Buying your chillis dried and crushed is pretty much the most convenient way to keep this spicy ingredient in stock. They're compact, long-lasting, easy to store and, unlike some spices, don't really lose anything but moisture in the drying process.
Because of this convenience, they're the preferred type of chilli in kitchens around the world. What you may not realise if you cook regularly with chilli is that the dried form actually has some other benefits, too. Here are the reasons to pick dried, crushed chilli peppers over fresh ones in your kitchen.
Fine control over spiciness
Dried chilli flakes are usually quite finely ground, which means they're much easier to measure out than fresh ones. This helps you keep a good level of control over how much you're putting in your dishes.
There's nothing worse than accidentally putting too much spiciness into something you're cooking, especially if it's for someone else. It's easily done when you're using fresh chillis, and it means you need to start the whole dish over again.
Fresh chilli peppers can vary quite a bit from one to the next, even when they're the same variety grown on the same farm. When you're using dried, crushed chillis, any inconsistency will be evened out in the mix. No more shocks when you use your regular chilli, only to find out it's much hotter than usual.
If you buy larger quantities in bulk, you can be totally certain that the whole batch will give you the same flavour, time after time.
Fresh chillis are not normally found in great variety since the producers you can get them from have to make sure they're going to sell their crops before they go bad.
Many more options are available when it comes to dried chillis, and you can get pretty much any type you can think of from around the world. You can even create your own custom blends easily since they're ready to mix together.
You can also experiment with ageing. Chillis tend to get slightly milder with age, but other flavours develop, and dried chilli is ready to be stored and put away for later.
Best of both worlds
Dried, crushed chilli is suitable for pretty much any recipe, but if you really must use fresh chillis, you can rehydrate them. Simply soak them in water for a while, drain them off, and use them as you would freshly chopped peppers.
If you buy fresh, the drying process takes time and the right environment, which is extremely difficult and inconvenient to achieve. For more information on how to buy chilli, contact a local professional.