My food preservation skills recently entered a bold new world: dehydration.
My aunt sold me her food dehydrator for $10 last year, and I decided I was brave enough to try it out on some cayenne peppers that I grew this year.
There’s not much to it. I probably spent more time looking online for the manual than hands-on work drying the peppers.
1. Wash and dry the peppers.
2. Slice off top stem.
3. Place on tray.
4. Dry. Mine took 24 hours to get fully dry.
5. Crush in a food chopper (optional step).
6. Pulverize (outdoors) in a blender, food processor, or spice grinder.
I chose to run the dehydrator in our garage, not really knowing what kind of fumes hot peppers would release into the air. Having dried a few items now, I would recommend starting drying in late evening, as most things will require at least an overnight to dry, then can be monitored the next day. The alternative being starting the dehydrator in the morning, then having to wake periodically at night to check on food, or not checking and over-drying.
I used my blender to grind the peppers into cayenne powder. I had to run it for awhile and shake it around, but it did a fine job.
I dried about 3 trays full of peppers, yielding about 2/3 cup of cayenne pepper powder.
I’ll definitely be experimenting more with the dehydrator. I dried chunks of fresh pineapple alongside a second batch of peppers, and they turned out great, too. The dehydrator is officially a new member of my Food Preservation Arsenal.