Ornamental and edible gardening adventures.

Extra peppers? Dehydrate them!

'Hungarian Magyar' paprika peppers create 4-inch (10.16 cm) crimson-red peppers that can be dried and used as a spice in meals. 


Flashback to the 2019 growing season: I grew paprika peppers for the first time — and even though I yielded some peppers, I didn't have luck with drying them as a spice.

That's because I had tried to hang the peppers from string inside my home. I soon found that there was just too much humidity in the air, which affected the quality of the peppers. They did not dry correctly, and they had to be composted.

This year, I wanted to try again. I grew 'Hungarian Magyar' peppers in both a raised bed and a fabric grow bag (for a total of three plants). The plants grew about 3 feet (91.44 cm) tall and produced a lot of peppers. (Success!)

Peppers ripening on the plant I grew in a fabric grow bag in my driveway.



But as I began to harvest the peppers, I knew that I had to find a way to dry them that would work effectively, but did not involve leaving my kitchen oven on for extended periods of time. 

After reading several reviews of food dehydrators, I finally decided to purchase a unit to dry the peppers out. (I purchased a Magic Mill food dehydrator from Amazon because it had the best reviews in the comment section out of the several that I researched. It came with seven stainless steel drying trays and four BPA-free plastic trays. It is also fairly quiet.)


I purchased the Magic Mill Food Dehydrator (MFD-7070) from Amazon in late August.


For the first batch of peppers, I followed the temperature guidelines in the booklet that accompanied the dehydrator, which recommended 113 degrees F (45 degrees C) for "soft" vegetables. While this temperature did dry them, they were not as crispy as I had hoped, so I had to dehydrate them for a few more hours. For future batches I have used a higher temperature setting (for "hard" vegetables) at 122 degrees F (50 degrees C). I dehydrate them for at least 12 hours.

The next step was finishing the peppers off. While a small food processor can create pepper flakes, to create the fine powder, the dried peppers need to be pulverized in a coffee grinder. I've also found that chopping the peppers into smaller pieces helps with the grinding process. 

A food processor creates pepper flakes, as shown above. To get a fine powder, you'll need to use a coffee grinder. 


So I have achieved my goal: I now have my own homegrown organic paprika powder to use on future meals. Of course, this was a bit of an expensive project, if you factor in the dehydrator, the storage jars, and a new coffee grinder (because I didn't want to mix coffee and paprika in the unit I already owned). But as a perk, now I'm also dehydrating other food that I have grown (such as cayenne peppers) and purchased (such as ripe bananas transforming into dried banana chips). 

In the meantime, I just need to find more recipes that use paprika.

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5 comments

  1. Now you can make Hungarian Paprikash!(?sp)!

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  2. Awesome! We dehydrate a lot of spicy peppers too. We have an Excalibur that works really well. We have had to play around with the temperature settings too. Love your little jars!

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    1. Nice! I do have some Thai Hot Chili peppers and I'm not sure if I should dry those or make them into a sauce. Good to know about the temperature settings!

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  3. Wow Jen, that is so cool! I never really knew how to dry peppers, but I want to try it. Thanks for the inspiration. I'm going to do it next year. I have a bunch of peppers out there right now on the plants. ~~Dee

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    1. Awesome! I had a bunch of "regular" peppers that I couldn't get to in time, so I cut those into rings and dehydrated those. I've read that I can pop them into soups and stews.

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