I learned how to preserve peppers when I was a kid, just like the majority of all the other food preservation I’ve learned. Preserving peppers is actually one of the easiest foods to preserve if you ask me! I just love pulling out a bag of peppers all chopped and ready to use in the various homemade meals I cook up in our kitchen. Plus preserving peppers this way when they’re in season will save you time and money throughout the year!
Around here we have such a short, cool growing season that peppers are tough to grow. Typically to get a bumper crop of peppers you have to grow your peppers in a a warm greenhouse or hoop house. This year I started our peppers from seed early in the spring but even with the greenhouse being heated they still took a long time to germinate. They did finally start growing and I planted them in the dirt floor of the greenhouse. They loved it! Due to their slow start, they finally started producing peppers just about the time our first deep frost hit. I closed up the greenhouse but was so caught up in harvesting our garden I forgot to put a heater in the greenhouse and the cold got them anyway.
I was quite dissapointed but chalked it up to lessons learned for next year. Instead we headed to a local farm that sells their produce on site. They were selling their local grown peppers for 25 cents to 50 cents a piece. Compare that to $3 per pepper at the grocery store in the middle of winter! I decided to stock up and preserve peppers to eat throughout the winter.
We bought a variety of peppers based on the meals we eat: bell peppers, banana peppers and chile peppers to use in our enchiladas with our homemade green tomato and tomatillo enchilada sauce. I loved the variety of vibrant colors in these peppers!
One important thing to note about deseeding a large quantity of peppers is I highly recommend you wear a pair of gloves! All the peppers we bought were mildly spicy peppers. I figured I wouldn’t need gloves and proceeded to deseed and chop a huge pile of peppers. At the time my hands didn’t burn. Then an hour or so later I realized my hands were tingling. Then it proceed to my hands feeling like they were burning. Ouch! We tried all sorts of home remedies we found online: covering your hands in mustard (worked for about a minute). Covering your hands in a dairy product like yogurt. This worked for about fifteen minutes and then wore off. In the end I just went to bed with burning hands and woke up the next morning and they were back to normal. So take my advice and wear gloves!!
Preserving peppers is a quick and easy process. Here’s how you do it:
1. Wash and remove seeds from the peppers. I found it easiest to use a sharp knife to make a slit down the side of the pepper, open it up and pull out the seed core.
2. Chop peppers into desired size depending on what you plan to use them for. Some of our peppers are diced and some are sliced.
3. Pack peppers into plastic bags to store in the freezer. I packed one cup of peppers per bag. We used our new vacuum sealer (this is the one we have) that made prepping peppers for the freezer so much easier than the DIY method of vacuum sealing I mentioned in this post!
Peppers are one of the few vegetables that can be preserved in the freezer without needing to be blanched. I’ve been preserving peppers this way for a long time and love how easy it is to preserve and use them. Plus being able to use locally grown peppers in our food instead of pricey store bought ones shipped in from Mexico is much better in my opinion!
How do you preserve peppers?