Make Summer Last: How to Freeze Peppers

Hot or sweet, red or green, we’ve been buying all the peppers we can at the farmers market while they’re in season. Some are for eating right away, but the majority of these beauties are destined for our freezer. We’ll see them later this winter!Peppers do change a little during the freezing process and tend to become limp and watery once thawed. This is totally fine for cooked dishes like pasta sauces and stir-fries, but thawed peppers aren’t the best choice for salads and other raw preparations.

Fresh Peppers - Wash, stem, and seed all the peppers, and then cut them into strips or chunks, depending on how you typically use them. Spread all the pieces out in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze for an hour or so. This helps the pieces freeze faster and keeps them loose in the bag, making it easier to take just the amount you need when cooking. Transfer the pieces to a freezer bag and push out as much air as possible before sealing.

Roasted Peppers - Peel, stem, and seed all the peppers after roasting them and then seal them inside freezer bags. For large bell peppers, we like to leave them whole and stack them between layers of wax paper before sealing them in a freezer bag. For smaller hot peppers, we usually mince them and freeze them in ice cube trays.

Be sure to label the bags so you know what kind of peppers you have (hot or sweet) and the date you froze them. Peppers will keep for several months in the freezer, but keep an eye out for freezer burn. Stack them in the very back of your freezer, where they will stay coldest, and use the earliest-frozen peppers first.

Related: Mix and Match: Bagged Freezer Meals at Home

(Image: Flickr member recubejim licensed under Creative Commons)

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