I used to have quite a few chilli plants in my backyard and used to enjoy bumper crops all year long. I used to give them away as gifts when visiting friends, which was very welcomed. With the remaining chillies, I would make chilli sauce or freeze them. Sometimes, I would dry them and keep them in a bottle.
In Australia, drying chillies is normally done in the warmer months, like summer. The process is pretty straight forward. First, wash the chillies thoroughly, and dry them with a kitchen cloth. After that, place them on a tray and spread them out.
If the weather is hot and sunny, place them under the sun. If it is a cloudy day, place the tray in the house and air them. If it is under the sun, the dried chillies are normally ready within a few days. If they are in the home, just leave them out in the air for several days; they should be dry in about a week.
Once the chillies are dried, store them in a clean air tight container. A good quality dried chilli is relatively soft, not overly shriveled and still has some lovely chilli fragrance.
How long can you keep dried chillies?
If I am not mistaken, they can be kept in a clean airtight container for a few years. Even though it won’t go bad, I would not recommend more than two years. They may lose their aroma and the skin would be too dry, or sometimes they can be moldy or even rot.
How do you use dried chillies?
Add to dishes – The one dish that I would add dried chillies to is Kiam Chye Boay. I would add about 5-6 dried chillies (depending on the dish size & how tolerant are you to chillies) to this dish. It adds some spiciness to the sourish dish.