This post will show you the easiest and cheapest way to store fresh chill 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 keep them in the fridge but after a week or two, I had to throw the remaining out because they started to go all wrinkly and eventually mouldy. I was therefore wasting money.
Last year, I grew chilli pepper plants from seeds. Three of them survived to produce a huge crop. As I found out that chilli peppers are perenials, I kept them indoors over the winter. They are still doing well and have been producing new chillis since early March this year!
Anyway, I suddenly had to find a way to preserve a lot of chilli peppers. I did not want to use oil because I was worried of growing C. botulinum so I chose two other “safer” methods: pickling vinegar (I still have not had the chance to open the two jars I made last year) and air drying.
The air drying method is the one I would recommend as it is the easiest and certainly the cheapest storing option. And I will show you below how easy it is to do.
With a needle and thread, you will be making a garland leaving a little gap between each chilli pepper so that air can circulate.
Get a long piece of thread. Make a knot at one end and push the needle through a thick-ish part 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 chilli peppers. 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. After a few weeks, place your then dried chilli peppers in a clean jar for storage to protect them from dust and dirt. Tip: do not hang your chilli peppers in damp rooms such as bathrooms as they will not dry properly. I dried mine hung at my kitchen windows.
When needed in a recipe, simple remove your chilli from the garland by cutting off the stalk just below the thread. 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 have no needles nor threads, 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.