Drying peppers is a fundamental part of any traditional cooking culture. Any dish made with dried peppers becomes an unforgettable culinary delight.
Surviving records dating back to the 17th century tell how doctors prescribed their patients peppers in the form of powder. This they used to treat sciatica, as well as digestive problems and gas.
In modern times, these properties have been fully confirmed. Dried peppers stimulate stomach secretions, act as a powerful vasodilator and make it easier for gas release in the intestines.
The healing properties are due to the high amounts of vitamin C in their composition. Plus, we also find carbohydrates, proteins, essential oils, alkaloids, provitamin A, organic acids, mineral salts and more in their composition.
Tests show that when taken in small quantities, they act beneficially for the gastrointestinal tract, whet appetite and tone the body.
In medicine, dried chili peppers are mainly applied topically, in the form of patches and lotions for rheumatism, degenerative disc disease and sciatica.
One of the oldest methods for drying peppers is to string them up in the backyard. A lot of folks still use this method for drying red peppers for the winter. Their taste and aroma simply don't compare to frozen or canned products bought from the store.
Pick out long, straight and not too fleshy peppers for drying. String them on a tough thread, through the stems, facing them alternately so they are well exposed to air.
Hang the thread of peppers under a patio cover or awning, in a well ventilated area. They must not be exposed to sunlight the entire day. When the weather turns sour, move the peppers to a dry and cool area.
Before use, heat the dried peppers with boiling water and leave them to cool in a container with a lid on.
Then mash or grind them in a grinder. Sift them through a sieve. Spread out the ground peppers into a thin layer and leave them to dry completely. Store them in a tightly closed glass jar.