freeze-peppers

Freezing Peppers

It can be difficult to keep up with eating all the peppers that you grow. Especially when it comes to high producing hot varieties like jalapeno or red chilis. One easy way to preserve your summer harvest is through freezing. Frozen peppers will last months and can be thawed later into soups, salsas, and stir-fries.

Preparing Peppers

Purchase or pick fully ripened peppers. They are best picked early in the day before the heat of the sun. Midday heat will dehydrate the plants, making the fruit less juicy and more prone to wilt upon being picked. You can use hot peppers, sweet peppers, or make a mix of your favorites; they all freeze the same way.

Wash the peppers thoroughly and then remove the stems. Remove the seeds and white membrane from inside the fruit. Slice or dice the remaining fruit into:

  • Strips
  • Cubes
  • Rounds
  • Quarters

Freeze them in whatever shape you prefer to use them later.

Blanching

Some cooks and gardeners will freeze peppers without blanching them. They are one of the fruits that will retain some texture after being frozen without blanching. However, blanching will produce a superior freezer food that retains more of the original texture and flavor.

To blanch, bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil on the stovetop. Prepare a second pot or tub with ice water and have it ready. Fill a metal strainer that can fit inside the hot pot with your peppers slices. Immerse the peppers in boiling water for 2 minutes.

Do not blanch them longer, the goal is to stop enzyme activity but not to cook the fruit. This will prevent the peppers from naturally breaking down any further. After the hot bath, immediately douse the peppers in the ice water bath.

The cold will stop any cooking that is happening and help to crisp the fruit. Leave them in the ice water until they are cool.

Freezing

Once cooled your peppers are ready to be frozen. There is a trick to keeping the bits of fruit in your freezer bags loose instead of ending up as one solid frozen pepper block. It’s called tray freezing, it is so simple and well worth the time.

Place pepper slices on a baking sheet one layer thick, do not stack them. Slide the baking sheet into the freezer. Once all the fruit has frozen solid on the baking tray, pour it all into a freezer bag. Since the pepper pieces froze individually, they will not stick in the freezer bag.

Tips

If you are working with hot peppers, wear gloves to protect from any potential burn and remember to avoid touching your face and eyes. You can freeze the peppers alone or mix them in convenient veggie mixes with things like corn, beans, or onions. Frozen peppers will last about 8 months.