Not too long ago I made a fantastic batch of red pepper flake using my dehydrator, a Nesco Snackmaster Pro. I use the spicy flakes on just about everything. But, I thought, nothing wrong with making an even tastier, hotter version. So I grabbed a big bag of red habaneros and proceeded to make smoked habanero flake. Smoking the habaneros, though not required, gives the flakes a fantastic slightly-smoky flavor and aroma, much more complex than if you just ground dried habaneros. And oh, yes, these flakes are mighty hot. You have to be careful handling the peppers, and trust me, when you grind them, do NOT put your face over the grinder when you remove the lid. I speak the truth here, it’ll get you!
I’ve been having a blast with my new dehydrator, a Nesco Snackmaster Pro. I’ve been making a lot of jerky, so I figured I’d take a break and make something different. And that different is raisins. They take a few days to dehydrate, but boy are they fantastic! Tender and sweet. Soooooo much better than store-bought. Raisins on the Nesco Snackmaster Pro are fun to make and eat! You can fit about a pound of grapes per tray (outfitted with screens). You should rotate the trays every few hours to guarantee even drying, but be careful rotating the trays when you first start out. Them lil grapes like to roll around!
After 2 days the smaller grapes may be dried completely, so check through the trays for any that are done.
You can fit about a pound of grapes per tray in the Nesco Snackmaster Pro. Do not overcrowd the grapes.
Remove the stems from the grapes.
Rinse under cold water.
Pat the grapes dry. The drier, the better.
Place grapes onto the dehydrator screens. Try to not let them touch.
Close the dehydrator and turn onto high.
Dehydrate on high for 24 hours, rotating the trays every 2 hours or so. Don't fret if you don't rotate the trays at night while you're sleeping!
Turn the dehydrator down to 135 F and continue drying for a total of 3 days, rotating the trays every 2 hours or so. I like to move the grapes around a bit as they are drying to keep them from sticking to the screens.
Although I truly do love making jerky on my Nesco Snackmaster Pro dehydrator, it’s actually not the main reason I bought it. I got it to dry herbs and vegetables to make my own spice mixes. This bell pepper powder was my first attempt, and boy, is it ever amazing. I cannot wait to use this powder in everything from omlets, to burgers, to chili. It has a great peppery sweetness to it. You could easily substitute it for black pepper in a lot of cases.
After drying the chopped peppers for 24 hours I ground them using a blade coffee grinder (not the burr grinder). Not all of the peppers would go thru the grinder (they were still a bit moist) so I returned them to the dehydrator for just a bit.
The final product went into Mason jars with lids and then vacuum-sealed using a jar attachment for a vacuum sealer. You just have to remember that after you open the jar to remove some of the powder you’ll need to re-seal it. No big deal and well worth the effort.
Also try making onion powder on your Nesco Snackmaster Pro. It’s as easy as easy gets!
You'll need the following. A dehydrator with screen trays (I use a Nesco Snackmaster Pro), a blade coffee grinder (not a burr grinder) air-right containers or vacuum-sealed jars (I use a canning jar attachment on my vacuum sealer) additional trays, if required (my Nesco Snackmaster Pro came with 5, I purchased more so I can have 8 or more trays going at once).
Bell peppers (I was able to fit approximately 2 peppers per Nesco Snackmaster Pro tray)
Set your dehydrator to 135 F.
Rinse the peppers. Remove the stems and seeds and cut into chunks. If you are not using screen trays you'll want to cut fairly large pieces so they do not fall between the trays.
Dehydrate for 18-24 hours. Rotate the trays every 2 hours if possible.
Once all the peppers are dry and a bit crisp remove and let cool.
Process the peppers in the grinder until they form a fine powder. If some pieces of pepper do not grind return them to the dehydrator for another hour or so until crisp.
Keep the powder in an air-tight container. I place mine in a Mason jar, cover it, then use a vacuum-sealer attachment specifically for jars to remove all of the air.