How To Store Peppers And Enjoy Your Favorite Veggies All Year Round
I bring you the ultimate guide on how to store peppers so that you can enjoy them all year round! Check it out and enjoy your veggies any time!
Not that I want to sing praises to myself (that is never a good thing!) but I have to say that I have a green thumb. I have inherited it from my mom; her garden was always a perfect green oasis which made the whole neighborhood green with envy!
My superior plant growing skills paired with my knack for DIY projects helped me transform our small, suburban yard into a garden (almost as good as my mom's) which is not only beautiful but also practical. Besides flowers, I have planted herbs and veggies that I now use in my cooking adventures.
Peppers have a special place in my garden. Why?
Well, both my hubby and I really enjoy their pleasant flavor. Besides, peppers are one of the most versatile vegetables out there! You can use them for salads, stews or soups, stuff them with cheese or meat, or just roast them over the fire and serve them that way. You can also keep things simple and munch on them raw!
The best thing about peppers is that they are super healthy for you and packed with vitamins C, A and B6 as well as dietary fiber that will optimize your metabolism.
I have learned it the hard way (having to throw out my peppers away ☹) that peppers will not last long if you do not store them properly. Namely, peppers have high water content, and they either dry up quickly or rot if you fail to apply the proper storage method.
So, how to store peppers the right way? Read on and find out!
How to Choose the Best Peppers
If you do not share my interest in gardening and you buy your veggies in grocery stores or at farmers markets (which I recommend), it is essential to choose the freshest possible produce.
You can choose the color, shape, and opt for sweet or hot peppers - that will all make little difference when it comes to storing them, but you have to make sure they are all firm to the touch and do not have wrinkled skin.
Moreover, and this especially goes for organic produce, inspect every pepper you buy for damage made by insects, blemishes or bruises. It might be unimportant if you are going to cook them or eat them right away, but when it comes to storing them, peppers need to be impeccable inside out as only that guarantees that they can last you for the longest time possible.
How to Store Peppers & Keep the Delicious “Just Picked” Taste for as Long as Possible
I agree that veggies (as well as meat) are best when cooked right away, but my daily yield supersedes my daily needs and throwing away my precious home-grown, organic veggies is simply not an option. Therefore I have done a lot of research on how to store them properly and enjoy them longer.
When it comes to peppers you have two options: you can store them whole or chop them up and save them that way, whatever suits your needs better. When it comes to the storage place, you have two options as well - your refrigerator or your freezer. I mix and match according to my current requirements.
Now, let us cut to the chase and see how to store peppers, whole or chopped.
How To Store Peppers In The Refrigerator
1. How to store whole peppers in your fridge
- Once you bring the peppers home from the grocery store, avoid the classic mistake and do not wash them immediately. The added moisture will only make them rot more quickly once stored.
- Fresh peppers should directly be placed into micro-perforated plastic bags. In fact, any bag that is designed to "breathe" will do. Why is this important? Once picked, the peppers will start to produce gasses, and such bags will allow for these gasses to be released. If the gasses remain trapped together with the peppers, they will cause them to be ripe much sooner and thus spoil much quicker as well.
- Micro-perforated bags also minimize condensation and inhibit bacteria growth keeping your peppers fresh and tasty for longer. Of course, once you pack the peppers into these bags, you need to refrigerate them as well.
- Most modern refrigerators have compartments specially designed for preserving fruit and vegetables so best store the peppers there. If you do all this, your peppers should remain fresh for up to two weeks.
- Do not forget to wash them before you use or eat them!
2. How to store chopped peppers in your fridge
- Before I start, I need to warn you that cutting will surely make your peppers more susceptible to spoilage and shorten their shelf life. They are also likely to go limp and lose their crunch, and sometimes even change their taste somewhat ( I will offer some tips on how to minimize all this).
- If you still wish to store the peppers chopped, start by thoroughly washing them. Cut them with the sharpest knife you have at your disposal as otherwise you risk bruising them and making them more susceptible to decay.
- Next, remove the seeds and pith. You can keep this step if you are dealing with hot peppers and you want to preserve their heat.
- Finally, take a piece of paper towel and wrap the pieces into it. Place that into an airtight container and pour a bit of cold water over it, just enough to saturate the paper towel. Make sure the container is closed well and put it into the refrigerator. In this way, your cut peppers should stay fresh for up to one week.
How To Store Peppers In The Freezer
When it comes to freezing peppers, there is not much difference whether they are chopped or whole. For convenience, I rather chop up my papers before freezing them as that makes it easier for me to cook them later on. For instance, I simply take a handful of chopped peppers and throw them into my soup while cooking! Handy, isn't it?
My mom taught me that I should first blanch peppers and then freeze them. That is a traditional method, and I found that it works great, but you can also skip it and just freeze the peppers as they are.
If you choose to blanch peppers, just wash them and boil them for a couple of minutes. As soon as you take them out of the boiling water, transfer them into ice cold water, and you are done.
Dry them out, place them into freezer-safe, airtight bags and put them into your freezer.
Blanched or not, your frozen peppers will stay fresh for one year. In fact, they will remain safe to eat for an indefinite time as long as they are kept at a consistent temperature of 0 degrees F. However, in time they start to lose their quality.
If you choose to cut the peppers, I have one more advice for you. After you cut them, distribute the pieces on the cookie sheet and freeze them that way. Next, place the frozen chopped peppers into the appropriate freezer bags and back into the freezer.
Why should you bother with this?
It will protect your chopped peppers from freezer damage and preserve their texture better.
Additional Options For Storing Peppers
1. Canning Peppers
- Canning peppers is yet another traditional method of preserving them that I learned from my mom. You can any type of pepper; it is a rather quick and straightforward process.
- First, you need to decide whether you will can the peppers in water or pickle them. The taste is entirely different, so I recommend trying both options before you choose.
- If you opt to can the peppers in the water you will need a pressure canner. Pickling peppers does not require any special equipment and is pretty much the same as canning pickles. The best route to take is to follow the National Center for Home Food Preservation recommendations for peppers preservation.
Further Reading: Most Recommended Canned Chili
2. Drying Peppers
- All kinds of peppers can be dried and stored in that way. You have two options: you can use a dehydrator or your oven. You can also choose whether to dry them whole or cut them and remove the seeds before you do it.
- If you choose the dehydrator to check the manual for recommendations. If you opt for the oven, merely distribute peppers (washed and dried) onto the baking sheet, place them in the oven and turn it on to the lowest setting.
- How long will it take? Well, I cannot tell you precisely as that greatly depends on how thick the peppers are, but it will take long. 🙂
- Good news is that once dried the peppers will not require a lot of storage space. Plus, you can use your dried hot peppers to make crushed red pepper just as the one they have at best Italian restaurants.
Related Article: What To Serve with Stuffed Peppers
Final Words of Wisdom
I hope that this short guide on how to store peppers and keep them fresh longer will inspire you to eat more of this precious, vitamin-packed vegetable.
No matter which method you choose, it is better to save your food for later than waste it
Therefore, please share this article so that more people can apply this practical guide and enjoy peppers all year long!