How to Purchase and Store Chili Peppers

Chili Peppers (also known as Chile Peppers) are a mild to hot pepper depending on which variety you purchase.

When purchasing fresh chili peppers from your local grocery store or farmer’s market you want to look for ones that are firm to the touch, no blemishes to their skin and ones that are non-wrinkled. Once their skin wrinkles their flavor and texture has changed. You will want to use them as soon as possible or store them inside a paper bag (not a plastic produce bag) inside your refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. When you remove them from the refrigerator to cook with, you will need to let them stand at room temperature for 10-15 minutes.

When handling any type of fresh chili pepper make sure you protect your hands from the capsaicin oil that these peppers products. Capsaicin can burn and irritate your eyes and skin so wear protective gloves. If you handle them without gloves make sure you don’t touch your face and wash your hands with warm soapy water after handling them right away.

When you purchase sun-dried chili peppers look for packages of them where they are packaged loosely so that you can inspect them for freshness. If you notice any molding, blemishes or damage to them in the package, choose a different package. You want your sun-dried chili peppers to be flexible, not hard and crisp. Dried chili peppers should be used up within 1 year or by the freshness date stamped on the package. They should be stored in a cool, dry area (refrigerator works too) in an airtight container.

Which are better? Fresh is always best but if you can’t use them up fast enough then purchase your dried variety. Regarding taste…again, fresh chili peppers definitely taste better than dried. Both types though are easy to use in a variety of dishes that you might be making and add a wonderful flavor to just about any dish.


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