Here are the two basic ways to dry chiles according to Krissy Scommegna from Boonville Piment D’ville, a sweet, spicy, basque red chile company.
“If you are on a time crunch, using a dehydrator is the fastest method,” she says. “At the Bucket Ranch, we prefer to let our chiles cure and dry on their own in a greenhouse for up to 12 days before putting them in the dehydrator.” The chiles are laid out on metal mesh racks and are left to dry whole. After 10 days, we slice them open and take out their seeds and stems, saving the seeds for next year’s planting and to cut down on their spiciness. They are then dried in the dehydrator until crisp. This saves energy, as they only need about 12 hours in the dehydrator compared to almost a full day with freshly picked peppers.
An alternate way to dry chiles that is aesthetically rewarding includes stringing the chiles through the base of their stems with a needle and fishing line and hanging them to dry inside. It will take weeks for the chiles to dry out completely, but in the meantime you get to enjoy the aroma of the chiles and they tell a tale of the season at hand. Whole dried chiles can last for up to two years for culinary purposes and up to 10 years for decoration. The peppers can be rehydrated and used for blended salsas and mole, used in brines for poultry and pork, or ground into a fine powder for seasoning (our preferred method). Dried chile powder can be used alongside salt and pepper for cooking most foods.
Check out pimentdville.com for more recipes like piment compound butter, piment d’ville chili cream and Mexican hot chocolate.