How to Dry Peppers

How to make Chile Ristras

How To Dry Peppers

The great thing about peppers is that they store very well. You can let them dry out for using in recipes all winter long. If you grow any of our Hatch chiles, you'll find making a Ristra is a great way to dry & store them beautifully.

There are a variety of ways you can dry peppers. You can dry them on your counter, or string them into decorative Ristras, or even dehydrate them for faster use or making hot pepper flakes. Here are some of our tips:

How to Make Chile Ristras:

If you have time, Ristras are a simple and easy way to not only dry your peppers, but add some beauty to your home decor as well! Ristras are not just for decoration, they're used to dry your chiles and store for the winter to use in the kitchen. You can also dry bundles of herbs and have a kitchen display that is beautiful functional. Ristras also make great gifts!



Drying Chiles and Peppers – How to Make Ristras:

This is a great method for drying out your chile pepper harvest, using mother nature to dehydrate and preserve your chiles for year round use or for gifts.

What You'll Need for Ristras:

  • Chili Peppers (any color)
  • String
  • Weaving Needle
  • Scissors


Step 1:

Thread your string through the needle. Be sure to pull enough string through that you can work without it coming back out of the needle again. 


Step 2:

Thread your chilies. You will want to thread through the base of the stem since this is the hardest part of the fruit to split. As you thread each chili, slide it down the string to join its friends. Prepare for a few of your chilies to split or fall off the thread at some point during this process.




Step 3:

Grab a hold of the string beside your first and last chilies and pull them together to form a ring. Tie the two ends together in a quick double knot.

Step 4:

Hold onto the end with the needle still attached and thread it under the opposite side of the ring, leaving enough slack in the center for hanging. Tie another knot and you should be able to pick up the chili bundle with its new little handle.




Step 5:

Snip off the excess string on either side of the ring. 

Step 6:

Repeat steps 1-5, leaving a slightly longer length of string for the handle. Take the handle of your second bundle and poke it through the middle of the first bundle so you can gather the two string together for hanging. Tie a knot near the base of the string.




Step 7:

If you have used up all your chilies, skip to step 10. If you still have a chili mountain, either add a third ring to your chili bundle, start the process over again or try out step 9.







Step 8:

Line your remaining chilies up against your string. Guesstimate how many chilies you will need on the string so that you still have half remaining, then thread 'em.








Step 9:

When you think you have reached the halfway mark, leave a gap in the string. This will be used for hanging, so make it 10 or so centimeters long. Continue threading the remaining chilies.

Step 10:

Tie a knot at both ends of your string to avoid escapees. Trim off the excess.




Step 11:

Find a dry, well ventilated area to hang your chilies. We hang ours from the sunlight in our kitchen, which admittedly is not ideal, but the sunlight helped to keep them dry in the winter, plus it looks great and they're right there when we need them for cooking. I have used S hooks for hanging.

Step 12:

Use Ristras to decorate your home, and enjoy them in your cooking all year long! You can make Ristras from any chiles, including super hot peppers! They're great to crumble into salsas, for use in making hot sauce or for grinding into homemade hot pepper flakes

Original post via Offbeat Home & Life
Photos via H-E-B.




Other Ways to Dry Peppers

In addition to Ristras, you can also dry your chiles using other methods:

How to Dry ChilesUse a Hot Grill in the Sun:
If you want dried peppers quickly, here's a free way to dry them out fast without a dehydrator: If your grill's temperature reads 100-120˚ in the sun (no gas needed), then you have a perfect hot spot for quickly drying out peppers. To speed up the drying process, chop them into think slices and spread onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. (use gloves and good ventilation if cutting hot peppers!) Let them sit in the hot grill, stirring occasionally, for 4-6+ hours until crispy.

Dry Peppers in a Dehydrator:
Slice them, put them in single layers and dry for 8-24+ hours until crispy. 

Dry Chiles on your Counter: 
If well ventilated and spaced, chile peppers can also be dried right on your counter!

What's great about drying peppers is that you can grow a huge variety and abundance of peppers, and then dry them at the end of the harvest to preserve them for year-round use.

Not Much Storage Room?
One of our favorite ways is to make hot pepper flakes, as they can be stored in glass jars in the pantry, and really pack a lot of flavor into a small space, you can fit a whole counter full of peppers into one quart jar if you grind them into flakes. 

How to make Red Pepper Flakes