Cayenne pepper powder is a necessary ingredient for making food spicy, adding lots of heat while creating a unique flavor.
In this article, you’ll learn how to dry cayenne peppers and how to make cayenne powder from home.
When you pick your homegrown cayenne peppers, you’ll need to decide how to use them.
Whether you dehydrate them to make powder or flakes or use them fresh, you have restricted time before they spoil.
With cayenne peppers, you can dehydrate most of them to avoid wastage, as they are not ideal pickling due to their flimsy walls.
This is why cayenne peppers make the perfect peppers for drying and pounding into spicy powder.
What Are Cayenne Peppers?
Cayenne peppers are hot chilis that are a part of the Capsicum family.
People often use them to help boost the flavor of savory dishes. Cayenne peppers are similarly related to bell peppers and jalapeños.
They are a staple in Mexican, Southwestern American, Creole, and Cajun cuisine.
Dried and ground, they make a powdered spice for seasoning and also appear whole in Sichuan, Korean, and other Asian dishes.
The spiciness comes from the pepper’s lively ingredient, capsaicin, current in multiple topical methods for pains and aches in the body’s joints and muscles.
Additionally, traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine practitioners use cayenne pepper remedies in numerous ways, including helping to treat circulation issues.
Nutrients in the pepper are also thought to provide health benefits such as decreasing blood pressure and hunger pangs.
Other possible uses of consuming cayenne pepper include improving your digestive health and metabolism.
Best Ways To Dry Cayenne Peppers
Do you currently have an overload of cayenne peppers in your garden this year are unsure what to do with them?
Knowing how to dry cayenne peppers is an excellent way to keep their flavor on the table all year round.
Drying cayenne peppers is also a perfect way to preserve this food source and avoid wastage.
Open-air drying of cayenne peppers is a simple preservation method. Place them on a towel, a paper plate, or, better yet, a drying rack to dry.
This process will take several days for the whole pepper to thoroughly dry out, making it one of the most time-consuming preservation methods. However, this method is also hassle-free.
Here’s how you air-dry your cayenne peppers:
- Wear gloves while cutting each pepper in half after removing the tops.
- Spread them evenly on the rack or paper plate, making sure they don’t touch each other.
- Place them in a dry area with plenty of ventilation.
- Check them every few days to ensure they aren’t moldy and how the drying process is progressing.
If you choose to prepare your peppers this way, be sure to remove the tops and chop the peppers in half, or they will mold inside.
Mold is a common concern when you hang or air-dry cayenne peppers, especially when it’s humid.
#2 Oven drying
While most people use a dehydrator, some can’t rationalize owning one.
Thankfully, you can easily use an oven just as well to dry cayenne peppers.
The only problem when using the oven is that the temperature often won’t be low enough, the air may not circulate well, and the trays may not allow enough airflow.
These factors create longer drying times and often cause discoloration due to overcooking the peppers instead of the heat being low enough to extract moisture.
However, the preparations are the same as when using a dehydrator; therefore, this process should not negatively affect their flavor.
Here’s how to dry cayenne peppers in the oven:
- Pick healthy peppers and give them a thorough wash-off and dry them.
- Wearing gloves will save you from burning your hands when working with these hot plants.
- Remove the pepper’s stems and slice them in half lengthwise.
- Removing the seeds is optional, but it does prevent a chunkier powder and reduces the spicy level a bit.
- Use an open-bottomed tray, such as a cookie drying rack–these are standard with most food dehydrators–to evenly dry the peppers. Don’t just lay the peppers on your oven’s frames. The peppers will shrivel and shrink during the process, and some may fall through the drying rack. Instead, to avoid losing any peppers, place a cookie drying sheet on top of a standard baking sheet.
- Although most conventional ovens don’t go much below 160°F, if yours does, set it to 120°F. The peppers will most likely cook slightly throughout the dehydration process. If the temperature is 160°F or higher, this will cause the peppers to darken in color.
- Dehydrating the peppers until they are stiff can take as long as 14 hours in the oven, but it should be much less–between six to 10 hours if you have a convection oven. Since you will be grinding the dried cayenne peppers into a powder, you want them to be stiff and brittle before grinding. Proper drying will also allow the peppers to break up in the food processor or spice grinder quickly.
After dehydrating the cayenne peppers, you have the option of storing them in an airtight jar or grinding them.
A food processor is often used for grinding, although a spice grinder will suffice if you prefer a more delicate powder.
A food dehydrator is the most effective way to dehydrate any food.
Low temperatures of 110-165°F, flowing air, and open-bottom trays were all built expressly for dehydration in these compact convection ovens.
However, using a dehydrator to dry cayenne peppers is not essential, although it will help.
Here’s how to dry cayenne peppers in the dehydrator:
- Always choose peppers that appear to be healthy and give them a clean rinse under cold water. To shorten the time it takes for them to dry in the dehydrator, dry them after cleaning.
- Cayenne peppers pack a punch when it comes to heat. However, you’ll get a chili burn on your hands if you don’t wear gloves, so invest in some.
- Take off the cayenne pepper stems and cut the peppers lengthwise. Because of the form of the cayenne, this can be tricky, so proceed with caution.
- Scrape the seeds out of the peppers with a spoon, working from top to bottom. If you choose to, you can lay them aside and save the seeds for next year’s planting.
- Place the cayenne peppers on the dehydrator trays, leaving enough space between them for airflow.
- Dehydration time depends on the environment. Preheat the convection oven to 120 °Ffor six to 10 hours. Cayenne peppers have thin walls; therefore, they will dry quicker than jalapenos or bell peppers.
When bending the peppers, they should be stiff and crack. In addition, the peppers should be sufficiently dried before you grind them into a fine powder.
You can dry the peppers to a leathery texture instead if you wish to preserve the pepper in its whole form.
Removing the seeds is optional. Keep in mind that it can be quite a challenge to grind them into a fine powder after you dehydrate the seeds.
However, if you like the seeds in your pepper flakes or powder, go ahead and include them in your preservation.
If you leave the seeds in, the powder will also be much hotter and spicier.
Should You Make Powder?
Cayenne peppers are the only ingredient you need to make your homemade cayenne powder.
This often-used ingredient for cooking is the best way to make food spicier to increase the flavor of your meals.
To make cayenne pepper powder, you’ll use your dehydrated cayenne peppers. First, make sure the peppers are thoroughly dry.
You can check their dryness by breaking them in half. If they crack easily, they’re ready for grinding.
Here’s how to make cayenne pepper powder:
- Check out the steps above for instructions on how to dry cayenne peppers.
- Invest in a grinder. You can use either a coffee or spice grinder instead for a finer grain. You can also use a food processor to grind the peppers into tiny flakes if you prefer a more substantial outcome, but a spice grinder will produce a fine powder.
- Cayenne peppers are hot peppers. Your lungs will be irritated by fine particles that escape during grinding. The hotter the pepper, the more caution you should exercise when grinding them. Before turning on the grinder, cover it and your face with a damp cloth.
- Perhaps you prefer a slightly coarser texture to a fine powder. In that case, grind the peppers to your specification. The finer the powder, the more caking troubles you may experience with the results.
- Once you’re done grinding, do not open the grinder right away. Instead, allow it to stand for about five minutes to allow the particles to settle. When opening the grinder or processor, you should also use a mask or a damp dishtowel to shield your face.
- Store your dried peppers correctly in an airtight spice container to allow them to last up to a year.
How to dry cayenne peppers is a quick and easy homemade preservation method.
You can add cayenne peppers to food in either its natural or powdered form.
Some people even use it as a cream or capsule to take advantage of its detoxifying features.
The food and health properties of cayenne pepper are also beneficial in numerous and practical ways.
For example, they aid digestion, help settle an upset stomach, reduce stomach pain, stop diarrhea, and work as a natural remedy for cramps.
Cayenne peppers can also improve heart conditions support healthy blood vessels.
Additionally, this spice helps to reduce excessive blood clotting, improve poor circulation, and lower high cholesterol.