The present investigation was aimed to understand the drying efficiency of
solar tunnel dryer and to improve the quality of red chillis. An extensive
survey of the cultivated regions and drying methods that prevail in Kerala
for chilli was conducted. Attappadi area of Palakkad district was identifie
d as the major chilli-growing region in the State. Wet samples of red chill
is from two different sampling stations of Attappadi were collected and dri
ed in a tunnel dryer. Both physical and chemical quality analyses of the dr
ied chills were done according to the National and International Standards.
The results of quality analyses of both tunnel-dried chilli samples and th
ose chilli samples dried by conventional method, collected from the same sa
mpling locations were compared. Considerable reduction in drying time was n
oticed in tunnel-dried samples. Improvement in overall quality parameters,
cleanliness and texture were noticed in tunnel-dried chilli samples. Optimu
m conditions required for the drying of red chilli could be identified.