Doesn’t quite roll off your tongue like picking a “peck” of peppers, does it? But that’s officially what a “peck” is.
Peppers are really quite easy to freeze – no blanching required. Just clean them, leave whole or cut them up, and put into bags to freeze.
Before we started, we sat down and tried to think how we use peppers over the winter. The sweet peppers were pretty small (a bit too small for stuffed peppers) and we eat a lot of stir fried vegetables, so we’re going to chop the sweet peppers. We love Mexican dishes, and decided to leave the Anaheims whole for stuffing and for use in enchiladas. Besides, we can always cut them up later. The hot peppers will be quartered and frozen. Based on how many we harvested, we may not have to plant any next year for salsa making.
This is an Anaheim. Pretty, isn’t it?
Cut off the top of the pepper to get to the seed cavity.
A melon baller works well for digging out most of the seeds. Rinse the pepper and drain well.
I hate to wear gloves. But this is one time when I don’t have to be convinced that it is a smart thing to do. When working with hot peppers (like the Salsa Delights or the jalapenos), wear gloves.
Repeat after me, always wear gloves when handling cut hot peppers.
Don’t touch any portion of your anatomy. Don’t rub your eyes, don’t touch your nose, and don’t use the lavatory unless you take the gloves off and wash your hands first. Don’t ask me how I know that. Another thing I do is keep a grocery bag handy (paper or plastic, doesn’t matter) in case I have to open a drawer or answer the phone. I slip my hand into the bag and I don’t have to take the gloves off (and I have burned my hands by opening a drawer after I had been chopping hot peppers, not remembering I had touched the knob with pepper juice all over my gloves).
When you’re finished cutting up the peppers, rinse them well and leave them to drain and dry off before you freeze them.
We vacuum sealed these, but if you don’t have a sealer, use zip top type freezer bags. To get a bit more air out (the less air around the vegetables, the less freezer burn and ice crystal buildup you’ll get), insert a drinking straw into the bag and zip the rest of the top shut. Suck as much air as you can out of the bag using the straw, then seal the bag.
Notice our packages are not all the same size. We tried to portion these out into recipe-sized packages. Three to four whole Anaheims per package, three jalapenos, about 1/2 cup chopped peppers, etc. You can always take out another package if you need more. I like to use any defrosted vegetables immediately as, once defrosted, they tend to lose a lot of texture quickly (my opinion for what it’s worth).
Make sure you label your bags clearly. You don’t want to pull out a package thinking they are sweet peppers, and accidentially get a package of hot ones!