(Click here to be taken to yesterday's post and the answer to yesterday's quiz.)
This past Saturday, I went to our local farmer's market for the first time this year. I know, it's sad, but we have our own farmer's market in the backyard and no one takes home the leftover produce at the end of the day.
There were only a few things on my list- grass-finished beef, a couple yellow tomatoes and red bell peppers. I needed the peppers because ours aren't fairing so well this year and having red bell peppers in the freezer is a must. Their bright red color and sweetness add life to quiches, fried rice, omelets and many other dishes come winter.
I found a stand with gorgeous red bell peppers and asked the grower if he could show me how many I could buy with five dollars. He said I could get a lot and started piling the peppers on the scale until he had quite the little pepper mountain. For my five dollars, I got about 20 peppers. I cringe to think how much I would have to spend to buy 20 red bell peppers from the grocery store in the middle of winter.
Mr. Grower asks, "What are you going to do with all these peppers?" I told him I was going to freeze them and he began peppering (ha!) me with questions regarding how I would do it, what they are like frozen and how I would then use them. I felt a bit sorry for this guy who was about my age. Here he is growing these beautiful specimens and appears not to know the easiest way of preserving them. I filled him on the details and he kindly charged me a little less then my pepper mountain cost, maybe because of the advice.
Freezing Bell Peppers
Wash the outside of the peppers and let drip dry a bit. Halve the peppers, so you are cutting the stem in half as well. With a sharp knife, carve out the stem, the inner membranes and the seeds. Place in freezer bags and freeze.
To use, run the peppers under warm water briefly so your fingers won't freeze while you are slicing them. Do not let them thaw (they will get soft, limp and a bit mushy). Place them directly into the dish you are making. If the recipe calls for sauteing them, go ahead, but put them in your pan still almost frozen- they cook up nicely.
Note: I have made stuffed peppers from frozen peppers and they do not work as well as fresh.