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How To Freeze Peppers

Freezing peppers from the garden is one of the easiest and most effective ways to preserve your chillies, allowing you to enjoy your homegrown peppers throughout the winter, and if you are lucky right through until next years crop is ripe.

Both sweet peppers and hot chillies freeze well so long as you follow some simple advice.

Why Bother To Freeze Your Peppers?

If you are growing peppers in a relatively cool climate like me (in Northern Europe) you’ll be only to aware that the growing season is short. Slower growing varieties such as Habanero, Naga, Scotch Bonnet etc can take several weeks to ripen meaning that many of us chilli growers end up with a large glut of ripe fruit near the end of summer, too many to consume before they spoil.

How to Freeze Peppersimage by jeffsmallwood

I’m ashamed to say that in the first year or two I wasted quite a few peppers by either not picking them when ripe (which stimulates the plants to grow more) or simply not using all of the fresh chilies I had picked.

Frozen peppers taste fresher than dried peppers. If you want to try and retain that fresh pepper taste from

How To Freeze Chillies

Be sure to wash your peppers thoroughly and allow to dry before preparing them for freezing. You can help them to dry by spreading them out and lightly patting with a tea towel.

We get a lot of questions about whether you should take the seeds out of chillies before freezing them. There isn’t a right or wrong answer to this one. I usually freeze small peppers whole, no de-seeding or slicing, just wash them, drain them and freeze them in freezer bags.

For larger varieties or some crops that have large internal membranes with loads of seeds I opt to slice them in half and de-seed them prior to freezing. The choice of de-seeding or not is purely yours, I tend to do what I would do if i were using the chillies fresh.

If chopping the chillies they can sometimes freeze together inside the freezer bags into a big solid chilli ball which is rather unhelpful when you want to take one or two out of the freezer for cooking. To avoid this I first lay out the chillies on a backing tray and place in the freezer for 2 hours.

Chillies Ready for Freezing

Once frozen I remove them and bag them up into sealable freezer bags before popping back in the freezer. Be sure to label the freezer bag with the variety of peppers/chillies and the date you froze them.

How Long Do Frozen Chillies Last?

Again a tough one to answer. Consult the manual of your freezer and it will probably say fresh fruit and vegetables should  be used within 3 months of freezing. I have used frozen peppers that have been frozen for up to a year and have not had any problems or experienced any loss of taste.

A Quick Tip: Use Ice Cube Trays

chilli ice cube

If you always tend to use finely chopped chillies when cooking then it can make a lot of sense to chop them prior to freezing them and split them into portions of similar size to what you use in cooking.

One great way of making frozen chillies easier to cook with is to put freshly chopped chillies into an ice cube tray with a enough water to cover them and freeze. Next time you are cooking and want some chilli just pop in however many chilli cubes you need!

Use Good Quality Freezer Bags

I’ve read quite a few times that one factor that can affect how long your frozen fruit and veg will last is the quality of freezer bags you use.  The thicker the bag, the less ‘freezer burn’ will damage the peppers over time and the longer they will last. I guess this makes sense but i’ve never really experienced any issues.

image by bigtypelittletype

Blanching Peppers Before Freezing

All vegetables naturally contain enzymes and bacteria that over time destroy the nutritional value and flavour, even when frozen. If freezing larger, softer fruit like bell peppers or sweet peppers it can pay to blanche them in hot water prior to freezing. This will kill off the enzymes and bacteria meaning they’ll keep longer in the freezer and taste fresher when used.

To blanche peppers you’ll need to remove the stems, cut in half and de-seed them. Bring a pan of water to the boil and plunge in the peppers and remove after 1 minute. Immediately place the peppers in a bowl of ice cold water (to remover the heat and stop them cooking further). Drain off thoroughly before freezing as usual.




13 comments… add one

  • Jackie September 22, 2015, 10:08 pm

    We have a woodburning pizza oven and Im going to try slicing my sweet chili peppers into rings, freezing them seperat then bagging them. Without blanching? What do you think.? Having fun with the peppers and the. Basil pesto .

    • The Chilli King October 1, 2015, 10:52 am

      Jackie,
      I’m VERY jealous of your pizza oven – it’s definitely something I plan to build in the future at some point. Your plans sounds a perfect way of storing your chillies – good luck!

  • Bruce November 20, 2014, 8:43 pm

    Hi, I’ve been freezing chillies for a few years and the other day found some Fresno’s dating back to my 2011 harvest at the back of my freezer.

    It’s now 2014 and they still look fresh and clean with no freezer burn or deterioration. Even after cutting through them the flesh is thick and juicy with the seeds and membrane perfectly intact.

    So my question is, if they look and taste ok after 3 years in the freezer, are there any health risks in using them, such as bad bacteria, botulism, etc?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • The Chilli King November 23, 2014, 3:31 pm

      Bruce,
      I would have no issues using them if as you say they look ok. Please don’t take my word as written though – I accept no responsibility for advice given here!
      Personally I tend to have so much surplus each year the freezer gets refilled every 24 months or so. Any leftovers from the freezer tend to get used to make chutney in order to make room for new stock!

      • Bruce November 26, 2014, 1:30 pm

        Thanks for the reply. It’s what I figured too, so went ahead with your chutney recipe which I’ve been using for years now. It’s so simple and absolutely great with cheese and crackers or as a relish for burgers or hotdogs. Keep up the good work with your blog.

        Bruce.

  • Linda Taylor November 2, 2014, 8:42 am

    Thanks for the advice will be freezing chillies today .

  • Chris Collins September 25, 2014, 4:13 pm

    My fiirst year of growing chillies .Using a greenhouse. I used Super Tomato Feed from Suttons to feed them. Result 6 ft tall plants and groaning with chillies.
    What do I do with them.
    Look it up on the internet.Result ,loads of conflicting advice, until I came to Chilli King
    Lots of clear sensible advice easy to understand and follow. Didn’t realise there were so many ways of dealing with chillis.Also the advice on management of the plants was so useful.
    An excellent insight for a beginner and I’m quite sure for those who have been growing chillies for some time.
    Very many thanks

    • The Chilli King October 2, 2014, 10:59 am

      Chris,
      Glad to be of service 😉 !

  • Sue Frudd September 20, 2014, 7:43 pm

    Thanks for all the info. I have just discovered your website so good to find other Chilli fans and share tips. Good to know how to freeze them so will try that. Great site with lots to offer.

  • Gill Balfe October 8, 2013, 7:30 pm

    I rescued a couple of chilli plants from my local supermarket. Tired and neglected. Lots of TLC and turning their pots each day has rewarded me with long yellow hot chaps who have been basking in the sunshine and are absolutely delicious. I harvested them last evening, and in the ‘heat’ of the moment, chopped a few, after removing the seeds, and ground them in a mortar and pestle with three cloves of garlic and lots of fresh basil. Added olive oil, continued grinding and popped into a spice jar to await results! Fabulous! Penne all’arrabiata will be transformed and is on the menu tonight! Just a small amount will transform this dish, with smoked bacon, a tin of good toms, decent pasta and loads of parmesan, it will be delicious and easily recreated in the depths of winter. My home grown basil was delighted to be introduced to the chillis and the garlic just sets it all off. Loads of uses.

    Thank you so much for giving me some tips to deal with the rest of my crop. Communicating with real chilli lovers is great! They are not just hot, they are aromatic, biddable – they pop off their stalks when ready, beautiful, and deserve TLC in their preservation.

  • Tony Larsson August 22, 2013, 1:28 pm

    Cool, never thought about freezing them, just the normal drying.
    Thanks

  • Andrew Hill March 1, 2012, 1:08 pm

    Thanx a lot for the helpfull information, as only one member of my family eats chillies,the ability of freezing is a great help

    • The Chilli King March 14, 2012, 10:28 am

      Andrew Hill – Glad to be of assistance!

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