Thursday, October 7, 2010

Home dried Serrano Chilis

Today I harvested all my Serrano chili's and took them in the house so that I could dry them in the oven for future use. I washed the peppers with warm water and dried them thoroughly with a dish towel. Next I removed the stems. Be sure to discard peppers if they have:
    •    Soft, mushy, or spoiled areas
    •    White, grayish, or diseased-looking spots
    •    Have a questionable or rotten odor
Also remember before you start drying peppers to take the following precautions:
If you're drying peppers indoors, keep the area well-ventilated. Warmed peppers will give off strong fumes that are irritating to the eyes. Make sure to open your windows and bring in a portable fan or two to keep the air circulating and minimize the watery eyes and burned nasal passages. Take extra precaution around young children, pets, or anyone who is sensitive to spicy foods.

Drying in the Oven

You can dry peppers in any regular kitchen oven. Simply place the peppers on a cookie sheet in a single layer and place it in the oven. Set the oven to its lowest temperature setting, which is usually labeled as "WARM", or just below 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Every hour, rotate and/or flip the peppers over for even drying. As soon as they're fully dry, remove from the oven and place in an air-tight container. Larger, thicker-skinned peppers will take longer to dry than smaller or thin-skinned chili's. Once chili's are totally dry and cooled off they may be placed in a plastic storage container or a zip lock baggie. I like them ground up and saved for chili spices. There are some excellent Serrano Chili recipes at this blog.

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