Dried Pepper Prepping

I like eating these multicoloured sweet peppers because they taste great, they are low calorie and eating lots of bright colourful foods helps to stave off macular degeneration. If I cut up a bunch of fresh peppers in strips and leave them in the fridge handy to eat, we snack on those instead of stuff like cookies. I also like using peppers in many of my favourite dishes. Last spring I bought a lot of fresh coloured peppers and soon found myself with a bunch of peppers slowly turning to mush. I hauled out my dehydrator and cut the peppers into small pieces and dried them. The result was remarkably effective. The dried peppers can be easily stored in a jar near the stove so anytime I want them, I can add a few dried peppers to a dish. This has worked really well for sauces, stews, soups and more recently my vegetable quiche.

My dried peppers from April. They have slowly turned more brown than coloured but they still taste great when rehydrated.

In Canada, we get our fresh peppers imported from South American and the USA in winter. During the spring, summer and fall, we also get them from Canadian greenhouses. There have been shortages of fresh peppers this year due to both labour issues in local greenhouses and trouble with the supply chain for stuff from the south. When there are shortages, there are also crazy sky high prices. I did manage to get peppers to grow in the garden this year after five summers of failure. I did not need to buy fresh peppers for nearly three months which was great given how pricey they are. I have big plans for next summer’s garden. My supply this summer just met our day to day eating needs so I had none to put by for winter.

As it happened, during my last trip to town, beautiful peppers were relatively cheap and in fine condition. I bought a lot of them. Later that evening I washed most of them carefully, sliced them into small bits and left them in the dryer overnight. By the next afternoon I had two jars of dried peppers for use over the winter. That is double the amount I put by in April. Last time I did this it was a desperate bid to avoid food waste. This time, drying was a deliberate plan. I will still pay those crazy high prices for a few fresh peppers for snacks but I will use these dried ones for cooking. This pandemic is teaching me lots of new ways to cope with food shortages and high prices. This tactic for sweet peppers is easy.

Peppers nearly dry enough for storage. They retain their bright color for several weeks after drying but do eventually fade to a dull brown. When rehydrated though, even the brownish ones still provide great flavour in dishes.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s