It’s almost late fall, and your refrigerator is overloaded with freshly picked vegetables from your home garden, including a tremendous amount of peppers. There is no way you can use all of them before they go bad.
At this point, you might be looking for an easy way to preserve them. So, can you freeze peppers for future use?
Absolutely, yes! Keep reading to find the ultimate guide of freezing any kind of peppers, sweet and hot!
Freezing Sweet and Hot Peppers
Here comes the great news. Peppers are among the best vegetables to freeze. They can be frozen whole, halved, and cut into various shapes, blanched or raw.
So, which varieties can you freeze? Both sweet and hot varieties freeze surprisingly well. The process is also quite similar. Freezing hot chili is even simpler because we don’t need to cut them.
Here are some varieties of sweet peppers that you can freeze at home:
– Bell peppers (green, red, yellow, orange, purple)
– Mini sweet peppers
– Long sweet peppers
– Banana peppers
– Pimiento/ pimento (cherry peppers)
Some of the hot chili peppers you can try freezing are jalapeno, serrano, poblano, habanero, cayenne, bird’s eye chili (Thai chili), tabasco, scotch bonnet, Marconi, cubanelle, Anaheim, etc.
If you just brought home a big pack and know that there is no way you can finish them within a week or so, don’t wait until the last minute to freeze them.
Here is our simple step-to-step guide to freezing any varieties of capsicum peppers with great success!
Prepping the Peppers for Freezing
1. Choose fresh, crisp, tender peppers.
Separate the soft ones. They are not the best for freezing but can be used immediately for a recipe. Discard one with bad spots, decayed and moldy ones.
2. Wash them under running water but don’t use soap. Scrub gently with a vegetable brush (if necessary).
3. Trim off the stems.
Freezing Hot Peppers
You can pack hot peppers right away after cleaning. It’s not necessary to slice and chop them before freezing. Blanching is also unnecessary, which makes the whole process easier and quicker.
Be careful when handling and working with hot varieties if you don’t want to feel a burning sensation on your hands afterward. Wear a rubber glove and avoid touching your face and eyes during the process. If you don’t wear a glove, wash your hands immediately with soap.
Freezing Sweet and Bell Peppers
1. Cut them in half and scrape off the membrane and seeds using a spoon.
2. Leave them in halves or cut to your desired size and shapes, such as in slices, cubes, rings, strips, or any shapes to your liking.
3. Blanch or freeze them unblanched.
To blanch, boil halved peppers in boiling water for 3 minutes and smaller cuts for 2 minutes. Soak them in ice water immediately after blanching for 2 to 3 minutes. Drain them off in a colander.
You can also roast them if you’d like.
4. Spread them on a baking sheet and flash freeze for a few hours. Flash-freezing allows them to freeze individually and don’t form a big clump.
5. Pack in a freezer bag or freezer-safe container.
6. Squeeze out excess air.
7. Seal the bag tightly and label it with the freezing date.
8. Transfer to the freezer.
Freezing Whole Peppers
If you plan to make stuffed peppers, this method is your best option.
1. Simply cut off the top and remove the membrane and seeds.
2. Put back the tops and pack them into a freezer bag.
Thawing Frozen Peppers
To thaw, simply remove them from the freezer and leave them in the refrigerator to slowly soften up. Defrosting whole peppers or a large amount will take time, so make sure to do it in advance.
As an alternative, you can also thaw them by soaking a frozen package in cold water. Make sure the container is tightly sealed before doing so.
If you’re cooking them for soup or stews, you can toss them right into the pan—thawing is unnecessary.
How To Use Frozen Peppers
Peppers are incredibly versatile in the kitchen. And the good news, the frozen version is just as useful as the fresh one!
Although the wonderful crunch is not there anymore, previously frozen peppers are still perfect for various recipes. Here are excellent ways to use them in the kitchen!
– Quick healthy snacks. Unblanched sweet/bell peppers are perfect for a ready-to-go snack.
– Egg dishes. Use chopped peppers for quiche, frittata, and omelet.
– Substitutes for canned green chilies. Mild, green varieties such as Anaheim and Poblano are ideal for this purpose.
– Salsa, chutney, and spicy condiments
– Roasted and stuffed peppers
– Pizza toppings
– Stir-fries and fajitas. Mix with other vegetables of your choice.
– Nachos. Sprinkle thawed jalapenos on nachos
– Curries, soup, and stews
– Salad and wraps
How Long Can You Freeze Peppers?
Frozen peppers preserve their best flavor for up to 8 to 12 months. They remain safe to use after that, although the texture and flavors might not be as great. Make sure that they are kept continuously at 0 °F (-18 °C).
Peppers do lose some of the crispiness after freezing. They will turn soggy and watery if they are not thoroughly dried before freezing.
There are plenty of delicious ways to use up your extra amount. The recipes may depend on the varieties you have. In general, you can use them in hearty soups, stews, and curries. Make into hot sauces, pickles, chutney, and spicy condiments. Roast them or stuff with meat and rice. Or, dry or freeze them for later. Follow our quick guide above to freeze peppers for long-term storage!
Absolutely, yes. After thawing, drain excess water, and use them for salsa and other condiments.
Both sweet and hot peppers are perfect candidates for freezing. They freeze surprisingly well, either blanched or unblanched, whole or sliced.
Frozen peppers may lose the crunch but are excellent in both cooked and uncooked recipes. They are especially great for when you can’t find any fresh peppers available.
*image by Mila_Naumova/depositphotos