Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Freezing Bell Peppers

(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.

"Lipstick"

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. Pin It

10 comments:

  1. Aren't peppers so easy? Have you ever tried roasting them and then freezing? This is the first year I'm trying it. I'm not too sure what I will do with them but I have a large pepper crop and I know I won't use that many plain diced peppers. I just roast them, take off the charred peel and slice them in half, removing the seeds just as with raw ones. Then I freeze them on cookie sheets before transfering to bags. Hopefully I can find some creative ways of using the things! Any ideas?

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  2. Zoe,

    They sound wonderful- I've never tried roasting peppers, but I know I love ordering dishes with them in on the rare occasion we go out to eat. Anyone else have some ideas??

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  3. I found your site through linking from Mavis's "36 eggs in 36 hours" post as as I was trying to find ways to use up eggs from our chickens and ducks...I think Baked Oatmeal is going to become a staple breakfast in our house.

    I love your Mother Teresa quote.

    I am working on dicing peppers from our garden. I find it is easier to do the extra cutting while they're fresh b/c they are harder to cut when frozen and (gross) when they've thawed. I have diced peppers to put in recipes like Spanish Rice and any kind of vegetable stir fry or recipe that calls for "one medium sweet pepper, diced". We planted a "Carnival" mix and are freezing them, mixed. The only thing I can think of that we'd use them in strips would be fajitas.

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  4. Stephanie,
    I like your idea of chopping the peppers first. How do you keep them from freezing together into lumps? Or do you freeze them in measured amounts or let them them thaw a bit before getting out how-ever much you need? Thanks for the tips!

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  5. Thy Hand, I do just like Stephanie does (for my raw peppers) and I put them straight into quart-size bags. Then when I need some, I bang the bag on the counter a few times to break them up before measuring out how many I need. It works splendidly.

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  6. I like the idea of roasting them then freezing them - my daughter doesn't like capsicum (peppers here in Oz), unless they are in Roast Capsicum dip! I'd better find a good recipe, it's time to plant them over here!

    oxox

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  7. Use the roasted red pepper in Hummus. "Simply in Season" page 331, option 2. After tasting that you will never go back to plain hummus. And roasted red peppers will become a necessity.

    Aunt V.

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  8. I had quite a few extra peppers last season... we washed and chopped them all then wrapped them in freezer paper in "serving" size packs then put all the packs into large freezer bags... and now we just grab a pack and unwrap and put directly into whatever dish we're cooking... I do admit that we miss the "crunchyness" of fresh peppers in some of our meals.. but it beats paying 2-3$ per pepper at kroger!! cuz we love us some peppers :)

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  9. I chop my peppers and lay them out on a cookie sheet and freeze for an hour or so and then transfer to a zipper bag. They don't stick together and are easy to measure out.

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  10. I've been freezing mine for years. I chop up one pepper & place in a small zip loc bag. These small bags are then placed in one large gallon bag which is labeled, & then frozen. Whenever I need them, just pull out one small bag & you have a whole pepper already chopped & ready for your recipe. Easy as pie.

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