Select the best peppers for freezing. Discard any mushy, rotten, or damaged fruits. Wash them all thoroughly to remove any debris or soil left over from harvesting. Different varieties of peppers can be mixed to add color and adjust the level of spiciness. Freeze a pepper mix to add to soups and stir-fries.
Remove the stems and put them in the compost. Slice peppers lengthwise, and use your finger to pull out the seeds and white pulp inside the fruit. The seeds and pulp can also go into the compost.
If you are working with hot banana peppers, consider using gloves for this stage. Capsicum is the compound within hot peppers that makes them spicy. While it has never been shown to actually cause tissue damage, it can be extremely painful. Do not touch your eyes when working with hot peppers.
Slice or dice the peppers into any shape that you like. You can cut them into long strips, dice them into cubes, or leave them as pepper rings.
Blanching is not a necessary step when freezing peppers. With most vegetables, blanching makes a significant difference. With peppers, it doesn’t seem to benefit them as much. It is your preference to blanch or not, try experimenting to find out if it’s worthwhile for you.
To blanch you will need:
- A large pot to boil water
- A strainer that fits into the pot
- A container filled with ice water
Bring the large pot of water to a rolling boil. Put your peppers into the strainer and immerse it in the boiling water. Leave the strainer and peppers in the boiling water for exactly two minutes. Any longer and they may start to cook.
After two minutes, pull them out of the boiling water and immediately dunk them into the ice water. Leave them in the ice water to cool completely before freezing them.
If you did not blanch, you may run the peppers under some cold water to rinse after chopping. Spread peppers evenly on a cookie sheet in a single layer. Put the cookie sheet into the freezer and leave until frozen.
Once the peppers have completely frozen, pull out the cookie sheet and pour them into a plastic freezer bag. Leave frozen pepper in the bag for up to a year or until you are ready to use them.