Dehydrating foods can be a great alternative to freezing or bottling when keeping foods preserved for longer. You can effectively dehydrate all sorts of food types, including fruits, veggies, meats, jams, yogurt, sauces, herbs, and so much more.
It is also entirely possible to dehydrate a large stash of bell peppers that you might have picked up at a bargain price. In this guide, we will share some great tips on how to dehydrate bell peppers into flakes that can be stored for years without taking up much space.
How to Dehydrate Bell Peppers
It is pretty easy to dehydrate or dry bell peppers. If you are new to dehydrating foods, then this is the best vegetable to start with, especially since dried sweet pepper flakes have so many uses. Here is a quick look at the easiest steps to follow if you want to make dried bell peppers rich in color and fragrance.
Things You Need
Step 1 - Cut and Prep
It is always a good idea to give the bell pepper a good rinse before you start cutting them. Remove all seeds and dice all usable parts of the sweet bell peppers into uniform pieces. You can choose to chop your peppers into small cubes or make thin, long slices from the entire sweet pepper.
Step 2 - Store the Seeds
This is also a good time to harvest hot pepper seeds for planting next season. You can simply sort the seeds from the peppers and place them in a small bowl for natural air drying. Once the seeds have dried, they can be stored in a bottle for many years.
Step 3 - Place Peppers Inside Your Dehydrator
You can dry these larger peppers in an oven or even use the microwave. But these cooking tools are hardly recommended because they function at high temperatures that may kill the nutrients and aroma in the green peppers. The thicker peppers can also become burnt, and these kitchen appliances take a lot of energy compared to a dehydrator.
The best way to dehydrate your fresh bell peppers is inside a quality dehydrator. These devices are specially developed to dry foods evenly at low temperatures to preserve all of the nutrients and flavor. Dehydrators also come with tiered shelves so you can dry a lot of products simultaneously.
Place the chopped or sliced bell peppers on the dehydrator tray and position them in the dehydrator. Spread the larger peppers evenly and avoid stacking food items on top of each other.
Next, you need to set the dehydrator at 125 degrees Fahrenheit and keep it running for 12-24 hours. Your location and temperature can impact the drying time. Check your peppers every couple of hours, so they don't become too dry and brittle.
Step 4 - Remove and Store
The peppers should be completely dry without any softness in them. If the thicker peppers are not fully dried, they won't last as long in storage and can start to go bad or show signs of mold growth.
Once your peppers have fully dried, you can remove them from your dehydrator and set them aside for cooling. When the dried peppers have thoroughly cooled, you can place them in a clean, airtight container.
Step 5 - Grind (Optional)
If you want to use your bell peppers as a seasoning or inside soups, you can also add the dehydrated peppers to a blender. The blender will grind the peppers into a fine dust so you can easily sprinkle them in any type of food.
How to Store Dehydrated Bell Peppers
It is imperative to store dried peppers correctly, or they can lose their flavor or color over time. Here is a quick look at the best storage tips to keep your peppers in good condition for longer.
Store in Air-tight Containers
Moisture can ruin any dried food. If peppers are stored in the open air, they quickly lose their flavor, aroma, and color and can become very hard.
By storing your pepper flakes in an air-tight storage container, you can keep their goodness locked in and prevent humidity in the air from triggering mold or mildew growth. An air-tight container will also keep that crunchy yet soft texture preserved.
Store Away From Light
Light and direct sunlight can also cause your dried peppers to degrade quickly. It is best to store these foods in the back of your food cupboard and away from direct sunlight.
Store at a Cool Temperature
Excessive heat will cause evaporation and make your peppers lose their vivid color and flavor. You can store them at room temperature, but a cooler environment like a fridge or cold room would be preferable.
Freeze the Dried Peppers
Dried peppers can also be frozen to prolong their shelf life. Place them in a freezer bag to protect the product from humidity and keep them frozen until you need to use them.
How to Use Dehydrated Peppers
There are so many different uses for dehydrated peppers. These food items can be added to all sorts of foods, including pasta dishes, fish dishes, soups, sauces, salads, stews, and many others.
In some applications, like inside cooked meals, you can use the dried peppers as is and simply add them to the pot. They will rehydrate on their own when they are cooked along with other foods.
For some food types, like enchilada sauce, hot sauce, and others, you might prefer to rehydrate your peppers before using them for cooking.
How to Rehydrate Dehydrated Peppers
It is easy to rehydrate foods that have been dehydrated. Simply soak the needed amount of peppers in hot water for about 30 minutes or more. The pepper will slowly absorb the moisture and start to look like it once did before the product was dehydrated.
The Tasty Takeaway
Now that you know how to dehydrate bell peppers, you can get to work on making these and many other food items that you can easily store away in your pantry.
If you are looking for more advice on how to dehydrate other types of foods or are in the market for a quality dehydrator, you can look at some of the other guides we have on Healthy Meals Hub. With our handy site, you can make all the best tasting and healthy meals your family can eat.