Habanero peppers are a kind of chili pepper that is very small but very explosive in its spice. They can either be in red or orange colors and, unlike the green peppers, they shouldn’t be eaten by small kids or someone who may not be used to super spicy foods.
Drying a habanero pepper is one of the ways to preserve it for later use in cooking. You may wonder: how do you dry a habanero pepper? This article will show you how.
Using the Oven or Manual Drying
The most common way of drying a habanero pepper is to use an oven. However, make sure your oven is an energy saver since it requires you to leave the oven for hours of drying.
Here’s how to dry them in an oven:
- Preheat your oven. Start by preheating your oven and setting its heat preset to the lowest number possible.
- Clean up your peppers. Use clean tap water when washing them, as you would with any other vegetable, and then dry them up with a paper towel as thoroughly as possible.
- Slice up your peppers. Do so by cutting it in half in a lengthwise position. Start from the stem of the pepper all the way to the tip.
- Prepare the baking sheet. Spread your peppers on a baking sheet, and make sure they are facing downwards with their cut side. Choosing a good baking sheet liner will also help them to dry better.
- Heat up the oven. Place your peppers inside and then heat up your oven, but leave the door open for just a few inches instead of locking it up there.
- Flip every hour. To keep your peppers dry in an even manner, you need to flip them once every hour. You can do this easily if you have tongs that can be heat-resistant so you can handle your peppers much better.
- Wait for them to shrink. This may vary depending on the size of your peppers so you should just be patient. They will shrink in around 10 hours more or less, but this number can still vary.
- Store them in a container. Use an airtight container to keep them in place so that they can be well-preserved. Make sure they don’t get stored in a place with direct sunlight.
Meanwhile, here’s how to dry them manually:
- Grab a hanging string. It can be any kind of string, as long as it is food-friendly. Some people may also use garden twine made from jute rope.
- Clean up your peppers. Wash them in tap water just the same with oven drying, and the dry them up with paper or kitchen towels.
- Leave the stems intact. Unlike our oven drying scheme, don’t cut them up. Your peppers need to have their stems intact for the next step.
- Tie them up. Use the string that you have and tie each pepper through the stem. Make sure you leave about a few inches between each of the peppers to allow them sufficient room to dry.
- Hang them up. Choose an area that has a good amount of ventilation and sunlight. Hang up your habanero peppers to dry. Consider an area that you can easily monitor when it rains if you plan to hang it up outside. You can also hang the peppers indoors if you don’t have an outdoor space to do so.
- Leave them to dry. This is where you should become very patient, as habanero peppers can dry about a week or more if you let them dry in the sunlight. The good news is that you can also use them as home décor or for added attraction to your outdoor bistro.
Drying using a Dehydrator
A dehydrator is a kitchen device that helps you to dry up your habanero peppers much faster than the two other options above. Some of them are portable enough that you can take them with you for traveling and some may fit well into small kitchens.
Here’s how to dry your habanero peppers in a dehydrator:
- Wash your peppers. Do it the same way as we did above, making sure that your peppers are wiped dry with a clean kitchen towel or cloth.
- Arrange them. Use a wire rack to arrange your chosen peppers and leave some spaces between each of them. Again, make sure that they are completely dry.
- Put them in your dehydrator. Follow the instructions of your kitchen dehydrator and put the wire rack with peppers inside. It’s better to use your dehydrator outside to avoid getting your eyes irritated with smoke.
- Turn them every few hours. Like with the oven option, you should rotate them for even drying.
- Store the peppers. Like with the oven option, just store them in your favorite airtight container.
As a whole, drying habanero peppers can be done in different ways. Whether you have an oven, manually hanging them up to dry, or using a dehydrator, the important thing is to dry your habanero peppers so that they can be easily used for your next recipe.