Banana peppers are a versatile and tasty veggie that is often used for pickling or to add sweet and zesty flavor to meals. Unfortunately, banana peppers are only in season from late summer to fall. Learn how to freeze banana peppers in a few simple steps, and use those frozen banana peppers in future meals all year round.
Unlike jalapeno peppers and chili peppers, sweet banana peppers are not considered a hot pepper. They have a mild kick with very little heat and are considered a sweet and tangy addition to sandwiches, salsa, and salads.
After harvesting, sweet and hot banana peppers only last approximately one week in the refrigerator before they begin to spoil. Knowing the different methods of food preservation such as canning, making pickled peppers, or freezing ensures that you have an abundance of tasty peppers ready to eat.
How to Freeze Banana Peppers
If you’ve got a bumper crop of banana peppers, or even bell peppers, jalapenos, chilies, or cayenne peppers from your pepper plants, instead of using a canner, you can easily store banana peppers or other kinds in the freezer and include them in future meals. Stock up on a sale at the grocery store or indulge in fresh peppers from the farmers market with confidence.
Storing peppers by freezing is an excellent way to keep them for your favorite recipes, even months down the road. We have several freezing methods you can use, whether you desire them whole, sliced and diced, or cooked.
Picking and Preparing Banana Peppers for Freezing
There are many benefits of jalapenos, banana peppers, and other hot pepper varieties. Knowing how to preserve them goes a long way to better health. There are a few things to know when picking fresh peppers and preparing them for freezing.
When picking your hot peppers, make sure that they are firm to the touch, without blemishes or soft spots. Wash the peppers under cold water to remove any dirt. If you prefer to freeze peppers whole, then dry them and set them aside.
Otherwise, cut the stem ends off and slice the peppers lengthwise. Wear gloves to prevent accidental capsicum burning. Slide your finger through the center of the pepper to remove seeds and pulp. The peppers are now ready for freezing.
Blanching Banana Peppers Before Freezing
Blanching stops the enzyme actions in vegetables, which causes them to lose flavor, color, and texture. While blanching is a necessity for most other veggies, it is not necessary for peppers, but rather a preference.
Place the whole peppers into a metal strainer and fill the bowl with water and ice. Bring a large pot to a rolling boil and set the strainer of peppers into the water.
Allow the peppers to boil for precisely two minutes before pulling the strainer out of the boiling water and placing it into the bowl of ice water. Allow them to cool completely before preparing them for freezing.
Can You Freeze Banana Peppers?
While you could always can or pickle your peppers, you may be wondering, can you freeze banana peppers? Happily, the answer is yes. Not only can you freeze your peppers, but there are several different methods to do it.
Freezing Whole Banana Peppers
As one of the ways to preserve bell peppers and other pepper varieties, after washing and drying the peppers, place them into a freezer bag and squeeze as much air out as you can. Mark the date and contents on the front of the freezer bag. Place it in the freezer and use them within a year.
Freezing Banana Peppers that are Sliced
Freezing banana peppers after slicing them is a great way to have ready to go peppers when you want to add them to a stir fry or soup. All you need to do is open the bag and grab the desired amount of pre-cut peppers, and then seal and pop the bag back into the freezer.
Place the cut peppers single layer onto a baking sheet and set it in the freezer until the peppers are frozen solid. This prevents the peppers from sticking together while frozen in the bag.
Pour the sliced or diced peppers into freezer bags and squeeze the air out to eliminate freezer burn. Mark the bags with the contents and the date.
How to Freeze Cooked Banana Peppers
If you have leftover cooked banana peppers, you don’t need to let them go to waste. Cooked peppers can be frozen just as quickly as raw peppers.
Spread the cooked banana peppers out onto a cookie sheet and freeze for one hour. Use a spatula to slide the peppers off the sheet and into a freezer bag. Press as much of the air out of the food storage bag as possible. Mark it with the date and contents.
What to Do with Frozen Banana Peppers
If you opted to freeze those banana pepper slices instead of canning crisp banana peppers, then you may be wondering what exactly you can do with them after they are frozen. While many banana pepper dishes have a high recipe rating, our favorite is a veggie stir fry.
Chop all of the vegetables into bite-sized pieces. Add the olive oil to a large skillet and place over medium heat. Place the banana peppers, onions, and garlic into the skillet and saute until the onions sweat.
Add all the rest of the cut veggies, add salt and pepper to taste, and fry and stir. Add the water to the frying vegetables, cover, and simmer for ten minutes. Remove the lid and add sweet and sour sauce to taste.
Continue stirring and frying until the sauce thickens and then add the fresh basil. Pour the veggie stir fry over a mound of white rice and enjoy.
Sweet peppers ripen and spoil faster than many other vegetable varieties. Once they lose their crispness, they are probably on their way to the garbage can.
Freezing is not the only way to preserve peppers. Try your hand at pickling banana peppers, or even dehydrating them in the oven or a dehydrator. There are many storage options available to you.
If you don’t care to pickle your peppers or preserve them in another way, freezing is the best alternative. Knowing how to freeze them properly without causing them to get mushy or freezer-burned provides you with many months of tasty banana peppers.
Knowing how to freeze banana peppers means that you will have those sweet and zesty garnishes whenever you desire, so why not share our pepper freezing techniques with your family and friends on Facebook and Pinterest?