So you’ve just returned from the grocery store with a fresh haul of bell peppers, purchased at a sale price too reasonable to pass up. Or maybe, you’ve been growing bell peppers and want to spread out your harvest throughout the year. Whatever your reason for suddenly coming into a large batch of your favorite veggies, knowing how to store bell peppers will take you a long way.
This excellent crop deserves much more than a brief shelf life in your crisper drawer, especially if you don’t plan on eating your bell peppers right away, you don’t want to risk losing them just because you aren’t aware of the best way to store bell peppers. Not to worry!
Your fresh produce remains crispy even longer with just a few simple tips and recipes for storing green peppers and red peppers alike. There are several different methods available, with plenty of delicious recipes to add to your personal cookbook.
How to Store Bell Peppers the Right Way
The best part about bell peppers is that they can be a part of so many different flavors and recipes. If you like sweet or spicy peppers, there are plenty of methods available to keep those tastes fresh and robust. They are also a great veggie to store with other peppers or even other canned vegetables like pickles and zucchini.
1. Selecting the Right Peppers
Before you get started preparing and storing your peppers, ensure you’re choosing the right ones for the batch, especially when selecting veggies for longer-term storage. No matter what color, whether red or green peppers and everything in between, make sure you are choosing ones with a shiny exterior and no traces of wrinkling or bruising.
2. Fresh Peppers Only
Stay away from moldy items and only stick to fresh peppers. If there are any dark spots or unsightly blemishes on the pepper, select another one. The firmness of the pepper is critical. This texture means the crispness will also be present in your peppers later on down the road.
3. Determine Where to Store Peppers
One thing you want to consider before determining where to store your peppers is how long you are planning on keeping them. If you’re going to keep your peppers safe and secure for long-term use, stick to a process like canning, dehydrating, or freezing them to keep them fresher longer.
However, if you plan on using them right away, or even within a week or two, consider an alternative method. You don’t want to go through all the added steps of drying or canning them, if you aren’t planning on using them long term.
Instead, using some simple preservation techniques to keep them crisp and healthy for a few extra days is all you need. Once you know how long it will be before using them, the easier it will be to make your decision on how to store them.
4. The Best Way to Store Bell Peppers Whole
If you want to store your bell peppers whole, you only have one option available: short-term storage. That’s right! Every other storage option will ask you to cut the peppers up ahead of time since this allows them to be packed up easier and retain most of their flavor.
The only way to store bell peppers is by placing them in the refrigerator. Doing this is the best way to save them as well since they deteriorate faster in the fridge when cut up.
5. How to Store Cut Bell Peppers
Cut bell peppers work for almost every other solution except for the refrigerator. If you want to store cut or chopped peppers in the fridge, make sure you toss them out after three days. Even if they would typically last two weeks in the fridge, throw them out once cut up.
They will usually show signs of aging anyway, such as a slimy or moldy exterior. If you are storing them in the freezer, cans, or as part of the drying process, however, you will certainly want to cut them up ahead of time.
This step is crucial with bell peppers since you want to remove the seeds before storing long term. When canning, cut them into quarters or slices. For freezing and drying, it is better to stick to thinner slices.
6. How to Store Bell Peppers in the Fridge
When storing bell peppers in the fridge, make sure they are free of moisture before placing them in the crisper. If they are damp, wipe them with a paper towel. Another great way to preserve them longer is by placing them in a grocery bag.
Most of these bags are mesh and have plenty of holes to allow for an adequate flow of air to reach the pepper. This part is essential for maintaining the fresh, crispy quality of your green bell peppers.
If you don’t have a mesh bag, you can always make your own by poking holes in a plastic bag before setting it into the vegetable drawer. After that, your pepper is good for about a week. Green peppers last even longer than the yellow and red peppers.
7. Storing Bell Peppers in the Freezer
A popular method in food storage is freezing. This method allows for much more prolonged use of the food without damaging the taste and texture too much. Start by placing the cut bell peppers on a cookie sheet using only a single layer of peppers to cover the bottom.
Do not allow any of the peppers to overlap or lay over one another, so they freeze evenly. Freeze peppers on the cookie sheet for approximately one hour by leaving them uncovered in the freezer.
Afterward, place them in an airtight container or freezer bags with all the air sucked out of them when packaging. Remove as much air from the bags as possible. A vacuum sealer is ideal, but not necessary.
8. Canning Pickled Bell Peppers
There are multiple ways to can peppers, including numerous recipes that are as unique as they are delicious. The two main ways to can bell peppers are either fresh or pickled.
While pickling is not necessary, it is a great way to both retain and enhance flavors, especially for hot peppers. This canning recipe is a delicious way to store sweet peppers that are already pickled.
When canning pickled peppers of any kind, it is generally acceptable to use a water bath canner or steam canner. Peel the garlic cloves and slice the onions very thin. Afterward, distribute them evenly among five pint jars along with the peppers and oil.
Place the remaining ingredients in a large saucepan and heat them until boiling. Add the boiling liquid to the jars, leaving enough headspace between the contents and the lid, approximately one half an inch.
Set the peppers in the appropriate canning apparatus for at least 15 minutes. This recipe works with either green bell peppers or red peppers. For information on canning sweet banana peppers, use the provided link. The process is quite similar.
9. Canning Fresh Bell Peppers
The second way to can bell peppers is by canning them fresh, without pickling. If you are canning bell peppers fresh, then you need to use a pressure canner. Either way, the recipe rating on this selection places it at the top choice for canning fresh peppers.
Combine all the ingredients for the sauce, excluding only the peppers, in a large pot or Dutch oven and bring the ingredients to a boil. Once it has begun to boil, reduce the heat and let it simmer for an additional ten minutes. Add the peppers and allow them to cook for approximately 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the peppers and their sauce to the canning jars. You will need six of the pint jars to package them all. Process them using a pressure canner to store them for three to five years.
10. How to Dry Bell Peppers
Another fantastic way to store bell peppers is by drying them. After preparing and slicing them, blanch the peppers. Boil the peppers in hot water for approximately four minutes before placing them in icy cold water to cool.
Put your bell peppers on the trays with parchment paper and ready them for the dehydrating process. Set your dehydrator according to the manufacturer’s settings and allow several hours for the peppers to dry.
This process usually takes around eight hours to complete, but check the progress to ensure additional time isn’t needed. Seal them in an airtight container and store them in your pantry.
FAQ on Storing Green Peppers
Now that you know the best methods to store peppers, you may still be wondering which one to use. That answer depends on how long you plan on storing your peppers, which we can quickly answer for you here.
How long do bell peppers last?
The preservation method you choose is based on when you want to use your peppers. At room temperature, peppers only last a few short days. In the fridge, this time doubles, but still only leaves them fresh and healthy for one to two weeks. Longer bell pepper storage options include freezing, drying, and canning.
Freezing the bell peppers keeps them fresh and ready to use for up to one year while drying them doubles their shelf life to up to two years. Canning allows you to keep your bell peppers the longest, from three to five years.
Is storing green peppers at room temperature okay?
While storing peppers of any color at room temperature is not recommended, it is possible. The longevity of these peppers, however, is short, and most peppers wither after only a couple of days. If you must store them outside of the refrigerator, place them in a cool, dry place free from moisture.
Moisture is harmful to the peppers and causes them to rot even faster. Another necessary step to take when storing them at room temperature is to place them in a mesh bag with plenty of air circulation.
We hope you enjoyed learning about storing green peppers and all the colors of the bell pepper rainbow. These mouthwatering recipes should give you some new ideas and steps to try when it comes to your abundance of bell peppers.
Even if you don’t have a ton of bell peppers to work with, perhaps these tips and recipes will inspire you to gather some more and try something new.
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