Peppers are a favorite undertaking for many home gardeners and add a zest to foods when freshly picked. Freezing peppers just as freezing vegetables in general, is a great method of storing vegetables to take advantage of an abundant crop, or sale prices at a supermarket. The procedure is easy and will yield dividends over the winter months – just learn how to freeze peppers.
Bell peppers are a popular addition to many dishes. First, wash and dry the pepper, cut off the top and bottom, then slice the pepper down one side. Unroll the pepper, remove the seeds, cut away the inner membrane then slice either into chunks, or strips. Pat dry the pieces, then put them on a baking sheet and place it in the freezer overnight; this is similar to the Individually Quick Frozen (IQF) method used to freeze shrimp. The next day, remove the baking sheet, bag the pieces and store them in the freezer. The top and bottom can also be cut and frozen if desired. Freezing green peppers is rather similar.
Some methods include a quick blanch-place the pieces in boiling water for three minutes, then remove and place them in ice water for five minutes before patting dry and freezing. The theory is that this will yield a crisp piece suitable for salads, etc. It might but in reality frozen peppers are probably best used in baked dishes, soups or stews.
Jalapeno and habanero, and chili peppers are the hot peppers that may also be frozen. You should remove the stem in either case, cut into halves and remove the seeds. Habaneros sometimes have black spots inside that should be cut away and discarded; fresh habaneros are best handled with rubber gloves to avoid transfer of extremely spicy juices to the hands and fingers. The same individual frozen piece method should also be used for these peppers.
In all cases, the peppers should be washed first. If a vacuum sealer is available, that is the best storage process to use. If not, a zip lock bag will work; to evacuate the air from the zip lock bag, fill it about half way with the pieces of frozen pepper then put the bag into a bowl of water. The water pressure will force air out of the lower part of the bag, allowing you fold it over and zip it shut. Peppers are a great source of Vitamin C and fiber; they are easy to grow and add a bit of summer sunshine to many recipes. Freezing peppers is the best way preserve and maintain their freshness and nutritional benefits. What’s next? Storing avocado!
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