Every year I freeze peppers.
It only takes a few minutes and will allow you to eat fresh peppers from your garden all year long.
Peppers are one of those grocery items that can run up my bill (especially in the middle of winter). If I end up in the unfortunate situation where I must purchase peppers from a store in January, it’s painful. Not only are they expensive, they usually come from another continent.
I don’t want my food to come from another continent.
I want it to come from my yard.
If I can’t grow it, or it died, or the raccoons ate it, or the squash bugs killed it, or it got a fungus, or it just doesn’t grow in Kentucky (think mangoes) then I want to purchase it as local as possible.
Other continents are not local. There’s your geography lesson for the day.
It just seems to me that the farther my food travels the less healthy it is going to be (once it gets here) and the less I am probably going to know about it. Organic? GMO? Handling? Storage time? Freshness?
When I freeze my homegrown peppers I never have to buy them in January, from another continent and I know they are organic. I also know that they went from the plant to the freezer in approximately 45 minutes.
Freeze Your Own Peppers – Picked, frozen, fresh. Healthy!
On a side note, this is probably the most colorful post on my blog. Ever. Peppers are colorful.
First, a trip to the garden to pick some peppers. I grow sweet ones, bell ones, banana ones, and hot ones. I do not discriminate when it comes to peppers.
These assorted banana peppers are my favorite. They are sweet as sugar. My 4 kids will eat them like apples.
The red bell peppers loved the hot dry September we had and are all looking like Christmas. So Pretty.
I rinsed them in my awesome garden sink and tossed them in a bushel basket.
Once in the house I dumped all the peppers onto my island and grabbed my largest cutting board. We are going to need some work space.
First – Chop
To slice peppers quick and easy, just lop off the top, rip out the seeds & membranes and start chopping. I don’t bother trying to “core” them or save every square inch of pepper around the stem. I have 500 peppers and other things to do today.
So, the tops and insides go into the chicken bowl and the rest get sliced up.
I am going to “flash freeze” the sliced peppers. Flash freezing involves laying the veggies out in a single layer and freezing them before transferring them into bags for long term storage.
If you were to chop up the peppers and shove them into bags and pop them into the freezer you would end up with a hard to use block of frozen peppers.
By flash freezing them first you can grab a handful, or a cup full, or as many peppers as you want, without having to use an ice-pic.
I sliced half of them into strips for stir-fry or other dishes that call for large strips of peppers (like chicken caccitore) and I chopped the rest of them to smithereens with my choppy-choppy thingy from Pampered Chef.
I am not a fan of kitchen gadgets. I don’t have a food processor (gasp!). I don’t have a Kithen Aid Mixer (What!?) I don’t give up my counter space easily. I don’t like washing things like mixers and processors. AND I don’t want to store a bunch of small appliances that I only use 3 times a year.
If I own something gadgety – it’s because it’s awesome, it changes my life and I use it all the time.
That’s why I have a Pampered Chef Chopper. Nuts, veggies, fruit, coffee beans, garlic anything. It will dice food tiny (mince). It will dice food chunky. It will dice food in 10 seconds.
Go here to see it. No, I am not selling them. I just love it. You should also know that this is the only thing I own from Pampered Chef, and I’m pretty sure you can get something similar at Target or Walmart.
As you slice and dice the peppers spread them in a single layer on large cookie sheets.
Second – Freeze
When you finish filling your cookie sheets, pop them into the freezer. I left mine in overnight. This is the flash freezing. Overnight freezing is not necessary – just leave them in long enough to freeze solid.
It is important not to skip this step. If you were to shove them into freezer bags and pop them in the freezer, you would end up with giant, frozen, pepper-cubes.
Giant pepper-cubes are not very functional or user-friendly.
Third – Bag
Once they are frozen, transfer all the frozen pepper pieces into freezer bags. I bagged mine by color.
Last, stick the bagged, frozen peppers in the freezer. Whenever you need some peppers, you’ve got them right at hand. Easily available. Easy to measure. Easy to use.
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