Having a successful garden is extremely rewarding. However, we often find ourselves frantically giving away peppers every year to anyone who will take them so that they won’t go to waste.
If you’re in this situation or otherwise have lots of peppers on hand, you may be wondering…can you freeze peppers? Freezing bell peppers and other varieties is easy to do, but there are some important steps to get right. Learn how to freeze peppers today on Pepper Geek!
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How To Freeze Peppers (Video):
If you’d like to see the other methods of storing your fresh peppers, read our top 5 ways to preserve peppers here.
How To Freeze Bell Peppers
When it comes to freezing bell peppers and other large varieties, there are a few extra steps that should be taken. These peppers are big, so freezing bell peppers whole wastes a lot of space. If you just put them into a bag, you’ll have to use more room in your freeze than is necessary. So fresh bell peppers should be cut before freezing to save room.
Use the steps below for freezing bell peppers, banana peppers and any larger pepper varieties.
- Select fresh, firm peppers to freeze.
- Wash thoroughly with cold water.
- Remove stem, seeds and membrane.
- Slice peppers into the desired shape (finely chopped, sliced lengthwise, cross-sections).
- Spread sliced peppers on a cookie sheet or similar and freeze for 1 hour (flash freezing). This will help keep the frozen peppers from sticking together.
- Put frozen peppers into a freezer bag and squeeze out as much air as possible.
- Seal the bag and freeze.
- Store frozen peppers for up to 12 months.
Tip: Label each bag with the date and type of peppers being frozen. This will help avoid confusion when you use your frozen peppers later.
Do I have to Blanch Peppers Before Freezing?
Blanching is the process of quickly exposing your peppers to boiling water or steam. This stops biochemical reactions that may cause loss of flavor or nutrition.
We don’t recommend blanching peppers before freezing because it can cause peppers to become limp or less crunchy after being thawed. The difference in flavor will usually be unnoticeable after blanching, so we just skip it.
If you do not blanch your peppers, most of the nutritional value will remain in peppers, even after being frozen for months.
If you don’t mind a softer pepper, feel free to blanch your peppers before freezing. This step would be done after step 4 above.
How To Blanch Peppers Before Freezing
- Boil with plenty of water for 2 minutes
- Immediately cool peppers in ice cold water to stop the cooking process
What Is The Best Freezer Bag For Peppers?
Freezer bags are a more durable material compared to standard baggies. They are made from thicker plastic to protect from freezer burn and punctures.
They come in a variety of sizes for different storage amounts, but we generally recommend using gallon or quart sized freezer bags for storing different amounts. This will give protection from freezer burn and potential breaks in the bag.
Ziploc makes a reliable seal and a durable freezer bag. Get them on Amazon.
We also found that these reusable silicon baggies work even better for keeping out freezer burn (though they are more expensive).
Freezing Hot Peppers
Freezing larger peppers involves cutting and removing seeds. What about smaller peppers, like ghost peppers or jalapenos? For small hot pepper varieties, we just remove the stems and freeze them whole!
Can You Freeze Whole Peppers?
Yes, the preferred method of freezing most hot peppers is to leave them whole. Here is the simple guide to freezing small hot peppers.
- Select fresh, firm peppers.
- Thoroughly wash and dry all peppers.
- Remove the stems from all peppers.
- Add peppers to freezer bags and remove as much air as possible.
- Place bags in freezer.
Again, labeling bags with the date before freezing is always a good idea. It can be easy to forget which bag was frozen first. By labeling, you can always use the oldest peppers first.
How Long Do Jalapenos Last In The Freezer?
When frozen fresh, Jalapeños can last at least 10-12 months in the freezer. If frozen in a very cold freezer, with temperatures around 0°F, Jalapenos may last 14 months or more.
Do Peppers Lose Heat When Frozen?
No, spicy peppers will not lose any heat when frozen fresh. To retain as much heat and flavor as possible, try to freeze your peppers the same day they are picked.
If you are freezing store bought peppers, whatever heat they possessed when bought will be maintained when frozen. This makes frozen peppers perfect for making hot sauce throughout the winter!
Thawing Frozen Peppers
When you are ready to use your frozen peppers, thawing them is easy. Follow these steps:
- Remove the desired amount of frozen peppers from freezer bag.
- Reseal the freezer bag, removing as much air as possible.
- Put remaining frozen peppers back in freezer right away.
- Allow peppers to reach room temperature on a paper towel or plate.
- Alternatively, heat peppers directly from frozen in a pan.
Frozen peppers can be cooked, or they can be eaten raw. If eating fresh, make sure to thaw them on a towel to remove any excess moisture.
Do Peppers Lose Flavor When Frozen?
No, peppers will not lose much flavor when frozen fresh. Ideally, peppers should be frozen the same day they are picked to maintain as much original flavor as possible. Peppers will also still contain most of the original nutritional value after being frozen.
Blanching peppers before freezing can help retain more original flavor. However, in our experience not much flavor is lost when blanching is skipped.
Other Ways to Store Peppers
Want to store your peppers another way? Freezing is not your only option! There are many easy (and tasty) ways to preserve your fresh peppers for longer.
For our top 5 best ways to preserve peppers, read our article here! From pickling to making hot sauce, you’ll find some great options for preserving your peppers.
Quick pickling is one of our favorite methods for storing hot peppers. This is a quick way to turn your fresh peppers into the perfect, crunchy sandwich topper. They will last for several weeks in the fridge and can be a great snack or addition to meals.
Pickled peppers are also a great gift for other hot pepper lovers.
Read our easy guide to pickling peppers here.
Canning is a longer process for pickling and storing produce, and peppers will last much longer with this method. It involves boiling the sealed cans the sterilize the food and seal the jars.
The canning technique is a bit more involved, but can be worth the effort if you have a large amount of peppers to store. Properly canned peppers can be stored outside of the fridge for months without spoiling. Also, they make another great gift for friends or family.
Dehydrating & Powdering
If you want to use your peppers to create a dry rub or spice, you will need to dehydrate the peppers first. This can be done easily at home with a dehydrator, or in the oven (though it will take much longer).
Learn how to make homemade cayenne pepper powder here.
Dehydrating peppers can be fun to experiment to create your own dry spices, especially if you have a lot of varieties to combine. The colors can be gorgeous, too!
Read our guide to dehydrating peppers here.
We hope this article helped you learn how to freeze fresh bell peppers and hot peppers. We recommend this method for all gardeners, as it is so easy and can help you keep cooking with your peppers all year long!