Adding jalapeno peppers to dishes really amps the flavor factor. Fortunately, there’s a way to use these peppers all year round. Jalapenos can be preserved to save money and avoid wasting a good harvest or fresh peppers on hand.
Dehydrating jalapenos at home is a good way to make them last. It preserves the nutrients in the peppers and they can even be ground to create a homemade spice mix. As an added bonus, storing the dehydrated jalapenos takes up much less space than canning them. Below are various ways to dehydrate jalapeno peppers at home.
How to Dehydrate Jalapeno Peppers at Home
Air drying jalapeno peppers
This is the natural way of dehydrating jalapenos at home. There is no equipment needed, just the sun and a dry environment. In this method, the peppers are basically hanged to dry.
Follow these steps to air dry jalapeno peppers:
- Wash jalapeno peppers, if freshly picked, to thoroughly remove dirt. Keep them whole.
- Align the peppers on a sturdy string, leaving a few inches between each piece.
- Hang the string outside to get direct sunlight. Make sure the weather is warm and dry.
- If you’ll be using an oven or a dehydrator, note that it may take a couple of weeks for the peppers to completely dry.
Drying jalapeno peppers indoors
If air drying outside is not possible, jalapeno peppers can be dehydrated inside. Like air drying, there is no equipment required. There is also no cost incurred with preserving jalapenos when drying them indoors.
- Thoroughly clean peppers, making sure they are free from dirt. Again, do not cut in half.
- Arrange jalapenos on a wire rack or a plate. Peppers can also be stringed together.
- Leave them in a well-ventilated, dry space.
- This can take weeks, maybe longer, than air drying them outside due to lack of sunlight.
If a timely method of dehydrating jalapenos is preferred, the methods below are recommended.
Dehydrating jalapenos in the oven
Using an oven to dehydrate jalapeno peppers is much faster than air and indoor drying. Dehydrating jalapenos this way is convenient and time-efficient. On the other hand, it demands your attention and is not very energy efficient.
Follow these steps to dehydrate jalapeno peppers in the oven:
- Clean jalapeno peppers to wash away dirt if there is any.
- Slice peppers lengthwise. Clean the innards and check for molds.
- Place them on a baking sheet, making sure there are breathing spaces in between.
- Dehydrate the peppers at 100 to 135 degrees.
- Don’t leave them in the oven alone. Turn them every couple of minutes.
- Keep baking until completely dry. The oven door can be cracked open a bit to let air in.
Use gloves when cutting and cleaning jalapeno peppers. Touching the eyes and nose should be avoided as the capsaicin in these peppers can irritate. It can also burn the skin.
Dehydrating jalapenos in the food dehydrator
If a dehydrator is on hand, dehydrating jalapenos can be a breeze.
Follow these steps for dehydrating jalapenos in the food dehydrator:
- Wash jalapeno peppers. Remove the stems.
- As with the oven method, peppers are cut in half. Clean the insides.
- Spray the dehydrator tray with a small amount of cooking spray.
- Arrange the peppers on the rack with the sliced sides up.
- Put the rack in the dehydrator. Set it up outside to avoid jalapeno fumes from filling indoors.
- Turn on the dehydrator and set it at 135 degrees. It will take 6 to 8 hours.
- If the peppers are done, they will snap. Undone peppers will bend.
It is advisable to dehydrate jalapenos sliced lengthwise so you can check for molds inside. The peppers should also be cut uniformly for even dehydration.
READ ALSO: Which Food Dehydrator is Right for You
Dehydrating jalapenos with the toaster oven
For people who do not have an oven or dehydrator, this is an economical alternative to dehydrate jalapenos at home. You’ll need two-sided tinfoil and parchment paper to dehydrate jalapenos using a toaster oven.
- Wash and clean peppers. Slice off the stems.
- Cut them in half. Remove the innards. Cut in whatever size preferred.
- Dry the jalapenos on paper towels for 20 minutes.
- Put the peppers on the parchment side of the two-sided tinfoil and parchment paper.
- Set the toaster oven at 150 degrees. After 3 hours, increase it to 200 degrees.
- The peppers will be completely dehydrated in 5 to 6 hours. Keep constantly an eye on the oven!
Jalapeno peppers can be sliced into thin strips to dry them faster. The length of the dehydration process will depend on the model of the toaster oven. Be sure to keep an eye on the dehydrating peppers.
After dehydrating the jalapenos, they are still needed to be stored properly to preserve them well. They should be stored in a cool, dark space. The presence of humidity will make the dried peppers to rehydrate, which will make them prone to molds. It is advisable to use plastic to protect them from moisture.
How to Store Dehydrated Peppers
In cans or jars
Dehydrated jalapeno peppers can be stored in cans or glass jars. They can be used whole in the future or rehydrated if the recipe calls for it. Make sure that the peppers are dehydrated completely to avoid condensation and mold formation.
This is another method of storing dehydrated jalapenos in jars. Put fully dehydrated peppers in an olive oil bottle and leave them to infuse for a couple of weeks. Jalapeno-infused olive oil can be used as a flavorful condiment or as a cooking oil with a kick. Storing dehydrated jalapenos this way may cause them to have a shorter shelf life though. Although the chances of getting botulism are slim compared to infusing fresh peppers, it is recommended to use this only for a few weeks while checking on the peppers every now and then.
In ground form
As mentioned, dehydrated jalapeno peppers can be ground to customize a spice blend. But ground jalapenos can be used on their own. This is also a space-saving way to store dehydrated jalapenos. Coffee grinder, mortar, and pestle, spice grinder, or a pepper mill can be used to grind the peppers into powder. Then, store the ground spice in an airtight container ready to be sprinkled on an array of dishes.
The different ways of dehydrating jalapenos make these peppers accessible to more people without having to use a food dehydrator. Dried jalapenos also have a non-food purpose — they can be used as ornaments when fully dehydrated.