Great Tips for Preserving Chilies

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There are many ways to preserve a chili, with the simplest way being to freeze it. However, there are problems with this due to the chili losing some of its edibility quality. Eating raw chili has a bit of a crisp and a crunch to it. Defrosting chili causes the texture to become soggy and the crisp is no longer present. Depending on your intentions with the chili, such as using it to cook, this may not necessarily be an issue. To freeze, cut off the stalks and blend them thoroughly in a food processor. You should end up with a firm paste that you can evenly divide in your ice cube tray. When they have frozen, place them into a bag and use them as you deem necessary.

Alternatively, you can make chili oil. For the base, only use top quality olive oil, and chop up your chilies. Combine these, as well as any other ingredients, with the oil and gently cook them together. When you’ve finished cooking, let it stand until it cools and then strain out the ingredients, bottling the chili oil. Try making only small quantities of this oil because bacteria may develop over time due to the inclusion of other ingredients. For this reason, you should ensure you use your oil before a month has passed.

You can also dry your chilies, and there are several different ways to perform this; some are complicated and some are easy. For one, it is possible to set them in the oven overnight at your lowest setting, though this wouldn’t necessarily work for your peace of mind. If you have a food dryer, drying chilies can be even easier by setting your time that your manufacturer recommends. For those who don’t have one, the idea is to space out the food and turn it on, upon which it will remove the moisture and dehumidify the chilies. Though it is a simple enough appliance to function, you may not necessarily fancy spending a fair amount of money just to dry a few chilies.

One method that does not require machinery instead involves newspaper: Simply wrap a small handful of your chilies in newspaper and let them settle above a cupboard. Make sure you periodically check to see if any have rotted while wrapped in the newspaper; otherwise, you may find yourself a handful of spoiled chilies. Alternatively, you can get a bit of strong thread and thread your chilies in order to hang them in a warm room, allowing them to air dry.

If you know where to get your hands on muslin bags, you can try putting your chilies in them and set the bag near a radiator. This is a method that works well, though it seems to work a little too well, rapidly drying and hardening the chilies to the point where you may not necessarily be able to cut them easily. This is a good method if you want to grind them into a chili powder or into flakes for spicing up your cooking, but this is not a good method if you intend to eat them.

One method that seems to work rather well is to put the chilies onto a tray and allow them to dry on a windowsill, away from any radiators. The sun should shine on it for about five hours a day, and you should regularly stir up the chilies with your fingers to spot any chilies that are beginning to rot. When they are, remove them. When you touch the chilies and they have a leathery feel to them, they have finished drying. From here, you can keep them in an old biscuit tin until you feel you need to use them. Try not to cut off the green stalk while you are drying the chilies because it will help draw out the moisture. You may cut it off when it comes time for you to use your dried harvest.

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