Whether you have a bounty in your garden or decided to buy in bulk, using those sweet peppers before they go bad can often be a challenge. Fortunately, sweet peppers are one of the easiest vegetables to freeze, and they retain their bright colors and flavor beautifully with this method. Unlike when freezing other vegetables, it is not necessary to blanch peppers before freezing them. This technique of freezing is simple, taking only 10 minutes to prepare and 1 hour to flash freeze.
It is important to keep in mind, however, that because peppers contain water they won't return to their crispness when thawed. So frozen pepper pieces are ideal for adding to cooked dishes such as stir-fries and stews but not for eating raw.
What You Need
You don't need much besides the sweet peppers--such as bell or roasting peppers--to follow this freezing method. For a quick process, make sure you have a sharp knife, cutting board, baking sheet and freezer bags or airtight containers on hand.
Steps for Freezing
- Remove the stems, seeds and whitish inner membranes from the peppers.
- Cut the peppers according to your cooking style--if you usually make recipes that call for chopped peppers, cut them into approximately 1/2-inch pieces. Or slice them if pepper strips (like for stir-fries) are more commonly on the ingredient list. Or do a little of both. This way, they are ready to use when you take them out of the freezer.
- Spread the cut peppers in a single layer on a baking sheet. Freeze for 1 hour. This step (called flash freezing) ensures that the pieces remain loose rather than clumping together, and makes it possible for you to scoop out just what you need later on.
- Transfer the frozen pepper pieces to freezer bags or airtight containers. Label the bags or containers with the date (and variety of pepper if you like).
- The peppers will keep for up to a year, but their quality is best if used within 6 months.
- Because peppers retain water when frozen, it is best to use frozen peppers in cooked dishes--they will become somewhat limp and soggy when thawed and therefore are not ideal for salads or crudites. For most recipes, like soups, sauces, and stir-fries, it is unnecessary to thaw the pepper pieces before cooking them.