Jalapeños and other hot peppers are only in season in the summer, but if you freeze them, you can enjoy them year-round.
What You Need
- Hot peppers
- A sharp knife
- A cutting board
- Cookie sheet or ice cube tray
- Freezer bags
What You Do
- Wash and dry your peppers. Discard any that are limp, moldy, or otherwise blemished. Fresh peppers freeze best.
- Cut the stems off. Then, cut the peppers open on one side, and scoop out all the seeds.
- If you plan to use your peppers to make jalapeño poppers or stuffed peppers, or you simply don't know how you're going to use them yet, leave the peppers whole. If you plan to use them diced or sliced, go ahead and cut them up now.
- Flash freeze whole or sliced jalapeños on a cookie sheet. Then, transfer them to a freezer bag once they're frozen. Freeze diced jalapeños in an ice cube tray to create individual servings. Then, transfer them to a freezer bag. Each cube is equal to 2 tablespoons of fresh, diced jalapeños.
- Use your peppers within six months for the best quality. But, know that they'll keep in the freezer indefinitely. If you'll be using your jalapeños in a cooked dish, there's usually no need to thaw them first. Just add them to the pan, and they'll thaw as they cook. Easy!
If you enjoy roasted peppers, go ahead and roast a bunch of jalapeños. Then, pop them in the freezer, so you'll always have some on hand. They add loads of flavor to dishes, such as chili, enchiladas, and salsa, but when you're in a hurry to get dinner on the table, you probably don't have an extra hour to spend roasting peppers. Just roast a bunch once or twice a year and you'll always have a stash of roasted peppers to pull from. So much easier than trying to find the time and energy to roast peppers every time you want them.
- Always wear gloves when you handle hot peppers. The capsaicin that makes peppers hot is a potential skin irritant. Take care not to touch your face (and especially your eyes) while you're working. Wash your hands in hot, soapy water when you're finished (even if you wore gloves), and scrub down your work surface thoroughly. It's better to be overly cautious than overly miserable.
- To prevent freezer burn, be sure to squeeze all the air out of your freezer bags, or vacuum seal your jalapeños. This will greatly extend their storage life.
- Frozen peppers work best in cooked or baked dishes, but you'll also find that diced jalapeños work just fine in raw salsas.
- Label your jalapeño peppers, so no one accidentally mistakes them for a milder pepper.