Have you ever opened the fridge to reveal almost nothing but a massive stash of fresh chili peppers?
Not just us, right?
Every time you see this, you swear you won’t let one of these precious peppers go to waste. We know; we’ve done it too. But, even if you’re a super sincere chili head, there’s only so much you can get through at a time.
It’s why we’re all for dehydrating a least a portion of the chili peppers that seemed to have moved into your fridge, making it impossible to find room for the other food you need to get those peppers to your mouth.
Do you have a huge harvest of chili peppers?
One of the remarkable things about chili pepper plants is the reward you get for doing it right. When a chili pepper plant loves you as much as you love it, you’ll have so many precious peppers to harvest.
That’s how you end up with a fridge full of chilies. Okay, at least that’s how we end up with a refrigerator full of chili peppers.
But, you know as well as we do that you’ve got to do something with your harvest. The fridge is only a temporary stop on the way to long-term storage (and, or mass consumption for weeks on end).
There are a couple of ways you can deal with your hella huge chili pepper harvest. You can make your own hot sauce (a particular favorite of ours over at Maddog357.com) or can them (this trend is on its way back into modern homes). You can freeze them or pickle them.
One of the easiest ways to preserve your harvest, however, lies in oven dehydration. You’ve already got the tools you need (and all those frighteningly fiery chilies), you just need time. Plus, it’s ridiculously easy, so you’ll probably make this your go-to chili preservation method.
How to dehydrate chilies in the oven
The most important thing you need to dehydrate chilies in the oven is time.
To dehydrate your chilies, simply:
1. Remove the stems. You can also slice them in half lengthwise if you want to hustle the process along.
2. Place chilies on a baking sheet. Lining with parchment paper first will ensure chilies don’t stick to the sheet - and that you can use the baking sheet for making holiday cookies at some point in the future.
3. Put this sheet into your oven and set the temperature to 200°F.
4. After an hour, start checking for chilies that are definitely done and remove them, so they don’t burn. All of your chili peppers should be done within 3 hours (unless they’re huge).
5. After all the chilies are removed from the oven, allow them to cool.
Seriously, how easy is that?
How to properly store your dehydrated chiliesThe most significant decision you have to make, however, is how you want to store dehydrated chilies. You’ve got a few options:
1. Place whole chilies in the freezer to flash freeze them, then store them in a freezer-safe container in, you guessed it - your freezer, where they’ll last indefinitely.
2. Place whole chilies in an airtight jar and place them in a cool cupboard that’s not exposed to much heat or sunlight. They’ll last several months like this.
3. Crush your chilies using a food processor, coffee bean grinder or your favorite kitchen appliance and place these crushed chilies in an airtight container. Follow the same general guidelines as above for storing and consuming them.
And there you have it, dehydrated chilies to get you through the winter. Well, maybe. Maybe not, if you’re anything like us, that is.