Introduction: Drying Hot Peppers With a Pepper Tree
Most Canadians grow pepper plants like an annual since they cannot survive our winters but you are lucky to get 5 or 6 peppers off a first year pepper plant.
Instead of growing 10 or more pepper plants every summer, we have learned that growing a plant in a pot and moving it inside for the winter is all it takes to grow a pepper plant into a good sized shrub which produces dozens of peppers through the year.
So what do we do with all those peppers? We dry them, then eat them to keep us warm through the long, snowy Canadian winter.
What you need:
- Twist Ties
- A heat source (optional - this will speed up the drying process, but is not strictly necessary)
We have been using a wood stove this fall to speed up the drying process, but again, it's not necessary. In our last house, we hung the peppers on a cupboard knob over the stove for a week.
There isn't much to this, I just wanted to show that it was easy to do.
As you can see from the pictures above, you simply attach a twist tie to each pepper, then twist the ties together in a hook shape. Attach an additional tie to the hook and use this to hang the tree by.
Bending all of the twist-ties to keep the peppers apart will help with the drying process by allowing air to circulate better.
When cutting the peppers, try to leave enough stem to twist around. The stem/branch on the plant will shrivel and die, so there is no reason to leave much on the plant itself.
If you have not left enough stem to twist a tie around, you can pierce whatever is left with the twist-tie. Simply cut off, or peel off, as much of the paper as possible and push it through the stem. You can see in the first picture (with the comments) the pepper on the far left is hung in this way.
Drying times will vary, so I won't get into that. It completely depends on your climate, ambient temperature, heat source, moon cycles, etc.
Over a fire like I have here, 24 - 48 hours will likely be more than enough. Hanging in the corner of your kitchen... maybe a week. Just give them a little squeeze once a day to see how they are doing.