How To Preserve Chili Peppers
Understanding how to store chillies or preserving chillies can be very helpful in keeping them for a long time, especially if you have bought them in large quantities or if you have grown your own seedling.
Having your peppers available in the kitchen is a priceless pleasure, but unfortunately, once the fruits have been detached from the plant, they should be consumed in a short time.
To solve this problem and avoid waste, we have together a guide explaining some of the techniques to preserve chillies for a long time and reuse them for your recipes.
Preserved chillies are perfect as a condiment for pasta, to accompany bruschetta, or to give a touch of extra taste whatever it is!
Preserving Chillies Techniques
The main enemy of chillies is mould, which arises when there is a high percentage of moisture in the fruit (yes chili peppers are indeed fruit!).
For this reason, it is important to completely dehydrate the peppers before storing them. One of the most effective and ancient techniques to preserving chillies is to hang them like a necklace, with a string. It is a very rustic way to decorate your kitchen too.
If you don’t know how to do it, below, we explain how to tie the peppers to dry them. Let’s find out together how to preserve chillies.
How to Preserve Chillies in Oil
The chilli pepper in oil is a great classic for preserving chillies. Plus, who doesn’t like chili oil?!
In fact, oil is an excellent means for preserving chillies, as long as the procedure is carried out correctly, avoiding the formation of mould.
To preserve hot peppers in oil correctly, we should, first of all, wash them thoroughly, after choosing the best ones, not affected at all. After washing them, we will have to dry them well, dabbing them with a clean cloth.
At this point, put on gloves(preserving chillis can be a dangerous game!), remove the stalks and cut the peppers into small pieces and transfer them to a container, then add plenty of salt, mix and leave to rest covered for 12 hours.
After resting, pass the peppers through a press or use a potato masher to eliminate all traces of water.
Now put them in a container filled with vinegar and leave to soak for 10 minutes, and then pass again with the potato masher.
When you are sure that they are completely dry, transfer them to jars (previously sterilized), pressing them well and gradually adding the extra virgin olive oil.
Let them rest for a few hours without screwing the cap and, if necessary, add more oil until they are completely covered. Then put the lid on and store in the dark and cool place.
If you preserve your chillies in this way, the chillies can easily last a year, but when you open the jar, place it in the fridge and, from time to time, add some oil.
The oil will take on the flavour, and you can use it in turn as an aromatic oil to dress bruschetta and various dishes. This is by far our favourite way of preserving chillies.
Preserving Chillies in Sauce
Creating hot pepper sauces is the way to indulge you with mixes where only your imagination reigns!
The sauce is a good way to preserve chilli, but any aromatic notes are lost.
It can be consumed in various ways, on bruschetta, Celery, chilli and apple stew in first and second courses and anywhere.
We recommend that you always make small jars, keep them in the pantry, and once opened; they should be placed in the refrigerator and consumed quickly.
How to Dry Chillies On a String
The most traditional way to preserve chillies is to dehydrate them and then use them chopped or pulverized to make chili flakes.
To minimize the loss of the characteristic aroma, they must be dried at a temperature below 45-50 ° C. Therefore, if possible, avoid using the oven, otherwise do it with the utmost attention, following the instructions below.
The best way to dry chillies is to hang them upside down, without breaking them. For example, you can tie them or sew them for the stem on a thread. Then keep them 2-3 weeks in a warm and ventilated place: if it is summer outdoors (but in the shade), otherwise indoors behind a bright window.
They can also be placed above a radiator, but placed inside a cardboard box or suspended, not in contact with the radiator.
When they are perfectly dry, crush them by pounding them and store them in the dark in glass containers, making sure that there are no traces of humidity.
How to Dry Chillies in the Oven
If you prefer to use the oven, remember the need not to heat the peppers above 50 ° C.
Here’s how to dry chillies in the oven step by step:
- Set the temperature at 40 ° (Double check with an oven thermometer) and put the oven in ventilated mode.
- If the oven is only static, you can rise to 50 °, but not beyond: at higher temperatures, the peppers dry faster but lose their aromas.
- Clean them with cloth cut off the stalks (without losing too many internal seeds) and arrange them without overlapping them on baking sheets covered with baking paper.
- Then put them in the oven, leaving the door slightly open (2 cm is enough to facilitate the release of humidity) and let them dehydrate for 3 hours, turning them a couple of times.
- Then, even if they seem perfectly dry, leave the trays in a dry place (the oven is fine too) and repeat the operation the next day.
Without getting rushed: do not exceed 40 ° in temperature.
Freezing Chillies - How to Freeze Chillies
To preserving chillies and keep them even longer, don’t hesitate to freeze them.
Here’s how to freeze chillies step by step:
- Wash them in clean water, remove the seeds and the white partitions, and then cut them into pieces.
- Arrange them on a baking sheet, spacing them well apart. Otherwise, they would form a compact block during freezing.
- No need to blanch them: simply place them in the freezer for at least 2 hours.
- Then transfer them to a freezer bag before putting them back in the freezer where they will remain intact for at least six months.
Time to cook your peppers? Remember to thaw them by placing them in the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator 24 hours before preparing them.
You can also boil them directly if your recipe calls for cooked peppers.