Our little family loves peppers… but to an extent. Really, my husband and I adore peppers, but the kids aren’t so sure. This means that pretty much everything I cook has some pepper in it, but not a whole lot. I used to buy a pepper at the grocery store about every other week and end up throwing out part of it each time. I’m not sure if I just got tired of this or if it was a big infusion of peppers all at once (such as today), but I questioned this logic. We freeze so many things in this house because it’s such a simple preservation technique, so I decided to start freezing peppers.
I looked at Pick Your Own and found directions for freezing peppers. The directions I’m giving you today are mostly the same as these, but with a few differences. First off, I don’t blanch them. It seems like Pick Your Own almost always wants you to blanch produce before you freeze it. In the peppers directions, they give an option not to blanch them, but it’s kind of confusing. I’m not quite sure why they want you to blanch them if you’re using them mostly in cooking. Personally, I use mine mostly in cooking and haven’t noticed a difference in not blanching them.
Second, wear gloves! I got this idea from Alton Brown and it’s amazing. I wore cleaning gloves in his demonstration because it’s what I had, but surgical gloves work great too. The biggest thing I hate about peppers is how my hands are disaster zones after cutting them. Scratch your cheek? It burns. Rub your eye? You’ll be sorry! And it’s not just until you wash your hands. Oh no, that stuff sticks around for the next 24 hours. Wearing gloves 100% bypasses this! And luckily, cutting up frozen peppers never causes this issue for me.
Start off with a pepper. Yeah, I know. Who would have thought?
Take a serrated knife and cut around the top edge (like a pumpkin). Try not to go deeper than you have to with this.
Take out the top, being careful not to disturb the seeds. Throw this away (unless you want really hot seeds for whatever).
Take your finger and rub it around the inside of the pepper to knock off any seeds that are remaining. Turn the pepper upside-down over the trash and bop it a few times to get them out.
Cut the pepper in half.
Cut each half into fifths (or whatever size you’d like, it doesn’t really matter. Just try to stay consistent when you’re cutting peppers each time so you know about how much each slice is and try to do it small-ish so you can cut them when they’re frozen).
Put all the pieces (this is 5 peppers) on a cookie sheet. Try to spread them out as much as possible. Freeze for at least a few hours (I generally do a day) before dumping them all into a freezer bag for long-term storage.
I keep all of my bell peppers in the same bag (I have green, red, yellow, and orange). They keep indefinitely if you keep your freezer at 0 degrees, but will eventually start to get some frost on them. The frost doesn’t change the taste at all, so I don’t mind. If you have some sort of air-tight sealing system though, you probably won’t get the frost. When I’m ready to use pepper, I take however many spears out that I want to use and I chop them short-ways. It takes a little effort to chop them, but it’s not difficult.
And now you have yummy pepper to use in a dish whenever you want without waste! Yay!