Your Kitchen Minis peppers can also be dried to craft your own spices. Here’s a few methods for prepping your peppers.
- Several Kitchen Mini peppers – sweet or hot!
Wash peppers and dry them completely using a clean towel or paper towels. Remove the pepper stems with a knife or your fingers. Note: Remember to wear gloves when preparing hot peppers to avoid skin irritation! If the peppers have thick walls, cut in half lengthwise; use a finger or knife to remove seeds from the cut peppers. Note: For hot peppers – the seeds will add heat, so leave seeds inside the fruit if you want a hotter paprika. For sweet peppers, it is recommended to remove the seeds as they may reduce the flavor of sweet paprika. If peppers have thin walls, you can leave them whole after removing the stems. Note: it is difficult to remove seeds after drying. If you want to remove the seeds it is best to cut the fruit in half and remove prior to drying.
Smoking Peppers (optional) If you do not have a smoker, or prefer to have unsmoked paprika, skip down to “dehydrating pepper” method.
Prepare your grill or smoker with wood chips or pellets according to manufacturer recommendations. Final temperature of the smoker should be 250°F or lower. Place washed and prepared peppers on aluminum foil and place them in the smoker or grill. Smoke for 2-3 hours, making sure temperature remains below 250°F. After a few hours the peppers will be slightly softened and have a smoked aroma. Remove the peppers from the smoker. Continue with “dehydrating peppers” method below.
Place the fresh prepared and/or smoked peppers on food dehydrator racks. Dehydrate at 135°F until completely dried and crispy to the touch. This will take 18-48 hours depending on the pepper wall thickness. Optionally if you have a smoker that can hold low temperature, you can continue to smoke at 135°F until completely dried. This will result in a very smoky paprika flavor.
When peppers are completely dried, remove them from the dehydrator. You can store dried peppers in an airtight container and keep them in a cool location up to a few months until you are ready to process.
To process the dried peppers, use a spice grinder or mortar and pestle to crush the peppers until they reach your desired consistency. Loose flakes can replace “crushed pepper flakes” in any recipe! Continue to grind to a powder and use when a recipe calls for “paprika” or “chili powder”. Remember: hot peppers can irritate your skin and may cause discomfort when breathed in. It is best to wear gloves and a mask while processing hot peppers.
After you process the pepper into flakes or paprika, transfer to an airtight container and seal until ready to use. Your prepared peppers will last 18-24 months.