Peppers of all kinds are another pantry item that we like to preserve by dehydrating. We usually have an abundance of them with a nice long growing season here. They actually really start producing just when everything else has slowed down, so it’s nice timing. I find that storing one dehydrated pepper per half-pint jelly jar makes it easy to eyeball how much I need if a recipe calls for a certain amount of peppers. I can get a solid grasp on how much is, for instance, half a pepper. Portions look very different once dehydrated and isn’t easy to judge when you’ve got a gigantic jar of dehydrated slices. It also looks really pretty in different colored jars on the shelf and is easy to inventory. One jar = one pepper. Dehydrating is simple and requires no blanching or other preparation.
Use dehydrated pepper in recipes just as if they were fresh. Add them directly to soups and stews to reconstitute in the soup liquid or you can put them in a bowl of warm water for 15-20 minutes to reconstitute on their own.
- Wash and either slice or dice your peppers. I like to slice, but if you dice them, a whole pepper would probably fit in an even smaller quarter-pint jelly jar. That would be nice for space saving. Just don’t dice them too small, they shrink a lot and you’ll wind up with teeny tiny pieces.
- Once sliced, arrange, not touching, in a single layer on your dehydrator trays. One pepper per tray makes it easy to keep track of how much goes in each jar.
- Set the temperature on the dehydrator to 125 degrees F. Dehydrate until leathery. A good rule of thumb for time based on ambient humidity levels is:
4 hours if your current humidity is 10-30%
5 hours if 31-50%
6 hours if 51-70%
7 hours if 71-80%
8 hours if 81-100%
The dehydrator we use is the Excalibur 9-Tray however, we did not buy it new. They are so pricy that we looked around the online garage sales and Craigslist until we found one used. We also have a NESCO Snackmaster which was what we started out on. It still does the trick and is more affordable at $65 – 70 compared to the Excalibur.
- Once dehydrated, allow to cool and store in air tight, lidded jars in a dry, cool place.