How to Freeze Peppers
One of my favorite things to grow in my garden is peppers.
There are so many varieties out there, you can literally fill a 20′ x 40′ garden with hundreds of plants all growing a different pepper. How to freeze peppers, on the other hand, can be a bit tricky, but I am going to show you my foolproof method you can use today!
Even if you are not a fan of the spicy, peppers are something you should really consider growing. I cannot tell you how many times I try a new recipe and it calls for diced peppers.
How nice would it be to have a stash in your freezer for times like these?
I have found that the more produce I have in my freezer the less I spend on grocery produce in the offseason.
No, frozen peppers are not for eating raw. Since peppers contain quite a bit of water once thawed they are a bit mushy. Too mushy to eat on a relish tray for example.
They are, however, perfect for any recipe that calls for them.
The trick when freezing produce is to figure out how to do it correctly. Peppers need to be seeded and diced prior to freezing. Also, peppers contain a lot of water. If not frozen correctly you will end up with a bag of ice rather than diced peppers. That ice can alter your recipes and ruin your peppers as well.
How to Freeze Peppers – the Best And Easiest Way
Step #1 . Do not pick your produce until you are ready to freeze.
Peppers can turn soft rather quickly, for this reason, it is important to pick them the day you plan to freeze them. One of the best parts of freezing your own produce is that you know for certain when everything is picked and that is why freezing produce from a grocery store is not recommended.
In order to keep all those wonderful vitamins and nutrients intact, you will want to freeze as soon as possible preferably immediately after picking.
Step #2 . Make sure only the best peppers make the cut.
In order to ensure your peppers freeze well and stay fresh, only freeze your best produce. If you find a pepper with a blemish I would not freeze it.
Instead, cut out the offending section of the pepper and dice. Keep it in your fridge for that week’s menu.
No place to use a diced pepper that week? Save it for Saturday morning omelets or southern home fries!
Step #3 . Wash, rinse, repeat.
Make sure your peppers are washed and cleaned. Do not scrub! You want your produce to be in the best shape possible so wash gently so you do not bruise.
Let peppers sit to air dry on a towel right on your kitchen counter.
Step #4 . Protection is key here kids!
Even if you are only working with mild flavored Bells you must wear gloves when you freeze peppers.
I cannot tell you how many times I have frozen peppers without gloves thinking I would be just fine. It was only a couple of peppers after all.
I would wash my hands several times and go about my day. That evening in bed my hands would BURN so much I couldn’t fall asleep.
So take the time to put on gloves. Even if you are barely touching them, those juices can do some damage and the heat can last for days as well.
And one final tip?? Don’t rub your eyes! I have done this (several times actually) and ouch! Use a towel if you have an eye itch.
Wear gloves. I like thin gloves like these. They work great and are pretty inexpensive. Or you can use kitchen gloves like these if you prefer.
(Warning…some gloves have latex like the kitchen gloves I link to here. Please make sure you are not allergic to latex before using.)
Step #5 . Seed your peppers and core.
Cut your peppers to remove the seeds and inner membrane. I prefer to use my hands (don’t forget your gloves!). It is just easier to pull the seeds and membrane out rather than slice it.
Ninja Tip: if you are looking for hot and spicy peppers, leave those seeds in! The more seeds you leave the hotter they will be.
Step #6 . Chop ’em up!
I learned a long time ago to make things as easy as possible when preserving foods, especially when freezing peppers. For that reason, I purchased a super cheap, yet dependable food dicer.
I love this little-hinged chopper and it has cut (ha-ha) my prep time in half.
Another plus is all of my dices will are now uniform. This ensures my peppers cook evenly and do not burn. I use this chopper here and I just love it!
It works great, is easy to clean, and can be used with just about any veggie. For less than $20 and going on 10 years of continual use, it is the best money spent so far.
Step b#7 . Par freeze.
This is the tip that will keep ice off of your peppers.
Line a baking sheet with foil and place your peppers (this part is really important!) in a single layer. Put in your freezer until frozen for about 15-20 minutes.
This will keep your peppers from freezing in a clump and it will also keep the liquid from puddling up in the bag forming chunks of ice.
Set your timer for about 20 minutes.
They should be frozen well by then.
Step #8 . Put peppers into labeled freezer bags.
Once your peppers are frozen you can put them into freezer bags. I prefer to use one-quart bags. This is just easier for our family and keeps the peppers fresh longer.
When I used gallon bags, I found I would still get ice build up. The reason was, as I used the peppers while cooking I tended to get a bit distracted leaving the peppers out on the counter for just a few minutes.
This meant the peppers would begin to thaw. As they thawed the pepper would get wet and once back in the freezer ice would form.
Now since I am using smaller bags this does not seem to happen nearly as often.
Step #9 . Remove as much air as you can.
This is another step that is important not to skip when you learn how to freeze peppers. Having air in those bags can cause ice to form. Ice on peppers is bad. So we want to do as much as we can to prevent it.
Squeezing the air out before sealing the bag will work great, but take it one step further. Use a straw to suck the extra air out and really get a good freeze.
Or you can purchase a vacuum sealer and really freeze your produce well. This sealer is on my wishlist and I hope to have one for this next gardening season.
Step #10 . Freeze and enjoy!
Now you are all set to fill your freezer. You can lay the bags flat or freeze vertically. Whatever works best for you and your freezer.
If you already have produce in your freezer from last season, you will want to put your fresh produce behind to ensure you use up the older produce first.
Peppers will last pretty well if frozen properly so use those peppers up and do not toss them out!
You can keep your frozen bags in plastic baskets in your freezer for easy organization. These baskets are my go-to tool for organizing my chest freezers.
Yes, they are recycling baskets and are NOT cheap, but again they are worth the money for me and I just love them.
Get more organizing tips:
READ: ORGANIZING TOOLS TO KEEP YOUR KITCHEN CLUTTER-FREE!
Keep a variety.
I like to freeze different levels of heat since some recipes like more spice than others.
I have bags of just Bell peppers which is more of a sweet pepper. I have bags of medium heat which are my Banana and Hungarian Wax peppers. Then I have my hot and spicy bags. These are my Jalapeños, Chili, and Habanero peppers.
Remember when you freeze peppers to label things clearly.
There is nothing I love more than having fresh organic ingredients in my freezer and pantry to enjoy year round. With just a little planning and prep work you can fill your freezers with some hot and spicy summer goodies.
And no you do not need a garden to do this. A few planters on your patio or porch can grow enough to freeze peppers for your family as well.
RELATED: HOW TO FREEZE STRAWBERRIES
How to Freeze Peppers
Use this recipe and tips to learn how to freeze peppers!
- 3 Whole Bell Peppers (You can also use any type of pepper here. )
- 1 Quart Freezer Bag
- Wash and core your fresh peppers removing any blemishes with a knife.
- Remove the membrane and seeds.
- Slice into strips then use a chopper to create uniform dices. You can also do this by hand with a knife. Be sure to wear gloves when doing so.
- Place diced pepper onto a foil lined cooking sheet and place in the freezer for 30 minutes.
- Remove and place into a labeled freezer bag. Remove all the air before sealing.
- Can be stored in the freezer for 1 year.
I have found that my bell peppers get extremely bitter if I freeze them – even when added in a recipe – unless I char the skins and remove them first. Have you ever had that problem, and do you have a solution for it?
If you have bitter tasting peppers, odds are they did not get enough water during growing season. This tends to happen in very dry climates or in areas with dry and hot summers. It should not have anything to do with freezing them, but it may make the bitter taste a bit more obvious.
Maybe next season increase your watering time to see if that helps?
Great post! Thanks for sharing it with us at the Homestead Blog Hop!
Great article, thanks for sharing?
Do you find that the peppers lose some heat the longer they stay frozen? We plan our preserves toast about a year, and some veggies, though still good to use, tend to lose some their ‘oomf.’
Have a wonderful week!
If you do, then I would include the seeds and part of the membrane when freezing to pack in a little “extra” heat.