I like spicy foods, but I feel like Carolina Reapers are a bit too hot for me. If you’re willing to try the spiciest pepper out there, I’d suggest you learn how to dry it.
What You Need?
If I were to dry Carolina Reapers, I would start by gathering a few supplies. First, I’d find the peppers themselves, but you can’t just put the peppers in the oven. I suggest looking for the following if you don’t have them.
- Cookie sheet
I’d use the gloves to protect my hands from the heat of the peppers. If you touch them with your bare hands, you could hurt yourself, especially if you touch your face after. Personally, I would have a few pairs of gloves on hand in case I needed to touch something, I could switch to a new pair.
I might also use the knife to cut the peppers up. That will help the peppers dry much faster than if you left them whole. You’ll use the oven to do the drying, and you’ll need to put the Carolina Reapers on the baking sheet.
Prepare Your Peppers
After you have all of your supplies, I’d recommend preheating your oven to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. By the time you’re done with the prep, you’ll be able to put the peppers in the oven.
I like how if I’m feeling lazy I can just put whole Carolina Reapers on the baking sheet. They’ll dehydrate just fine after enough time. But I might use a wire rack on top of the cookie sheet so that air can flow on all sides of the peppers.
Whenever I’m short on time, though, I would cut the peppers in half. That way, the dehydration process won’t take as long. I would do it this way when I want to dry the peppers in the morning or for dinner later that day.
But no matter what, I would keep the stems on. That will make it easier to grab the peppers when they come out of the oven and you need to store them somewhere.
Vent Your Kitchen
Another thing I’d do is to add more ventilation in the kitchen. At the very least, I’d turn on the oven vent to keep the pepper spice from seeping into my cabinets and walls.
I also appreciate how doing so can make sure you can breathe in the cleanest possible air.
Now, I currently have a kitchen with a window, but I haven’t always. If you can, I’d recommend opening the window as well for more ventilation.
Put the Peppers in the Oven
When you’re ready, you can put the peppers in the oven. If you’re using whole peppers, you’ll need to put them in for 10 hours. That makes dehydrating peppers the perfect overnight project, so you can prepare them before you go to bed.
However, if you cut the peppers in half, it will only take about five to six hours. That’s a better option if you want to use the dry Carolina Reapers later in the day.
Depending on your oven and the size of your peppers, set a timer for five hours. If they don’t seem quite right, you can let them stay in the oven for another hour or so.
Store the Peppers
After you’re done dehydrating the peppers, you’ll want to find a good place to store them. Grab another pair of gloves and use an oven mitt to take the pan out of the oven. Put on the gloves before you touch any of the peppers.
Then, you can store them in a vacuum-sealed bag or another airtight container. Once you do that, the peppers should stay good for about a year. You could do a big batch of dehydrating and make them last so that you don’t have to repeat the process all of the time.
Leave the airtight container in a cool, dry place away from kids and pets. It helps to store the container on a higher shelf and label the container so that you and others remember the peppers are quite hot.
How to Use Dried Carolina Reapers?
After you dry your stash of Carolina Reapers, you may wonder how to use them. Like any other pepper, you have a few options. However, make sure you’re careful when touching the peppers.
Here are a few ideas to test out.
Make a Powder
Right after you finish dehydrating Carolina Reapers, you can turn them into a powder. Put the peppers into a food processor and blend them as much as you want.
If you blend them a bit less, you’ll end up with pepper flakes. Flakes are good for topping a lot of dishes with a bit of spice. However, you can blend the peppers more to end up with a Carolina Reaper powder.
No matter your desired results, wear gloves and a mask. That way, you won’t breathe in the fumes of the peppers or get them on your hands. If they do get on your hands or body, you’ll want to wash it off to avoid a burning sensation.
Add Them to a Soup
Another way to use your dry reapers is to put them in a soup. You can cut up the peppers (wearing gloves) so that they’re in smaller pieces and easier to eat.
However, you can also place whole peppers in soup. That will add a bit of heat, and you can easily eat around them if you don’t want to get too much spice in any one bite.
If you’re making a soup for others, make sure they’re okay with the pepper before you use it. You can always add a pepper or two to your own bowl. Then, you can get some spice without it affecting the rest of the batch.
Create a Hot Sauce
Maybe you like the heat of a Carolina Reaper, and store-bought hot sauce is never hot enough for you. You can use the dried peppers to create your own hot sauce recipe.
Look for some recipes online for ideas. You’ll want to at least add the peppers as well as some salt and water. Mix all of your chosen ingredients in a food processor and blend them until you get a nice, smooth sauce that you can add to your favorite meals.