Over the past few weeks I have been drying lots of chillis, with a view to saving their seeds so that I can share them with like-minded friends. I don't possess a dehydrator, so the chillis have been in the airing-cupboard. They dry very slowly this way, but most of them have now gone suitably hard and crispy.
In the photo below you can see chillis at various stages of drying. The big, dark-coloured ones (at right) are fully dry, but the fat red "Jalapenos" and yellow "Aji Limon" ones are still soft.
By the way, that is only about a third of my chillis! I took the photo after processing many of them. By "processing", I mean breaking / cutting open the crispy pods and extracting the seeds. On this occasion I was only interested in the seeds, but of course I could have saved the dried flesh too. You can make chilli flakes with it, or grind it up to make your own chilli powder, but we already have enough of those. While doing the job my hands and nose got quite a tingle! If you are not experienced with chillis, let me advise you that you should always handle them with great care - and maybe you should wear rubber gloves too. Even relatively mild chillis can burn your skin and cause serious damage if they come into contact with eyes.
I have now put the seeds into small plastic envelopes, each one clearly labelled.
Several of my friends have sent me lots of little packages like those, so I now have a pretty impressive collection of chilli seeds. I will have to think very carefully about which ones to sow next year, because there is no way I will be able to grow them all!
Not all of my chillis have been crushed for seed-production. I threaded some of the big ones onto a piece of string, which now hangs in the kitchen as an edible ornament. (No, not in the position you see it in below. It was just there while I took a photo!)