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Drying and Preserving Hot Chili Peppers

Don’t let those hot chili peppers go to waste. Use them fresh, preserve or give as gifts.

Chili ristras are not only decorative, but a traditional way of drying and storing hot red chili peppers for future meals. Create your own ristra with cotton string, red chili peppers and a series of knots to secure the peppers onto the string and eventually the twine.

Or dry your peppers in a dehydrator or on a foil lined cookie sheet in the oven. Wipe the peppers clean and spread in a single layer. Speed up the process by slicing through the peppers or dicing into smaller pieces.

The peppers are dry and ready for storage when they are dark red, shrunken, but still flexible.

Thoroughly dried peppers can be crushed into flakes.

Or try canning, freezing or pickling a few peppers to enjoy throughout the winter.

And be sure to wear gloves and wash hands thoroughly when you’re done.

A bit more information: Always label peppers at harvest. Some hot peppers, like Hungarian half sharp peppers, look just like the banana pepper. Try using separate harvest pails or labeled plastic bags to separate the sweet and hot peppers.

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