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Now is a great time to take advantage of the abundance of fresh vegetables for preserving and fresh peppers is no exception. The great thing about peppers is they can be preserved without canning. A very simple way to preserve peppers is by freezing.
If you grow your own peppers great! If not, – not a problem. Not everyone chooses to grow a garden or possibly don’t have the time or space. Pepper can easily be purchased at the local farmers market for a small price or even at the grocery.
This year, I really thought I was going to have no peppers to freeze. I had been purchasing them at my local farmers market for cooking and canning my homemade cabbage beef soup.
I had planted them on time, the plants were healthy looking, but no peppers. Honestly not sure what happened. Finally near the end of the season, my plants all of a sudden began producing. So I’m very excited to I have enough peppers to freeze for later use.
How to Freeze Peppers
One of the more simple ways to preserve peppers is by freezing. Quick, easy and my favorite. Peppers is one of the few foods that can be preserved without blanching first, which is unusual. Another good thing is peppers don’t lose there crunchiness when frozen either.
Frozen peppers can be used just as if they were fresh. Use them in soups, casseroles and other dishes. I put sweet into the freezer in slices and if a recipe calls for “chopped” peppers, then it’s easy to chop a frozen pepper that is only partially thawed.
1) Pick out peppers that have no soft spots or blemishes. Wash well under running water to remove soil, or anything that may be on them. Allow to air dry thoroughly-this is key. I leave mine overnight in a large colander like this one.
2) Once peppers have dried well. The stem, seeds and membrane of bell peppers and other large peppers needs to be removed. If freezing hot peppers no need to remove the inside – they can be frozen as is. All sizes of hot peppers freeze well as is – no slicing needed.
Bell Peppers & Other Sweet Peppers:
One way to preserve peppers without canning is by freezing. When freezing sweet peppers I slice them into small strips. This is easily done with a small paring knife and a cutting board. I use this board and love the rubber grip on the sides.
Simply hold the pepper in place with one hand and make thin slices until the bell pepper is in small pieces.
Once bell peppers are sliced, place individual slices, in a single layer, on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. I will admit, I used to buy rolls of parchment paper and having a lot of waste. Then I came across individual sheets of parchment paper and was sold. No more waste, they fit my cookie sheet perfectly.
Place cookie sheets into freezer for 1 hour minimum or more – uncovered. This will flash-freeze the bell pepper slices to prevent them from sticking together in the freezer container.Once frozen, remove from freezer and quickly put into an approved freezer container with label and date. I use gallon size Ziploc bags. I’m not a fan of plastic but when it comes to space in the freezer, bags work really well.
To freeze hot peppers, it is not necessary to remove stems and seeds. The National Center for Home Food Preservation does warn to wear gloves when working with hot peppers. though.
If you have never worked with hot peppers, they contain an oil called Capsaicin that make them hot and it can be painful to skin. Learn more about the safety of working with Capsaicin here from The Spruce Eats.
All you need to do is simply place clean, well dried hot peppers on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Place in freezer for 1 or more hours to flash freeze.
Once thoroughly frozen, remove from freezer, with gloves place them into a Ziploc bag quickly and store back in the freezer. Label and date, remove as much air as possible and they will keep for about 1 year. Which is perfect for fresh peppers through the winter months.
How Do You Use Frozen Hot Peppers?
When when you want to use hot peppers that are frozen don’t thaw them. They are much easier to work with while frozen.
Using a cutting board, snip off stem end. Slice length wise down the pepper and cut in half. Using a gloved hand, run a finger down the length of the pepper to remove seeds.
All hot pepper varieties freeze well. It doesn’t matter if they are thin walled or thick. The same process needs to be followed to remove seeds before cooking with them.
So there you have it! Now that you can see how simple freezing peppers is, you know why it’s my favorite. When I can preserve fresh foods in a quick, simple way, I’m all about it.
Do you freeze peppers for winter? If so, do you have tips and tricks that you’ve learned? Please feel free to share.