (or perhaps cayenne?). Let’s just say there will be no shortage of spice at my house this winter.
After canning 8 jars of pickled hot peppers, I still had more than my share of peppers left. I can’t bear to waste them, so I decided to dry them so that I have plenty of peppers around to cook with this winter. Even if you don’t have a garden devoted to spicy peppers, you can find plenty of hot peppers for a reasonable price at farmers’ markets this time of year. So, pick up a batch and try drying some peppers of your own. It couldn’t be simpler, and you’ll be happy to have them around to spice up those chilly winter months that are on the way!
Drying hot peppers is so easy, I feel kind of silly even writing these instructions. But, since it took me a few years to realize how easy it was, I wanted to be sure to share my knowledge. You can use a fancy appliance to dehydrate the peppers, you can dry them in your oven (which can take a while), or you can simply let them dry in a sunny spot in your kitchen. I bet you can guess which method I prefer!
Here are the simple steps to drying peppers in your kitchen…
- Wash and dry the peppers thoroughly. Only use firm, fresh peppers that have no blemishes or soft spots.
- Thread a (clean!) sewing needle with some thread and tie the ends of the thread in a knot.
- Push the needle through the top of the first pepper just below the stem. Pull the string through to the end and tie a knot around the pepper stem to secure the pepper at the bottom of the string.
- Thread the rest of the peppers onto the string.
- Remove the needle from the string and tie off the last pepper.
- Hang the peppers in a sunny and dry spot in your kitchen. In a few weeks, the peppers should be completely dry. Keep an eye on them, and remove any peppers that appear to spoil instead of drying.
- Once the peppers are dried, transfer them to an airtight container and store with your spices until you are ready to cook with them.