Before you get started, go through all the peppers that you are considering drying first. You want to throw all the bad ones in the garbage. Toss anything that looks mushy, soft, spoiled, and/or smells funny. If there are spots on them that are white or gray or just look nasty, throw them out.
Once that is done, take all the peppers that are left and wash them in warm water, then thoroughly dry with a cloth towel.
Peppers can easily sting sensitive places on the body, including eyes and any other mucus membranes. So if you are working in your kitchen, make sure it is well ventilated. Open the windows and turn on the ceiling fan if you have one. Â Also, always wear gloves while handling the peppers and thoroughly wash your hands after you touch them. Keep your hands away from your eyes, face or other sensitive body areas after handling the peppers. Â In fact, you may even want to consider wearing a pair of safety goggles while working with the peppers just to keep you from accidently touching your eyes or spraying them with juice squeezed from the peppers.
Preparing Cayenne Peppers for Drying
If you are going to dry your peppers in a dehydrator or in the oven remove the stems first.Â If you want to hang them to air dry however, you’ll need the stems, so don’t remove them!
The actual drying process can be done in a conventional oven, a food dehydrator, indoors, or outside. What method you choose will depend on what is most convenient for you:
- An oven is convenient and quick. Just set the temperature to 150 degrees F and dry the peppers for 2-3 hours. Â Turn them over occasionally while they are drying. You can either dry them whole or cut them lengthwise and remove the seeds. Remember to wear your gloves during this procedure! Also, you might want to make some plans to do some outdoor work while the peppers are drying as the fumes will fill the house!
- A food dehydrator is actually the simplest way to dry cayenne peppers and you won’t need to turn them over. If you donâ€™t have one of these, itâ€™s better to pay extra for a good one. Drying peppers this way only takes about 8 to 12 hours to complete.
- Drying them inside is the easiest method but can take the longest. Just put them, whole or sliced, in a bowl or plate, in a single layer, place the bowl or plate in a cool dry location and waitâ€¦ up to a few weeks
- To dry cayenne peppers outside, you can lay them on a sheet and set them out in the sun, or you can hang them from a string. This is not only effective, but they look pretty at the same time. Drying them outside can take up to 2 weeks. If you do not live someplace where you get weeks of sun at a time, try hanging your peppers in a cool dry spot such as the cellar or garage. They will probably take several weeks to dry, but it is a great alternative when you don’t get lots of sunny days.
As you can see, thereâ€™s a way of drying cayenne peppers to suit every lifestyle.