Posted October 14, 2004 by Nick Lindauer in Peppers

Question: How can I dry an extra batch of cherry peppers for future use?

Answer: For home-drying fruits and vegetables, the most reliable way is to dry them in a food dehydrator or in the oven if you don’t have a dedicated food dryer. Peppers can be dried in the sun as well. I have seen acres of red peppers being dried out in the sun in arid Arizona. But despite our name of the Sunshine State, sunshine bright enough to dry things can be pretty fickle here. Then there are those sudden squalls to contend with.

Here is how I would go about it: Wash, drain and dry the peppers well. If you want to dry these beautiful, cherry-like peppers whole, cut a slit in each to let moisture out; or you can halve and seed. (Seeding will reduce heat, since some cherry peppers can have a fair bite.) If you have a large amount, put the prepared peppers on a towel-lined baking sheet or tray in a single layer and dry until leathery in a 200-degree oven, about 8 hours. Keep the oven door slightly ajar for air circulation.

If it is a small amount, just place the tray on top of the refrigerator. Warm air rising from the back of the fridge will help dry the fruits (yes, peppers are fruits!) quicker. For an electric food dehydrator, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. These reasonably priced gadgets are a boon if you like to dry fruits and veggies.

Drying may be fine, but the traditional method of preserving cherry peppers is to pickle them. Although nothing will really save the beautiful red color and glossy skin of the fresh cherry peppers, pickling may be kinder to their looks.

Nick Lindauer

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