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3 Easy Methods for Drying Chillies at Home

If you enjoy growing chillies in your garden and end up with a bumper crop, you can easily dry them to preserve them for use throughout the year.

Drying your own home-grown chillies is particularly useful for southern gardeners who may only be able to grow chillies during the warmer months.

This process will also intensify their flavour and heat, which is an added bonus if you like your chillies hot.

Here are several different methods to dry the chillies you harvest from your garden.

Air drying your chillies

drying chillies string | Fruit & Vegetables

Make sure that you only use good quality chillies that are fully ripe as these will give the best results. Wash your chillies first before you start the drying process.

Air drying is the traditional way to dry chillies and has been used by gardeners for centuries. To do this, you need some string to tie your chillies together.

The string or twine needs to be threaded through the stem of each fruit. However, you want to ensure that there is space between each one to allow for good air circulation.

Once you’ve threaded all your chillies onto the string, you can now hang this in an airy, dry spot that is relatively warm. This could be on a verandah or balcony as long as there is protection from cold winds and rain.

It’s best not to hang your chillies in direct sunlight because this may bleach the fruit and destroy its delicious flavour.

It should only take around a week for your chillies to be completely dry in ideal conditions.

Another way to air dry your chillies is to place them on a tray lined with paper. Put this in a warm spot that gets plenty of airflow. 

In order for the chillies to dry evenly, you’ll have to turn them once a day until they are fully dried.

Oven drying your chillies

drying chillies in oven | Fruit & Vegetables

If you don’t have a suitable spot outside to hang your chillies, you might want to consider drying them in the oven instead.

This is a much faster process and gives excellent results. Place the washed and dried chillies on an oven tray lined with baking paper in a single layer.

Make sure that there’s a little space between each one so that they’re not touching each other.

Turn your oven to its lowest setting and put the tray of chillies inside. Fan-forced ovens are ideal for this because the warm air will speed up the drying process.

Keep an eye on your chillies and turn them once an hour to stop them from sticking. This also helps them to dry more evenly. When doing this, open the oven door slowly to let the spicy fumes escape and not burn your eyes.

The oven-drying process can take around four hours or more depending on the size of the chillies. You just have to watch them so that they don’t shrivel up and dry to a crisp.

Once the chillies are sufficiently dry, turn off the oven, open the door slightly and let them cool down naturally. 

Drying your chillies in a food dehydrator

chillies in food dehydrator | Fruit & Vegetables

If you happen to have a food dehydrator, this is a great tool to use to dry your chillies. However, you might like to place this outside on a covered verandah or patio so that the fumes don’t overwhelm your house.

Place your chillies on the trays in a single layer and ensure that they’re not touching. You might like to line your trays with baking paper so that the chillies don’t get stuck.

Put the trays into the dehydrator and set the temperature to around 60 degrees Celsius. The time it takes to dry your chillies will depend on the model that you have and the size of the chillies.

Just keep an eye on them and test to see if they’re dry every couple of hours. 

How to store your dried chillies

Once your chillies are completely dry, it’s best to store them in an airtight container such as a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid.

You should store this in a cool, dry place such as your pantry. Storing them this way means that light, moisture and air won’t destroy the flavour and intensity of your dried chillies.

It’s also a good idea to label the jars of dried chillies with the date that they were dried so that you know to use the oldest ones first.

FAQ

Can you leave chillies to dry on the plant?

It is possible to leave your chillies on the plant to dry but if it rains, the chillies may eventually spoil. Therefore, it’s better to harvest them and dry them in one of the ways outlined above.

How long will dried chillies last?

If dried correctly, whole chillies can last for up to four years without losing their flavour.

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Annette Hird

Annette Hird is a gardening expert with many years of experience in a range of gardening related positions. She has an Associate Diploma of Applied Science in Horticulture and has worked in a variety of production nurseries, primarily as a propagator. She has also been responsible for a large homestead garden that included lawn care, fruit trees, roses and many other ornamental plants. More recently, Annette has concentrated on improving the garden landscape of the homes that she has lived in and focused a lot of energy on growing edible plants as well. She now enjoys sharing her experience and knowledge with others by writing articles about all facets of gardening and growing plants.

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