Whether you grow your own or buy them from the shop, you will find below the easiest and cheapest way to store fresh chill peppers.If you are not an expert, do not store in oil to avoid growing C. botulinum. The safest option is air drying, much easier and cheaper than storing with pickling vinegar.
Here is what to do:
Use a needle and thread: Get a long piece of thread, make a knot at one end and push the needle right through the middle of the green stalk. Push the chilli pepper all the way down to the knot and go through the stalk a couple of times with the needle to fix the chilli into position. Do the same with the second chilli, leaving a small gap between the two so that air can circulate. Keep going until all your chillis have been tied to the thread.
When your chilli garland is finished, make a loop at the top so that you can hang it to a window handle or other suitable hook. Leave the chillis to dry naturally (possibly just above a radiator, away from damp places or even at a very low temperature in the oven but this will cost you in energy bill). After a few weeks, place your then dried chilli peppers in a clean jar for storage to protect them from dust and dirt (place the whole garland inside the jar or cut each chilli off the threat if you have time).
Below, you can see a garland that did not dry fast enough and some chilli peppers turned brown. Simply discard them and only keep the red ones.
When needed in a recipe, simply take one out. Slice through the top of the chilli to remove the stalk. Hold the chilli vertically with the opening side facing down and gently roll the chilli between your thumb and index fingers. The seeds will fall out very easily. Then, you can chop and use in your recipe. Tip: When dried, chilli peppers are very brittle so be careful when chopping them that bits don’t fly away everywhere.
The hottest parts of a chilli pepper are the seeds and the white inner bit holding the seeds so unless you like your meal really hot, try and remove most of the seeds.
If you don’t have a needle and thread, simply use a long piece of string, tying a knot at each stalk. This should work too.
This is how to store fresh chilli peppers.
Before I started to grow my own chilli pepper plants, I would buy chilli peppers in small packets of 4 or 5 at my supermarket. I would store them in the fridge but after a week or two, I had to throw the remaining out because they started to go wrinkly and mouldy. I was therefore wasting money.
Last year, I grew lots of chilli pepper plants from seeds. Three of them survived to produce huge crops. If you keep one plant indoors over the winter, it will start producing new chillis the following March. You can only take cuttings if you want to grow more plants.