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Hot peppers--fresh vs. dried

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This is not so much a question about which is better but a question about how they compare heat-wise. If a recipe calls for fresh hot peppers and I'm using dried, do I need to adjust the amount? Does the heat of a pepper change when it is dried?

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  1. It is just different. What kind of recipes are you thinking of? The heat changes but the application is more important to determine the ratio.

    1. Primarily pasta dishes, which call for things like "1 small fresh hot pepper" in the sauce. Thing is, I just bought this bag of small dried Italian hot peppers, without any idea of what I was going to do with them. But then I was looking through a pasta cookbook we just got and noticed that many recipes included fresh hot peppers, and I thought maybe I could substitute my dried for their fresh. I wish I knew what kind of peppers these actually are, but the only thing it says on the label is "chilly" (they are imported from Italy, and that's the only English on the bag). They are red and quite small, about a half inch long maybe, with a bottom end that tapers to a point (as opposed to being round).

      1 Reply
      1. re: Lindy74

        If the recipe directs you to chop the fresh pepper you can go two ways. One is to crumble your dried ones and start with a ratio of 2 dry to 1 fresh. The second is to leave them whole- start with maybe 3 dried but make sure you add them to the onions or garlic you are sauteeing to start the sauce so they release flavor. Just experiment and report bacl. Good luck.

      2. if you are going to try to substitute a dried chili for a fresh one, I'd suggest rehydrating the dried chilis first. Put them in a bowl, cover them with hot/boiling water and let them sit until they're soft/pliable. Then you can more or less treat them like fresh. If you really like the flavor, you could also add some of the soaking liquid to the pasta dish itself. totry is correct, its an experimental process with chilis because, especially without knowing what they are to begin with, you just can't know anything about the heat/flavor until you eat one.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ccbweb

          Actually I considered rehydrating one or two in order to give them a taste--not that I'd pop a whole one in my mouth, but maybe cut off a little piece, just so I can get an idea of the heat level. Thanks. I'll report back on how they work.

        2. the dried peppers you got are probably the italian pepperoncini--kind of like dried asian chili peppers. hotter than fresh jalapenos, not as hot as haberneros or thai bird chilis.

          you can always sub dried for fresh, you'll just miss a fresh vegetal quality that the fresh give. I agree with the above poster--if it asks for a chopped pepper, crumble one up, if whole, leave it whole. I would start with a one to one fresh to dried ratio and work up. Dried pepperoncini vary in heat depending on how old they are and some other factors.

          1 Reply
          1. re: missmasala

            Thanks for letting me know what these are. I'm going to try making something with these this week hopefully, so I'll check back in and let you all know how it worked.

          2. A friend of mine is cooking a recipe right now that calls for whole (i.e., not diced or chopped) dried peppers and all he has are fresh. What do you think the proper ratio is for substituting fresh for dried? (I think he'll end up using dried chile powder instead, but I'm interested in knowing the answer to this question anyway.)

            1. There is even greater variation in the heat of different kinds of peppers than between fresh and dried. So unless you know what kind of peppers the recipe called for, it would be hard to make an exact substitute. Plus different people have different preferences for pepper heat. It would be best to add the peppers to taste, rather than find some numerical substitute.
              paulj