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Garden season 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. Today we will talk about 3 easy ways to preserve peppers.
If you grow your own peppers great! If not – no 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. I have 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 I have enough peppers to preserve for winter enjoyment.
4 Ways to Preserve 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 too. 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 them into the freezer in slices and if a recipe calls for “chopped” peppers, then it’s easy to chop a frozen pepper that is partially thawed.
Thick skinned peppers such as bell peppers and habanero’s are best for freezing.
Another great way to preserve hot peppers is to air-dry or dehydrate them. This will preserve the flavor and quite simple can be easily done 2 different ways. I’ve tried both and honestly, I don’t prefer one over the other.
It really depends on timing and how quickly do you want to get them into air tight containers and move on.
How to Dry Peppers on a String:
The best peppers for drying are thin skinned peppers such as Poblano’s ad Cayenne. Of course there are many others too.
Of course, this process is much slower than dehydrating but works really well if you don’t own one. Not to mention a string of red peppers can be quite pretty hanging in the window. (~in my opinion) How to dry peppers on a string…
1 Use a piece of dental floss or nylon thread about 20 inches long (cotton will rot). Tie a knot or tie a small button on one end of the string.
2 With gloves on, use a needle and poke through the pepper near the stem and gently slide to the end with the knot.
3 Continue this process until all the peppers are on your string.
4 Remove the needle from the string, and tie a loop in the end.
5 Hang peppers in a sunny window or from an herb drying rack for 2-4 weeks until dry. Peppers will dry slowly and become leathery like and shriveled.
6 Once dried, wearing gloves, snip off knot or button and gently remove peppers from string and store in an air-tight glass container for up to 1 year.
This process is much quicker than air-drying. When I dehydrate peppers or any food, I use this Excalibur Dehydrator.
1 Place peppers in a single layer on the trays or screens. Thin peppers can be laid out whole. If peppers are thick or larger, they will dry better if sliced into smaller pieces.
2 After laying peppers in a single layer, place cover and set temperature to 125 -135 degrees (or per your dehydrator instructions). Depending on the thickness of your peppers, this process can take 4-12 hours.
3 Rotate trays periodically and remove any peppers that may be dry. Store in an air-tight container.
4 Continue this process until all your peppers are dry.
A fourth way to preserve pepper is by fermenting. It a simple process, done without vinegar and I will say very good for your health.
1 Dissolve 3 tablespoons of canning salt per quart of water to be used
2 Remove stems, seeds and membrane from peppers.
3 Stuff peppers into pint jar leaving about 1-2 inch of head space.
4 Pour salt solution (brine) over peppers until completely covered. Pepper need to be continuously submerged in the brine. If necessary, I like to use fermenting weights to hold peppers down.
6 Store at room temperature (65-70 degrees is preferred) until they reach the desired taste you prefer.
7 Once finished, put on an airtight lid and store in the refrigerator.
Fermented peppers will store safely for up to 1 year.
So you can see there are various ways to preserve peppers. Just out of curiosity, I ask Google how many varieties of peppers are there and my answer was a whopping “estimated over 50,000.” Whew! That’s a lot of peppers.
Since there are so many varieties of peppers, it may take some efforts to figure out how or what way to preserve peppers is best for you. I know there are many and today, we talked about 4 ways to preserve peppers.
Do you have a favorite way to preserve peppers?