Ghost peppers rank at a fiery one million on the Scoville scale that measures spiciness. This level of heat can cause irritation with the slightest amount of exposure. Wear protective equipment anytime you are working with spicy chilis.
Always wear gloves when handling ghost peppers. Eye protection is also advised. Capsaicin can become airborne and burn the eyes, mouth, nose, and skin.
Dry ghost peppers three ways:
- In a food dehydrator
- In an oven
- In the open air
The first step to drying peppers is washing them. Go through each fruit and discard any mushy, rotten, or diseased portions. If you plan on using a dehydrator or an oven, you can slice the peppers into rounds, cubes, or any shape you desire.
To improve the flavor of dried peppers consider blanching them ahead of time. Blanch peppers by immersing them in boiling water for two minutes. Then immediately plunge them into an ice water bath. This step isn’t necessary, but it will produce superior dried fruits.
Peppers over one inch in length should be chopped or cut into rounds before going into the dehydrator. Spread peppers onto the dehydrator racks as evenly as possible. Set the machine to between 135-145°F (57-62°C). It will take somewhere between eight and twelve hours to fully dry peppers.
Again it is best to slice or chop fruits over one inch in length with this method. Spread the fruit evenly onto cookie sheets in a single layer. Set your oven on the lowest temperature possible. 150°F (65°C) or below is ideal.
Keep an eye on the peppers. If they appear to be cooking or turning soft, leave the oven door cracked to lower the temperature. It can take up to 24 hours to fully dry peppers in an oven.
In The Open Air
This option is the simplest way to dry peppers, and it doesn’t add heat to the kitchen. Most of the time peppers are left whole. You can spread them out on racks or screens and leave them to dry in a few days.
Or, use a needled to thread some string through each pepper stem. Tie a knot to secure each on in place and leave them to hang dry. Leave space between drying peppers. Only string them together into a rista once fully dried.