There's an optimal way to store chile peppers in each of their "states" (i.e., fresh, dried and roasted) to ensure that they retain the fullest, richest flavor (and maintain their heat intensity, for hot varieties). Here's what I recommend:
Best way to store fresh chili peppers, whole: Select the freshest peppers possible, with shiny, unblemished skins and no signs of being past their prime, e.g., no mushy or off-color spots that are the tell-tale signs of spoilage. Assuming you're storing whole and not cut peppers, store them in your refrigerator in paper bags rather than plastic because plastic can trap moisture or condensation that would hasten spoilage, while paper bags will "breathe." If the peppers came in a plastic clamshell with holes or slots that let air in, you can refrigerate them that way. But if the chilies are in plastic bags, wrapped in plastic or on a tray covered with plastic wrap, transfer the peppers to paper bags to ensure freshness for up to a week.
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Best way to store dried chilies: Especially if stored in airtight containers or bags, dried chili peppers can last up to a year in a cool, dry and preferably dark place such as a pantry or cabinet that's not next to or above your stove or oven. After several months, the flavor and heat intensity may begin to fade gradually but the dried chiles will remain safe to eat. It's crucial that the dried peppers not be exposed to any moisture, which is why you don't want to store them near your stove or oven because the heat and changes in air temperature could result in condensation in the storage containers.
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Do you have a different way to store peppers? If so, please tell us in a comment below.
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