How to harvest peppers for drying
Red jalapenos dry more successfully and retain more flavor than green jalapenos. To harvest jalapenos for drying it’s best to let them turn red on the plant. Not picking peppers will reduce your pepper production. You can harvest them once they begin to turn color and they will likely ripen to red on the counter.
Always use caution when harvesting jalapenos. Capsaicin induces severe irritation to the skin and eyes. Touching the outer skin can be enough to cause discomfort. Wear gloves when harvesting hot chilis. Spicy compounds are concentrated in the skin and seeds.
Drying in the open air
The simplest method of drying is to hang the chilis in the open air. Leave jalapenos whole. What you’ll need:
- Fishing line or string
- Dry location to hang
Use the needle to thread the line through the stem of the jalapenos. Tie knots to secure them in place. Leave significant space between the peppers to allow for airflow. Only create a rista or a tightly packed bunch of hanging peppers after they’ve dried completely.
Drying in an oven
Jalapenos need to be halved to dry in the oven. Cut them lengthwise and remove the stems and seeds. Spread the pepper halves in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Set the oven on a ‘warm’ setting. If that isn’t an option set it at the lowest temperature possible.
The temperature should be below 150°F (65°C). Check on the peppers periodically. If they appear to get soggy or blackened the temperature is too high. To reduce it further than the lowest setting, leave the door cracked open.
Flip jalapenos over halfway through the cycle to encourage even drying. They are completely dry when they are crisp without any chewiness.
In a dehydrator
A food dehydrator is convenient and easy for drying peppers. Cut them in half lengthwise and remove stems and seeds. Spread them in a single layer onto the dehydrator trays. Set the dehydrator between 135-145°F (57-63°C). They should dry in 8-12 hours.
What to do with dried jalapenos
Dried chili peppers can be powdered. The powder can be used in place of cayenne or chili powder in any recipe. They can also be left whole and used in a similar way to sun-dried tomatoes.