If you’ve got an abundance of fresh peppers, you can dry them in several ways for later use. You can dry them in a food dehydrator, in the oven, or by stringing and hanging them in a dry, warm place. Store dried bell peppers in an airtight container away from direct sunlight.
Bell peppers are so versatile, aren’t they? Dried bell peppers can be added to almost any meal. They look great in glass jars for gifts and make one of the best substitutes for smoked paprika in many dishes.
If you have a bumper harvest of fresh peppers and want to save some for later use, this article will teach you how to preserve them so you can enjoy your peppers all year.
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How to Dehydrate Bell Peppers: 3 Easy Ways!
Dehydrating bell peppers is an easy and effective method of food preservation.
There are many methods of dehydrating bell peppers. We’ll cover the most popular ones with step-by-step instructions below.
Useful Tools for Dehydrating Bell Peppers
The main tools recommended for dehydrating bell peppers include:
- A cutting board
- A food dehydrator
- A sharp knife
If you want to dry your finely-diced bell peppers, you need special screens for your food dehydrator. These will help prevent the tiny pieces from slipping through the dehydrator tray.
1. Drying Bell Peppers With a Food Dehydrator
If you have a food dehydrator, this method can save you time and effort.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to dry bell peppers using a food dehydrator:
- Clean and dry your peppers.
- Remove the cores and stem.
- Cut into thin strips before dicing.
- Place the diced bell peppers on the dehydrator trays. Ensure the diced peppers do not touch each other during the drying process.
- Place the dehydrator trays in your food dehydrator and keep the temperature at 140°F for 8-12 hours.
- Once they are done, remove them, and store them in airtight containers.
2. Drying Bell Peppers in an Oven
You can also easily dry your bell peppers in an oven:
- Set the oven to 150°F, or the lowest oven setting.
- Place clean, diced bell peppers in a single layer on a baking sheet that has a layer of parchment paper beneath it.
- Place the peppers in the oven and make sure they do not touch each other during the drying process. Also, keep the oven door partially open throughout the process. You can prop the oven door open using a wooden spoon – just be careful not to leave the oven unattended in case of pets or small children.
- Flip the peppers every half hour as you remove the dry ones.
In the oven, drying times can range from about 16 to 24 hours. Allow the peppers to cool completely before storing them in an airtight container.
3. Air-drying Bell Peppers
Another method for drying bell peppers is the air drying method. This method is particularly effective if you live in a warm, dry climate. Although this method is straightforward, it takes longer than other methods. It works incredibly well with small or thin types of peppers like bell pepper and cayenne peppers.
Here’s how to air-dry your bell peppers:
- Cut the large peppers into halves.
- Thread them on a string and hang them in an area with good air circulation until they are completely dried.
- Your bell peppers will be dry after approximately 4 weeks.
How to Make Bell Pepper Powder
Have you heard of paprika? Bell pepper powder is another name for paprika and sometimes appears on the ingredients list of commercial foods.
Here’s how to make bell pepper powder (homemade paprika):
- Clean your bell peppers.
- Remove the cores and stems.
- Cut the bell peppers into small strips.
- Dry peppers at 125°F until they are completely dry.
- Allow them to cool completely.
- Place the dried pepper in a high-quality coffee grinder and grind them into a fine powder.
- Store in an airtight spice container or in a mason jar.
You can use your bell pepper powder in soups, stews, and sauces to add flavor. Or use it to add rich and beautiful color to any recipe.
Do You Need to Peel a Bell Pepper Before Drying It?
No, it’s not necessary to peel a bell pepper before drying it. While this can make them dry faster, leaving the skin intact is perfectly fine and safe.
What is the Difference Between Fresh and Dried Bell Peppers?
Both fresh and dried bell peppers are highly nutritious and there is little difference between them aside from the moisture content. The texture of fresh and dried bell peppers differs, but the flavor does not.
Bell peppers are a great source of essential nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin B6, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E. Red bell peppers also contain lycopene, the pigment that gives them their red color. Studies suggest that eating sweet peppers and other foods rich in lycopene could reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, and eye disorders.
Drying bell peppers at low temperatures allows them to retain these vital nutrients. The slow-drying process also helps to seal in the flavor of bell peppers.
In recipes, you can’t tell the difference between fresh peppers and dried peppers based on flavor, though you may be able to detect a difference in texture. Dried peppers are crunchier than fresh bell peppers.
Both dried and fresh, finely-diced bell peppers can be added to sauces, stews, soups, casseroles, and more. All you need to do is to soak dried peppers in cold water for one or two hours or rehydrate them in hot water for about 5 minutes before cooking.
How Do You Use Dried Bell Peppers?
There are so many ways to use your dried bell peppers!
- Add to pizza just like red pepper flakes.
- Crush into stews, soups, dips, or any of your favorite dishes.
- Grind into bell pepper powder for homemade spices/seasonings.
Be creative and experiment with different dried bell pepper recipes. Try your dried bell peppers in everything from stews and soups to salads and meats.
Here are a few of my favorite recipes:
This healthy yet budget-friendly treat uses dried red bell peppers and can be served with salsa and tortilla chips and topped with sour cream to create a delicious dressing.
This savory pesto chicken is topped with dried bell peppers, tomatoes, and onions for a quick and simple weeknight dinner.
This bell pepper spread is versatile and easy to prepare. Simply add rehydrated dried peppers in place of fresh peppers! It can be used on grilled meats, blended into a flavorful stew, or mixed into cream to create a hearty pasta sauce.
How Spicy is a Dried Bell Pepper?
Dried bell pepper has no heat and has a rating of 0 SHU on the Scoville scale. You can enjoy its sweet, fruity flavor without making your meal spicy.
What is the Shelf-Life of Dried Bell Peppers?
No-heat sweet pepper like dried bell pepper or chili pepper can go bad if not stored properly. However, proper storage in an airtight container and at low temperatures can extend the shelf life of any dehydrated food, including dried bell peppers.
Generally, dried bell peppers can last for 1 to 3 years. For the best results, however, experts recommend using dried peppers within a year.
How Long Does it Take to Dry Bell Peppers?
The total time will vary depending on several factors, including the air humidity, the temperature at which they are dried, and the size of the peppers.
It will take about 8-12 hours to dry peppers in a food dehydrator. It can take 16 to 24 hours for oven drying. Air drying will take up to a month.
Dried peppers are done when they are hard and brittle.
What are the Nutritional Benefits of Dehydrated Bell Peppers?
Dehydrated bell peppers have tons of nutritional benefits:
- Red bell peppers, in particular, are rich in vitamin C, an essential nutrient.
- Bell peppers are a good source of antioxidants, which support cardiovascular health.
- Bell peppers are a good source of vitamin A, which promotes eye health.
- Bell peppers provide iron, fiber, and folate for a healthy gut.
- They are also high in potassium, which promotes heart health by lowering blood pressure.
Is it Easy to Rehydrate Dried Bell Peppers?
Rehydrating bell peppers is super easy and gives you better control over flavor. Simply soak the dried bell peppers in hot water for about 5 minutes.
Once the peppers are hydrated, use them in stir-fries, pasta sauces, or any other meal that needs extra heat. Finally, use the water left behind as a base for soups or stews!