How To Preserve Peppers
Peppers can be preserved in a number of ways. Hot peppers are traditionally dried into powders, while sweet peppers are often pickled or frozen. It doesn't matter which pepper you are preserving, they are all suitable for any of the methods. Choose the method that is most convenient and useful to you.
Harvest sweet or hot peppers at their peak ripeness and dry them to enhance and preserve flavor and spice. This is convenient and requires no electricity to do or store. Dried peppers are viable for years after which the flavor may fade but they are still edible. They can be processed into flakes, powders, or medicinal capsules.
Dry peppers three ways:
- Low temperature in an oven
- In a dehydrator solar or electric
- Hanging in a dry area
Oven dry at the lowest temperature possible, as low as 110°F (43°C). Spread sliced peppers on a baking sheet so they do not touch. Cook until they are dry, it could take as long as three days.
To hang dry, use a needle and thread to loop through the stems of whole ripe peppers. You can fit many on a string, and they add beauty to a summer kitchen. In 3-4 weeks they will be dry and shelf stable.
Freezing allows you to enjoy the flavor of fresh garden peppers for months after the harvest season. First, remove the stem and seeds of the peppers and slice them into whatever shape you desire: cubes, strips, or rounds.
They will need to be blanched in order to maintain the best texture and flavor in the freezer. This is simple. If you don’t have a blanching pot use a metal colander that fits inside a pot. Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil and immerse your pepper pieces into it for two minutes.
This will stop enzyme activity that breaks the peppers down. Don’t boil them for any longer because you don’t want them to cook. After boiling, immediately shock the peppers by plunging them into an ice water bath. Leave them until cool, then you can put them in freezer bags and freeze them.
Pickled peppers are a year-round treat. There are tons of recipes available so search around and find your favorite. Essentially pickling involves preserving peppers in a vinegar solution. The brines contain all kinds of ingredients like garlic, pepper, various herbs, other vegetables, and sugar with a base of salt and vinegar.
Contents are boiled and the poured hot into canning jars. You can then put them into a hot water bath which will render them shelf stable. Or, you can simply store them in a refrigerator if they will be eaten within about a months time.