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The harvest of pepperoni, chili peppers and others is usually rich and, above all, simultaneous. But of course these tasty, often spicy vegetables cannot all be used in the kitchen at the same time. Therefore, they must be preserved for later use. The different pods can be dried in different ways and can still be used in the kitchen months later if they are stored properly after drying.
So that all pods, such as pepperoni, chili, pepperoni and others are well preserved after a rich harvest, they are dried if possible. This is because the water is removed from them and they can be preserved for the winter and until the next harvest and used in the kitchen at any time. In this way, everyone can make their own hot spices according to their taste. This is how the dry pods are kept whole. If they are later used in the kitchen again, they can simply be soaked in water and then processed as normal according to the recipe. Another possibility is to produce powder after drying, which is later simply added to the food as a spice.
There are different types of drying:
- Chili spread out lying down
- in the oven
- on the leash
- in a dehydrator, cheap if you already have it
- Peperoni knotted as a ristra
Drying in the air is not always suitable, as this requires a dry, warm and well-ventilated place when the weather is not cooperating. Therefore, if the pods do not dry out properly because the place for drying is not suitable, then they can be attacked by mold or fungus, for example, or they start to rot. In such a case, drying in the oven is recommended. Just open or already cut pods are ideally placed in the oven or a dehydrator.
location for drying
The right location is important so that the pods are not damaged when they are dried. A place in the direct sun is often not recommended, because then the fruits that still have water in them burn more easily. It is better to choose a warm, airy and dry place.
- a storage room
- a boiler room with windows for ventilation
- an unused laundry room
- if this is used, it is too damp overall
- a covered terrace or balcony without much sunlight
It is important that the chosen location is protected from moisture or rain. Therefore, a location on a terrace or balcony is only suitable in summer, when there is no fear of rain. Otherwise, the humidity here is too high and it is better to choose a closed room.
Chili on a pad
Air drying is of course the cheapest way to dry the pods, but it usually takes the longest. The easiest way to do this is to spread out the pods. Baking paper, linen or a large, clean wooden board can be used as a base. Because that is exactly one of the drying methods in the chili-growing areas. Many types of pods are suitable for air-drying, especially the thin-fleshed varieties are ideal here, such as Cayenne Chile, Tabasco or Thai Dragon and of course many others. When drying lying down in the air, you should therefore proceed as follows.
- choose a sheltered location
- Spread out cloth or paper
- alternatively put wooden slats together on the floor
- distribute the pods on top
- lay them out so they don't touch
- so enough air gets into the gaps
- low humidity is important
After about two weeks, the thin-walled pods should be dry in this way. Once dry, they can be stored or further processed into powder. The pods with a thick flesh, on the other hand, easily start to mold when air-dried because the moisture stays in the flesh for too long. Therefore, different drying is better for these varieties. The pods should also not be cut into slices before drying. Because with whole chili peppers, the skin protects against flies and dust. Pepperoni with the flesh already exposed are much more exposed to insects and dirt.
Chili on the leash
Thick-walled peppers can also be line dried. For this purpose, they are ideally halved in advance with a sharp knife. Then they are hung on a thin clothesline, which is poked and pulled through the peppers. The leash is hung protected, out of direct sunlight, in an airy room without much humidity. A drying room or storage is ideal for this. With this method, however, vitamins can be lost and pests such as flies can settle on the interfaces.
tie a ristra
If you like it like in South America, you can also do the work and tie the pepperoni as ristras. This is not only decorative but also practical. Because a lot of space is saved and the pods tied together look beautiful and very decorative. Above all, they can be hung up to dry in practically any sheltered place. In addition, the chili peppers hanging in the kitchen are said to bring good luck. Especially from Hungary and Mexico this kind of knotting can be found at the weekly markets.
The ristra is knotted as follows:
- use thin-walled chili peppers
- not every variety is suitable
- needle and thread are required for threading
- there must be a stem on the pods
- tie a thick knot at the end of the thread
- pull the other end through the needle
- pull the string through the stems with the needle
- ideally sort by size
- small pods below, growing larger towards the top
- looks more decorative later
Ideally, the needle with the thread is pierced directly close to the crown, paying attention to a 45° angle. It looks neater this way. Then several threaded chili strands are twisted together, resulting in a decorative work of art. You can also pay attention to the color gradient. The ristras are then hung in an airy and warm place with little humidity and without direct sunlight. It takes about two weeks before the peppers are dry and can be processed or stored.
In the oven
Pepperoni in the oven
If you don't have much time or space to spread out the pods and air dry them, you can also dry various types of peppers and chillies in the oven at low heat. This type of drying is particularly suitable for the fleshy and thick-walled pods. Because these would have to be exposed to the air longer to dry out than the pod with a relatively thin skin. The procedure for drying the pepperoni in the oven is as follows.
- Cut the peppers lengthways
- use a sharp knife for this
- remove the seeds and stem
- Place the halved chili peppers on a baking sheet
- Parchment paper is helpful
- Dry for six hours at around 75° Celsius
If the chillies are dry, they can be removed from the oven for storage or further processing. The seeds are mainly removed from the very hot varieties, because this is where the most heat is. If you like it very spicy, you can also dry the kernels and use them later.
In the dehydrator
If you often dry chili, pepperoni or other fruit, you can also do this in a dehydrator. Of course, this has to be purchased and the purchase is only worthwhile if it is used several times. However, a dehydrator has the advantage of gentle yet fast drying. Because such a device can usually be set to different temperatures and has good, continuous air circulation.
It also has individual drying levels, so that many chili peppers can be dried at once. The dehydrator is suitable for all types, whether thick-walled or thin-walled. The pods can be cut or dried whole.
Grind to powder
If the pods are dry, they can also be ground into a powder and can be used as a spice, mixed with salt and pepper, or individually as chili powder in the kitchen. Grinding the pods, which need to be really dry, is easy. Either an electric coffee grinder is available for this purpose or it is pounded by hand in a mortar. The advantage of the ground powder in a coffee grinder is that it becomes particularly fine.
The powder from the mortar is usually a little coarser, but can be mixed with salt and other ingredients to create a delicious spice mix. The coarser powder can also be filled into a pepper or salt mill, then it comes out very finely ground at the end. The powder is stored in dry, well-sealable jars. You can also use empty spice jars that have been saved beforehand. The advantage here is that they already have lids with small and larger holes from which the powder is simply scattered when used.
It is also important to store the chili peppers so that they are not damaged over the storage period. Above all, the dried pods must also be kept in a dry place. If the peppers have already been dried on a ristra or a line, they can simply be left hanging in an airy room and removed if necessary. But storing them in an air-permeable wooden box that is placed in a warm place is also a good solution.
The storage procedure is as follows:
- for chili peppers, store horizontally layer upon layer
- To prevent mold on stored chili peppers, place baking paper between the layers
- regularly check if pods are still good
However, the dried pods can also be stored whole in a closed, airtight jar. However, this is only suitable for a small amount.