When your garden generously gifts you with a bounty of bell peppers, one of the best ways to store them is by drying them! Dried bell peppers are quite common in numerous dishes worldwide. Sure, you could buy them pre-dried, but where’s the fun in that?
Making your own dried bell peppers from your bountiful harvest is the ideal way to utilize them. You can air dry them, use a food dehydrator, dry them on the counter, or even dry them in the sun. Of course, always remember to follow safety guidelines when drying and storing your peppers.
Keep reading to discover different methods to dry your bell peppers!
What is the best way to dry bell peppers?
Drying bell peppers is so effective in preserving your pepper harvest that you’ll wish you’d started sooner.
While fresh bell peppers are often found in salads and stir-fries, dried bell peppers can lend a concentrated, sweet, and mildly tangy flavor to your dishes. They are less spicy than their chili pepper counterparts, making them a versatile ingredient for different culinary explorations.
So, for those of us blessed with a plentiful harvest of bell peppers, how do we go about drying them?
The best ways to dry bell peppers include:
- Air drying
- Food dehydrator
- Drying them on the counter
- Sun drying
Let’s delve into each method in more detail.
Air-drying bell peppers is a time-honored, simple, and efficient technique.
Air-drying bell peppers is one of the most straightforward ways to dry them. You cut slits in the peppers near the stems and thread them together using a thin string. Then, hang them up in a well-ventilated room. Your peppers should be dry in about two to three weeks!
While air drying takes more time than using a dehydrator, it’s a cheaper and potentially simpler method!
First, cut a slit as close to the stem as you can. Then, use a large needle and thread a thin string through all the stems.
After stringing all the peppers, hang them up in a well-ventilated room. Good air circulation is crucial to prevent unwanted humidity, which can cause your peppers to mold.
Air-drying bell peppers takes about two to three weeks.
Using a food dehydrator is the quickest way to dry bell peppers.
Food dehydrators are a go-to for drying many vegetables, including bell peppers! Clean them, cut them up, and place them in the dehydrator. After a few hours, you’ll have fully dried peppers!
Drying bell peppers in a food dehydrator is fairly simple once you’ve done it once!
Rinse and dry your peppers, then cut off the stems.
Slice your peppers as desired, keeping in mind that smaller pieces will dry quicker.
Dehydrate at a temperature of 130°F until your peppers are crisp and tough.
Dry them on the counter
You may be surprised to learn that you can dry bell peppers right on your counter!
Drying your bell peppers on the counter can work if you have low humidity and good ventilation. You don’t even need to cut your peppers since they can dry whole!
If you live in a low-humidity area with good ventilation, this method is as easy as pie!
Spread your peppers out so they aren’t touching. No need to cut them because bell peppers can dry naturally whole!
Sun-drying bell peppers is a cost-effective and natural way to dry your delicious harvest.
You’ll need hot, sunny days for this method to work effectively. Slice your peppers and lay them out in the sun, rotating occasionally. Just remember to bring them inside at night to avoid any dewfall.
Sun-drying bell peppers is a simple yet specific process.
You’ll need temperatures of at least 85°F for multiple days, and low humidity.
Rinse your peppers, then slice them and lay them on screen trays. Cover them with cheesecloth to protect your peppers from pesky insects and birds.
Can dried bell peppers mold?
Now that you’ve dried your peppers, are they immune to mold?
Sadly, no. Dried bell peppers can mold if they are exposed to moisture, which they can reabsorb every time you open their storage containers or if they’re stored improperly. That’s why proper storage is so important!
So, remember folks, it’s not just us humans who need to stay dry. Our dried peppers need their personal space too!
How do you dry bell peppers so they don’t mold?
You might be wondering, “How do I keep my peppers safe from mold?”
To dry bell peppers so they don’t mold, let them cool down completely after drying. Then store them in cans, vacuum-sealed bags, freezer containers, or plastic freezer bags. The best way to prevent mold is to store your peppers in serving-sized containers so you’re not opening and closing the main container constantly!
Let your dried peppers cool down completely. We don’t want them to start sweating, which can potentially release moisture and cause mold.
Store your dried peppers in cans, vacuum-sealed bags, freezer containers, or plastic freezer bags.
Another top tip: pack your peppers into multiple serving-sized containers. Every time you open a container, you expose it to moisture and air, which can lead to molding. So, by storing them in smaller, portioned containers, you’ll reduce the risk significantly!
How do you know when bell peppers are dry enough?
If you’re new to drying bell peppers, it can be tricky to know when they’re done drying.
Fully-dried bell peppers will be crisp and tough, similar to a dried apple slice.
If you plan on grinding them into powder, ensure the peppers are completely dry before doing so.
How long do dried bell peppers last?
Drying peppers is the longest-term solution for storing bell peppers.
Dried bell peppers can last 1-2 years if stored properly.
Of course, this depends on keeping them stored in a cool, dry place. And no, the back seat of your car doesn’t count!
So there you have it! Get out there and start turning those juicy bells into dried gems that you can use all year round. After all, ‘bell peppers are just spicy apples’, right? Just kidding!