Hot peppers are a flavorful way to spice up any dish. Whether you are looking to add a bit of spice to your stir fry or salsa, hot peppers are super delicious, healthy, and versatile in that they can be added to a variety of meals and snacks.
With so many great uses for hot peppers, you need to ensure you are properly storing your hot peppers to preserve their taste and freshness. Dried chili peppers is the most common preservation technique. But when it comes to other methods, like freezing, it can be difficult to know how to freeze hot peepers the right way. The last thing you want is to buy tons of hot peppers, attempt to store them in your freezer the wrong way, and find out later on all your hot peppers are rotten and not good- wasting your precious time and money.
In this article, you’ll learn the 5 quick tips for freezing hot peppers to make them last for up to 6 months! And as always, make sure you are carefully handling your hot peppers, wearing gloves, washing your hands after handling the peppers, and not touching your face or eyes to prioritize your safety during this process.
Tip 1: Wash Your Hot Peppers Thoroughly
To properly store your hot peppers, you first want to inspect each pepper for any potential bruising or soft spots. Once you’ve selected your hot peppers (that don’t have bruising), wash the peppers under warm water. You want to ensure each pepper is thoroughly clean and hygienically prepped and prepared for the freezing process.
Once each pepper is individually washed, completely dry each pepper before freezing.
Tip 2: Chop Your Hot Peppers Accordingly
The next tip for freezing hot peppers is to cut your hot peppers accordingly to how you think you will use them in the future. This way you’ll already have your hot peppers exactly cut and prepared to your desired preference. Otherwise, if you wait to cut your hot peppers after you take them out of the freezer, they may be more difficult to cut and handle.
It’s important to note that it is highly recommended you are wearing gloves while handling hot peppers, especially when you are chopping the peppers. This will ensure you protect your skin from any potential burning sensation or irritation if the juices touch your skin.
With that being said, whether you want finely diced pieces of hot pepper for a spicy dish you’ll be making in a couple of months. Or, if you want to use whole peppers for the next stuffed pepper recipe you’ve been wanting to try, make sure you plan accordingly to how you would like to use your peppers in the future before freezing.
Tip 3: Place Hot Peppers In Air Tight Plastic Bag
After you’ve washed, dried, and chopped your hot peppers according to your desired preference, you’re going to want to store the hot peppers in an air-tight, heavy-duty freezer bag.
Ensure you are using only high-quality plastic bags to reduce the risk of the bag easily getting punctured or ripping. Consider using a Ziploc bag brand rather than a cheaper alternative plastic bag brand.
Once you place the hot peppers in the air-tight plastic bag, you are going to want to press out all the excess air. Then, after you’ve securely closely the plastic bag with the peppers inside (excluding any excess air in the bag) you’re almost ready to place your hot peppers in the freezer.
Tip 4: Label and Date Bag
Although this is optional, it is highly recommended you label the plastic bag with the exact type of pepper (i.e. hot pepper) and the exact date you are putting them in the freezer. This tip does two great things.
First, if you are storing different types of peppers other than simply hot peppers in your freezer, you are going to want an easy way to distinguish between the different types of peppers. Additionally, by writing the exact date on a label, you’ll be able to exactly remember when you first stored them, and how long they’re good for.
This is because, although following these hot pepper freezing tips will help make the peppers last, you cannot simply freeze peppers forever. Hot peppers can be stored in the freezer for about 6 months, considering the peppers were properly cleaned, prepped, and stored before being put in the freezer.
Tip 5: Consider Blanching For Maximum Health Benefits
Another optional tip that is highly recommended if you think you won’t use the hot peppers for at least six months or more is blanching. Blanching is a cooking method that can help the peppers (or any vegetable you are working with) remove any excess bacteria remaining on the vegetable so they keep their health benefits, even after months of being in the freezer.
You can blanch your hot peppers by:
- Placing your hot peppers in boiling water and boil for about 2-3 minutes.
- Then, place the hot peppers in a pot of freezing ice water for 2-3 minutes.
- Finally, remove the hot peppers from the ice water, pat completely dry, and then place them in the airtight plastic bags so they are ready to be put in the freezer.
Again, if you expect to use your hot peppers relatively soon upon freezing (within a couple of months) blanching is not necessary. However, if you expect to freeze your hot peppers for around 6 months or more, blanching is a great way to preserve your pepper’s nutrients and health benefits.