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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Freezing peppers

UPDATE: Andrea's recipe for fire-roasted, olive-oil drizzled, frozen peppers is in the comments section. Thanks, Andrea!

[And just to be clear, that's p-e-p-p-e-r-s, not p-r-e-p-p-e-r-s! There are no freezing preppers since all preppers have alternative sources of heat available to them in an emergency. But I digress... .]

Fresh sweet peppers are a true delight, and are a good source of vitamin C. If you grow your own peppers, or get them from a local Farmers' Market, you know that there simply is no comparison between those and store bought. The problem, of course, is that fresh pepper season comes to a screeching halt when nighttime temperatures are consistently below about 50*F. 

It is possible to grow peppers inside during the winter, but it ain't easy. Peppers like relatively high humidity, and most homes are relatively dry during the winter. I do encourage you to pot up your peppers and bring them inside, anyway. You can extend the season-- the flowers on the plant when you bring it in will still set fruit that will mature inside, as will the fruit that's already set. Plus, if you keep the plants alive through the winter, they'll have a jump start when you take them back outside come late spring. So it's worth the effort. Just don't expect a bumper crop of peppers in January.

"So what's a pepper-loving' prepper to do?" you ask. "Buy them at Mego-lo-mart?" 

HEAVENS NO!! Peppers are ridiculously easy to freeze. And while you may not want to eat them on a fresh salad, they still retain much of their crispiness, and are no doubt more nutritious than the tasteless, over-priced store-bought ones.

Freezing Bell (sweet) peppers:

quarter (or slice)
remove seeds
lay out on a baking sheet, spacing so that none of the pieces are touching
put in freezer
when completely frozen (over night) put in freezer bag & remove as much of the air as possible
return to freezer

How simple is that? The idea is that by flash freezing-- without touching-- you'll then be able to take from your pepper bag what you need. They won't glom together as one big frozen chunk of peppers. Just be sure not to let the contents of the bag thaw as you're taking out what you need.


Andrea said...

Last year, I fire-roasted my peppers, drizzled them with olive oil and froze them....and OMG were they incredible!!! For a quick dinner, I'd throw a few peppers in a pan along with fire-roasted, frozen tomatoes and a little bit of olive oil. Warm them through, maybe add a bit of garlic and then toss them with hot pasta. It was absolutely scrumptious!

Marica said...

Andrea-- would you mind posting the fire-roasting instructions here? I know they are widely available, but your own instructions & tips would be much appreciated. We've never done this.

And yeah-- when John's out of town, and I have to cook (!) nuthing beats a mess of peppers, and tomatoes, and onions in olive oil over pasta. Umm... . Frugal & Delicious.

Andrea said...

Marica...it's so simple! You can use either the broiler, your stove top (if you have a gas stove) or even the grill. Whichever way you choose, you need to pick a bunch of ripe peppers, slice off the top and take out the seeds. Wash and dry them.

Then you need to position the peppers close the heat source of your choice. I broil mine, but you could also hold them over a burner using bbq utensils or just lay them on the grill of your outdoor grill. When the skin begins to turn black and blister, turn them and roast them til they're evenly charred on all sides.

When you're done roasting, put them in a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap or a damp towel. Let them sit for about 15 minutes, til steam has built up under the cover and the skin comes off easily. Just pull the skin off and use them fresh. OR if you're going to freeze them, lay them flat on a cookie sheet and drizzle them with some olive oil.

That's it. Here's a link you might enjoy:


It's an extension-office-approved recipe for home-canning roasted peppers in oil...down around page 9. I'll never again pay 5$ for a jar of roasted peppers in oil!

Marica said...

Thanks, Andrea! This sounds yummy! And thanks also for that link.

Now that I read the instructions, it's very much like what John does to make his own chili powder! I'd never thought of roasted & oied sweet pepper, though.

For chili powder, John roasts hot peppers (cut & seeded) in the oven on a pretty low temperature for several hours until they're pretty dry. After the peppers are cooled, he grinds them up in a coffee grinder. (If you do this, do NOT use the coffee grinder to later grind beans!!)

Making our own chili powder means he can choose the varieties, and thus control the "heat" of the chili powder to our liking.

Preppers for Peppers!! Yeah!

Worn Out said...

LOL I love this! Peppers not Preppers. Great Post!

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Ohio Preppers Network Est. Jan 17, 2009 All contributed articles owned and protected by their respective authors and protected by their copyright. Ohio Preppers Network is a trademark protected by American Preppers Network Inc. All rights reserved. No content or articles may be reproduced without explicit written permission.