Jul 6, 2023
Jalapenos are one of the most versatile peppers ever. You can use them in salsas, tacos, burgers, and sandwiches. If you grow them in your garden, they’ll give you so much harvest in just one plant that you don’t know what to do with them.
Unfortunately, jalapenos are highly perishable. You’re lucky if you can store it for a few days in your pantry. They’re also good for 1-2 weeks in the fridge. Here’s how to freeze dry jalapenos, so you have the same fresh, spicy flavor even if it’s past growing season.
Of course, green jalapenos are popular with their fresh, crisp taste. That’s why they’re favorites for salads, sandwiches, and pickling.
Red jalapeno peppers, on the other hand, have a sweeter taste that makes them ideal for hot sauces. They have a longer growing cycle, though, so they’re not very common.
You can also use pickled jalapeno peppers, those that come bottled in your grocery store. This means, of course, that the vinegary kick of the pickled peppers is going to give you a double punch after freeze-drying.
Before you prepare the peppers, make sure you’re in a well-ventilated room. Also, remember to wear gloves, goggles, and other protective equipment. Jalapenos have 2,000 to 8,000 Scoville Heat Units (SVU). That’s milder than cayenne but can still burn your hands. Also, while processing the peppers, avoid touching your eyes and nose.
The best way to make freeze-dried jalapeno peppers is to slice them into pepper chips. You can use a knife for this, but the safest and fastest way is to use a mandolin. You can set your preferred thickness, and each pass gives you uniform slices every time.
You can slice off the top if you want to make stuffed peppers or jalapeno poppers later. By exposing the center, you help the freeze dryer do its work.
Pre-freezing is optional but can help your freeze-drying process in different ways. It cuts on your freezing time, which cuts your total run time.
Freezing time sometimes runs longer because of the heat and humidity where you installed your freeze dryer. However, when you pre-freeze your peppers, your freeze dryer won’t need to work overtime to prepare your food.
Also, pre-freezing keeps the temperature in your freeze-dryer stable. Much like putting a bunch of room-temperature food in the freezer. The freezer chamber’s temperature will rise, so your freezer will condense a bit as it adjusts to the shock. The same thing can happen to your freeze dryer.
Freeze-drying the peppers are easy when you have the Harvest Right freeze dryer.
Depending on weather conditions and how many peppers you got, it could take 19-26 hours.
Your peppers are good when they feel dry, airy, and crunchy. The peppers would easily crumble between your fingers, easier than freeze-dried garlic would.
The heat does get a touch more intense compared to fresh peppers. But you won’t get that kick until the peppers fully rehydrate in your mouth.
Soak the peppers in a bowl of water, just enough to cover them. Rehydrated, your freeze-dried jalapenos will look like jars in the grocery store.
But if you’re going to add your peppers in tomato salsa or taco toppings, rehydrating is optional. You’re going to enjoy that slight crunch, and the freeze-dried jalapenos will also soak up the liquid.
You can use them almost the same way as fresh jalapeno peppers. For example, you can stuff the whole peppers with meat or cheese, then wrap them in bacon for jalapeno poppers.
You can add the slices as is in your taco recipe that many will beg for more. If you’re into making your own spice rubs, you can grind this along with other spices like onions, garlic, and different herbs.
You can store them in Mylar bags for easy and convenient storage. These bags are a favorite for food storage because they keep out moisture and air so well. You can also vacuum seal using your Food Saver and a bit of creativity with a straw.
If you use freeze-dried jalapenos often, you can store them in Mason Jars. You can easily open and close them whenever you need freeze-dried peppers. They are a bit heavy though, and fragile, so they’re not advisable to bring with you on trips. But they make great gifts for people who are crazy over peppers. It’s not every day that one gets a jar of freeze-dried jalapenos, you know.
Whatever you decide to choose, remember to add oxygen absorbers. About one to two 300cc packs are good for every gallon-size container.
Properly stored, your freeze-dried peppers can last for 25 years or more.
What’s the most important thing when you freeze dry jalapenos? Safety. Always remember to wear safety gear when handling the peppers. Use gloves, masks, and goggles, especially if you’re sensitive to peppers.
What do you plan to do with your freeze-dried jalapeno peppers? Let us know in the comment section.
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