When you learn how to freeze bell peppers, you can stock up on your favorite kinds and save them for use during the colder winter months when it seems all produce is more expensive. One of the great things about red or green bell peppers is they are relatively easy to grow, and during the active growing season, you can end up with over a dozen peppers from a sweet pepper plant.
Even if you don’t have your garden, you can find green, yellow, orange, and red peppers relatively cheap at your local farmers market when they are in season. Many people assume you cannot successfully freeze green peppers. Or if you do freeze them, you are going to lose flavor and crispiness.
The good news is those are irrational fears, as bell peppers of all colors are easy to freeze, and when you defrost them later, you will still enjoy plenty of crispiness and flavor. Like other types of produce, the secret to freezing peppers is in how you do it, and we give you step by step instructions along with some useful tips.
- Valuable Tips for Freezing Bell Peppers
- 1. Can you Freeze Bell Peppers?
- 2. How to Freeze Peppers
- 3. How to Store Frozen Peppers
- 4. Freezing Green Peppers for Stuffed Peppers
- 5. Avoiding Freezer Burn when Freezing Peppers
- 6. Best Way to Freeze Hot Peppers
- 7. Do Frozen Peppers Require Thawing Before Use?
- 8. How to Determine if Frozen Peppers are Bad
Valuable Tips for Freezing Bell Peppers
Freezing peppers is a lot like learning how to freeze fresh corn on the cob. How you freeze each type of pepper depends on how much work you want to put into it.
1. Can you Freeze Bell Peppers?
Yes, you can freeze bell peppers; you can also freeze hot peppers. Some people prefer blanching their peppers in boiling water before freezing them, but others freeze their peppers directly. Either method works, so use whichever one you are comfortable with.
The more peppers you process at once, the better, as it cuts down on the amount of labor you put into freezing your peppers. Before you start the process, grab everything you need ahead of time so that you can have it out and ready to go.
Before you can freeze sweet peppers, you need to do some basic prep. Wash in cold water and dry all of your peppers.
As you wash the peppers, set aside any peppers that have soft spots or mold. These peppers will need to be used immediately or thrown away, as they will not freeze well.
Cut each pepper in half with a paring knife. Remove seeds, pith, and membrane from all peppers. If you are working with hot peppers, like jalapenos, work carefully as their oils will cause your face and eyes to burn.
You can wear gloves to help keep oils off your hands, or you can wash your hands with soap and hot water afterward to remove all traces of oils. Slice or dice the peppers in a way that will work for you and your future recipe needs.
If you plan to freeze peppers to use in stir fry, you want long skinny strips; if you wish to use peppers for fajitas, big and long pieces work better. Diced peppers work well for omelets, while minced peppers or pepper rings work best in other recipes. Freeze your peppers in several different styles, so you have peppers on hand for a variety of uses.
2. How to Freeze Peppers
Use a cookie sheet that will lay flat inside your freezer. If you need to, rearrange to make some room or to ensure the cookie sheet lays flat. If you are using parchment paper or wax paper to prevent the pepper pieces from sticking to the cookie sheet, cover the tray now before moving on to the next step.
Lay your slices, rings, or diced bell peppers out on the cookie sheet. Spread the pepper pieces out in a single layer and make sure they are not touching each other or are in clumps.
Air needs to circulate each pepper for proper freezing. Place cookie sheet inside the freezer for one hour. Remove from the freezer and check to see if each pepper is frozen.
3. How to Store Frozen Peppers
Use a spoon or a flat spatula to lift each bell pepper off the cookie sheet. Transfer the peppers into small freezer bags. Small freezer bags can hold up to one cup of frozen peppers. Separate peppers into bags using different measurements so you can quickly grab only the amount you need.
Remove as much air as you can, and seal the bag. Vacuum sealing allows the peppers to stay even fresher inside the freezer. Label each container with the number of peppers inside and the date frozen. Place inside the freezer and use within eight months for best quality.
4. Freezing Green Peppers for Stuffed Peppers
If you enjoy making stuffed peppers, freeze your raw peppers whole. Instead of cutting them in half, cut off the top and use a melon baller or spoon to scoop out the seeds and membrane. Place the lid back on and then freeze on a cookie sheet.
Once frozen, transfer the whole peppers to a heavy-duty freezer bag for storage. When making stuffed peppers, it is easier to stuff the peppers while they are still frozen, and it won’t affect the result at all.
Rather than freezing bell peppers whole, you can freeze stuffed peppers, too. Follow the recipe to make and prepare your stuffed peppers. Place all of the cooked stuffed peppers in a freezer-proof dish, cover with aluminum foil, and then wrap with plastic wrap.
This method seals everything and ensures nothing is exposed to reduce the risk of freezer burn. Place inside the freezer and freeze. You also have the option of wrapping and freezing each pepper individually. Before freezing stuffed peppers, let them cool. Use within three months for the best quality.
5. Avoiding Freezer Burn when Freezing Peppers
To help prevent freezer burn, make sure your peppers are 100% dry before freezing them. After cutting, if you rinse your peppers, dry them off with a paper towel before placing them on a cookie sheet. Moist peppers allow ice crystals to form when freezing; the drier they are, the less likely ice crystals or freezer burn forms.
Another way to avoid freezer burn is to use the peppers within six months of freezing. Yes, your frozen peppers will keep longer, but the longer they are in the freezer, the higher the risk of freezer burn.
To reduce the chances of freezer burn, store them where its coldest, so place them towards the back. Always use peppers in the order they were frozen.
6. Best Way to Freeze Hot Peppers
Unlike bell peppers, hot peppers, including Anaheim, jalapenos, habaneros, etc., do not require cutting or chopping before freezing. To freeze these peppers, wash them, then stem them, and rinse again to remove as many seeds as you can. Dry with a towel before packaging.
Place as many peppers into a freezer bag as possible; you do not need to leave any headspace. Seal by removing air from inside the package or use a vacuum sealer. Label the bag or container with a permanent marker with the type of pepper and when you packaged it.
7. Do Frozen Peppers Require Thawing Before Use?
One of the great things about frozen bell peppers is you can use them frozen, or you can thaw them. No matter the recipe rating, you can add frozen peppers directly to any dish, but they work best in soups, stews, casseroles, and stir-fries. If you prefer to thaw them, run under cold water for a few minutes or place in the fridge for a few hours.
As they soften, liquid will pool up inside the bag; discard the liquid before adding to your favorite dish. As peppers do lose some of their crispness when frozen, it is not always recommended to eat them raw, but they do make a great treat on those hot summer days.
Although the texture is affected when you freeze peppers, the taste is not, and they are a great substitute in all recipes that call for fresh peppers unless it’s a salad where you want crisp raw veggies.
8. How to Determine if Frozen Peppers are Bad
Do not use frozen peppers that are more than one year old. No matter what the peppers look like, for the best quality, discard them. When pulling peppers from the freezer, scrutinize each bag.
Look for any peppers covered in frost or ice crystals. A little bit of frost or a few ice crystals is fine. Another thing to look out for when determining if peppers are bad is their appearance. Throw away any peppers that appear incredibly light in color or that look dry.
The last way to tell if your peppers are bad is how much air is inside the bag. As you removed all the air before freezing, if it is suddenly full of air, the peppers have spoiled. With airtight containers, check to see if the lid has popped off.
We hope we were able to answer the question, “can you freeze bell peppers” for you. If you found any of our tips and ideas on freezing green peppers helpful, please share our tips on how to freeze bell peppers with others on Facebook and Pinterest.