Learn how to dehydrate sweet bell peppers and make them last even longer for your pantry - and make a mock paprika powder for your spice cabinet!
Are you tired of running out to buy one bell pepper for a soup, stew or casserole, and always buy a second or third because you might need it later, only to let them go bad because you didn't need it after all? Or you just hate having to pay $2+ apiece for them and wish you knew how to preserve them when they are $.75 each during the season?
Are you one of those gardeners who always plants too many bell pepper plants, only to have them all mature at exactly the same time, and you don't know what to do with them all?
Well, have I got a blog post for you!
Dehydrating bell peppers is so easy to do, and can give you peppers for cooking all through the year without paying high prices for them out of season.
And at the end of the post, I'll show you how you can dehydrate bell peppers and then make them into a 'mock Paprika'!!
How to Dehydrate Bell Peppers
► QUICK REFERENCE: Dehydrate at 125F/51 C for 6-10 hours
1. Wash Bell Peppers
Even though bell peppers look perfectly clean coming home from the store, and they have a super-thin wax coating to protect them, who knows how many hands have been handling them in the grocery store before you get a chance to pick your perfect one? Seriously -- wash them.
2. Cut the Core and ribs and discard seeds
Are you Team core and rib or Team Roll With It? Either method works just fine!
3. Chop into small pieces
You can chop by hand, use a handy-dandy chopper like the one I use here, use a food processor or whatever works easiest for you. You may even choose to just slice into long slices because you prefer that. Any method works well.
Just remember, when you dehydrate bell peppers, the smaller the pieces, the fast they dry.
One bell pepper makes approximately ⅔ Cup of diced peppers. But that is dependent on the size of your pepper and the size you dice it.
Using the OXO Good Grip Angled 2 cup measuring cup
4. Place on dehydrator trays
WARNING ON THIS STEP!
I totally forgot to put down protection on my sheets before I did this. Bell peppers WILL stain your mesh. So put parchment paper or use some ParaFlexx silicone sheets to protect your dehydrator mesh (or you can use a less expensive variety).
5. Dry at 125F / 52 C
Peppers take approximately 6-10 hours to dry. The wide gap is between how hydrated your peppers are, what your home humidity level is, and the power of your machine. My Excalibur took about 8 hours to fully dry the peppers I had, but they were packed heavily on the trays.
How Do I Know My Bell Peppers Are Dry?
Bell peppers are fully dry when they snap apart.
To test: Allow them to come to room temperature and then try to break them apart. They should snap. If they are still a little bendy, put them back into the machine for a while and test again in another hour.
At this point, condition your bell peppers. What is conditioning? It's the act of making sure all of your bell pepper pieces are at an even humidity level (should be about 10% for vegetables.
How to Condition Dehydrated Capsicums
Did you catch that name change? In Australia, bell peppers are known as capsicums.
- Place in a jar to about ⅔ full.
- Shake once or twice a day and look for signs of humidity - water on the inside of the jar, water droplets on pieces.
- Repeat for 7-10 days.
- Store as normal when through.
►If you see water on the jar or on pieces, throw back onto the dehydrator to fully dry your food.
►If you see mold on anything at any point, toss the produce and sanitize your jar and lid.
How to Store Dehydrated Bell Peppers
Store dehydrated bell peppers in an airtight container (keeping dehydrated powders dry is really important) in a cool dark place. Vacuum sealing works best as it gets the extra air out of your jar.
If you choose to vacuum seal in a Food Saver-type bag or mylar, please be sure to put the peppers in a paper bag first, then vacuum seal. The sharp edges of the bell pepper pieces could pierce a hole in your plastic bags over time.
Rehydrating Bell Peppers
When using bell peppers in dishes, rehydrating is recommended if you aren't doing a slow-simmering soup or stew.
To Rehydrate Bell Peppers
- Soak in a bowl of hot water for up to 30 minutes, or
- Soak in a bowl of water in the refrigerator overnight.
How to Make Mock Paprika
Put in your desired amount of peppers to a coffee grinder (I use this Cuisinart Coffee Grinder), a small blender (I just started using this Nutri Ninja Blender and really love it for larger amounts), or a blender.
1 Bell Pepper is approximately ½ Cup of dehydrated bell pepper which is approximately 1 Tablespoon of Bell Pepper Powder (Mock Paprika)
How to Use Bell Pepper Powder
In many of the ways you would use sweet paprika or mild paprika, you can use this powder. It's slightly sweet and slightly spicy.
- Meat rubs
- Sprinkle on popcorn
- Use in tomato soup to make it pop
- Add to breading to give a fun flavor and color
- Garnish deviled eggs
- Sprinkle on hummus
- Sprinkle on corn on the cob
What do you think?
Do you think this is a project you'll tackle at the height of summer when all of your peppers are maturing at the same time? Or is this a fun project to do for a whim, but not something you'd do often?
Want to learn more about dehydrating?