In Maryland, USA, I had mixed results "air drying" chiles. I built a drying
rack using some screen wire and wood for a frame, and keep that on top of my
refrigerator. With that, the thinned skinned varieties like Thai Dragon
fared well, but thicker skinned varieties like Serrano still tended to mold.
So I experimented with drying or at least helping them along by putting them
on a tray in a toaster oven on very low heat. They dried well without
molding, but they also lost their pretty natural colors and became brown in
Then by accident I found a better way.
In season, I would sometimes use only a portion of a fresh pepper, and since
I had my drying tray handy, I began putting the leftover portion of those
peppers in my tray. I discovered that cut open, they dried much faster and
therefore without molding, and kept their nice color as well.
So now I halve or at least cut open my peppers, put them on the drying tray
in that form, and they dry without any help from the oven.
When a batch is dry, I put them in plastic zip-lock bags.
After they all dry, I grind them up with a small electric grinder made for
home use grinding coffee beans. After a couple of times doing this and
getting lots of hot pepper dust in the air, I decided (with a little
"encouragement" from my wife!) that I need to do that job outside.
I had been leaving the stems on until dry, but then it's extra work breaking
them off before the grinding, and even with protective gloves I end up with
pepper dust on my hands afterwards. This year I plan to cut off the stems
when I cut them to dry.
I haven't tried freezing them. I think I'll try that this year also.
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