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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Drying Peppers

I have taken a few days off of canning but that doesn't mean things have come to a stand still in the kitchen. The weather is cooler and without the additional humidity of canning it is a perfect time to do a bit of dehydrating. Ideally when preserving foods each food will be processed as canned, dried and frozen. If for some reason you lose your frozen stores then you have your canned and dried stores to fall back on. At the same time if possible add curing and smoking to your food preserving methods. I have to admit to not dehydrating as much as I should. I tend to focus on vegetable flakes, vegetable powders, apple slices and jerky.

Drying foods is desirable because once dried they are light weight and take up a lot less room than other forms of food preservation. Properly stored dried foods have very long shelf life as well. Dried foods should be stored in a dark, cool place preferably in vacuum sealed containers.

tray of prepared sweet peppersSweet Peppers

The garden is producing an abundance of tomatoes and peppers. I decided to dehydrate a couple of trays of peppers, one sweet and the other hot. Dried peppers can be added to soups, stews and chili. They are nice sprinkled on a garden salad as well. The dried peppers can be powdered if desired. The prep work could not be easier!

Method: Wash and dry peppers. Cut in half. Remove core and seeds. Cut into thin strips then across the strips to form small pieces. Place on an unlined baking sheet if dehydrating in the oven or on dehydrator sheet if using a dehydrator. Dry at 52ºC (125ºF) until crisp. Allow to cool then package into air tight containers and vacuum seal.

dried peppersDried Peppers

It is surprising how much volume is lost when you dehydrate foods! This explains why you can store a fair amount of dehydrated foods in a small amount of space. I was able to package the two trays of dried peppers into 2 - 125 ml (4 oz) baby food jars. Pictured are the jars before vacuum sealing using the canister method. The peppers dried nicely retaining a lot of their rich colour.

Method: Place a filled jar in a small vacuum sealer canister. Set the vacuum sealer to vacuum. It will shut off when then canister and jar are sealed. Remove the vacuum off the canister and remove the sealed jar. Label and store.

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