I picked a 1/16th peck of peppers
September 11, 2010 9:22 AM   Subscribe

What's the best way to dry jalapenos?

They are fresh-picked. I don't want to use an oven or dehydrator. I've already strung them up by the stems, but should I hang them in direct sun or in the shade? Should I slice them open halfway to help them dry? Slice them entirely in half? Etc.
posted by Camofrog to Food & Drink (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You can cold smoke them to make chipotles or just air dry them.

to merely air dry, leave the stems on, and hang or set them over a grate and ignore until dry.

If you remove the stems they can mold at the removal point. if you don't dry them enough then store them in an airtight container again they can mold.

But if you dry them too much they become brittle and crumble apart with too much handling.

I usually only dry cayenne or arbol peppers so I can't give times for drying a jalapeno.

Also if they are green they will probably ripen to red before they dry. Avoid humid environments, pull ones that seem to be rotting and go for a nice leathery texture.
posted by Max Power at 9:57 AM on September 11, 2010

Best answer: I'd be afraid that still air in your clime would encourage mold growth and not dry the peppers very quickly at all. Alton Brown's Good Eats had an episode on using a box fan and a couple of air filters to help the drying along. Perhaps you could try something like that? If not, I'd still recommend placing them in as much direct sunlight as possible and pointing a fan at them.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 9:57 AM on September 11, 2010

Best answer: I have never had much luck drying jalapenos. I've tried running a needle through their stems and hanging them up and while that has the highest success rate it's still only like one in three that will dry and not just rot. I've had way more luck with cayennes, which dry perfectly using that method. I've also tried a food dehydrator with jalapenos and had the same result although I think maybe if I had sliced them first that might have worked.

So. My advice would be, since you've already strung them, is put them in the hottest, driest place you can find. A really sunny window or a roof would be ideal. Make sure they're not touching each other and no, don't cut them open - that will just make them rot faster.
posted by mygothlaundry at 10:21 AM on September 11, 2010

Best answer: I had little luck drying jalapenos as well; my experience was much like mygothlaundry's.

If you're just looking to preserve them, you can throw them into a ziplock in the freezer.
posted by desuetude at 8:57 PM on September 11, 2010

Best answer: Slice in half open, and preferably invoke moving air (box fan), unless the humidity is very low in your area.

There's a reason jalapenos are usually smoked as chipotle for preserving: their waxy skins resist drying, which in turn encourages spoilage.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:10 PM on September 11, 2010

Response by poster: Damn. Since pretty much everybody is saying they'll just rot--and since the ones I have strung up look like they're going to just rot--I'm just gonna freeze them.

At least they are supposed to freeze well.
posted by Camofrog at 6:34 AM on September 12, 2010

Best answer: They really do freeze beautifully with no fuss. I wash them, spin-dry them or dab them with a towel to remove most of the water, and throw them in a ziplock in the freezer...sometimes I bother chopping the tops off, sometimes I don't. They don't even stick together in a block. To defrost, just plunk 'em in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes.

Jalapenos are really, really easy to pickle, too, and they keep in the fridge for months and months.This is a small project that I frequently undertake when hanging out late in my kitchen getting tipsy and want something to do with my hands. Yes, I'm saying that you can safely pickle chiles drunk. This is how:

1. Slice, silver, or chop your chiles, whatever shape will make you happiest to fish out of the jar later. I go with a mix of circles and long slivers. (If you are too badass to use gloves like I am for the routine chopping of 3-4 chiles, please note that the exposure to the innards of a big handful of chiles will start to escalate and you will burn the living shit out of your hands too late to stop it. Use some gloves.)

2. Loosely pack your chopped chiles into a clean leftover glass jar. If you don't compulsively save mustard and jam jars like I do, even a small tupperware container will work, as long as it's sturdy enough to handle hot liquid (so, not the pint containers from the deli olives that are made of superthin plastic.)

3. Fill your jar full of chiles to the very top with water. Now pour that water into a measuring cup to find out the total amount of liquid that you'll need. (If you don't have a measuring cup, use drinking glasses or something to help you make a decent visual guess for the next step.)

4. Replace half of the water with any kind of vinegar except balsamic. I usually use cider vinegar, but wine or sherry vinegar or rice vinegar or even plain white vinegar have all had a turn. (Mixing is fine, too, feel free to use up dribs and drabs taking up space in your cabinet.)

5. Bring your half-water, half-vinegar mixture to a boil after tossing in a few whole spices of your choosing (e.g. peppercorns, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, mustard seed, cloves, allspice.)

6. Pour your hot brine into the jar full of sliced chiles, put the lid on.

7. Your work is done here. Let the jar cool (also lets the spices steep) on the counter for a few hours or even overnight before storing it in the fridge. Wait a few days before using to let it get good and steeped, maybe shake the jar gently a couple of times if you are getting antsy.

8. Start using pickled chiles on everything.
posted by desuetude at 10:55 AM on September 12, 2010 [8 favorites]


Add sliced carrots, sliced onion, and cauliflower, plus a sprig of cilantro an some garlic and you've got traditional jalapeƱos en escabeche! I've currently about about 4 quarts in my fridge.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 12:03 AM on September 14, 2010

« Older Photo of a woman smoking in bed?   |   Name that computer game! Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.