*Air drying hot banana peppers*
By: NorthSlope
05 June 2009

Last year just before the first killing frost of fall, I went to my garden and picked all the hot banana peppers that were left on my plants. Most of these peppers were too small and immature to can, so instead of wasting them I thought I’d try my hand at air drying them.

This is something that I have never done before and this article should have been written as I dried the peppers. Nevertheless, I’ll post my findings and update this article with more detailed information in the fall when I try drying again.

After picking the peppers, wash the dirt off with water and completely dry the peppers with a towel.

Now, “string” the peppers together using a needle and thread. Insert the needle through the stem of the first pepper and continue doing this through subsequent peppers until you have a bunch to hang. After the needle pulls the thread through the last stem, tie a knot in the thread to keep the peppers from possibly sliding off the end of the thread.

Tie a loop in the “top” end of the thread and hang the peppers to dry. Separate the peppers by sliding them up or down the thread to ensure they aren’t touching and have adequate air circulation.

I hung one bunch in my kitchen and two bunches in my utility room located in the basement. Both rooms produced similar results.

Most of the smaller peppers withered, turned brown and the seeds molded inside the peppers. The two peppers on the left from the photo below contained mold and were thrown in the garbage.

Note the mold inside the pepper in the above picture, the mold looks just like lint from a clothes dryer screen. These peppers should be discarded.

The larger peppers turned from their natural greenish yellow color to a beautiful shade of red. These peppers dried nicely and the internal seeds are clean and white. This is what you want.

Except for the stem, the entire pepper including the seeds can be crumbled on pizza, salad, chili or used in whatever recipe you’d like. A coworker of mine grinds the peppers into powder and keeps a shaker full on his dinner table.

I placed my dried peppers in a Mason jar and vacuum sealed it with a Pump-n-Seal. Sure beats letting Jack Frost get them.

One observation I did notice was the “heat” or hotness of the pepper seemed to increase after the pepper was air dried versus picking them from the plant and using them fresh.

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