I was wondering if chili peppers (small hot red ones) lose their sting
if they're laid out in the sun. I wanted to use them to discourage
insects in my organic garden, drying and crushing them would make it
easier to spread around where I need them, but I don't want to do that
if it impedes their effectiveness. Another thought is to soak them in
water or alcohol then spray the liquid but I don't think I could ever
extract the active ingredient in them altogether that way, whereas
with crushing nothing would be wasted provided the process of drying
doesn't waste away the active ingredient.
The 'hot' in chiles is capsaicin, which is only slightly soluable in
water, but quite soluable in alcohol and oil. Believe me, dried
chiles, if they lose *any* of their piquancy, don't lose much. Whether
they will discourage insects is another question. There are many bugs
(I have sad experience with moths) who happily live on dried chiles.
As FrogLeg said, they won't lose their bite at all being dried. In
fact, if you don't roast, peel and freeze them, drying is how you
preserve them. I've read where it discourages bugs but have not
noticed anything one way or the other when I tried. I'm confident
though that cats wouldn't like the stuff so maybe its a good
deterrant to keep cats from crapping in your yard. There is
certainly no downside I can think of if it doesn't work for cats or
bugs. If you need some extra, most pizza places have containers or
packets of the stuff too.
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