A friend asked me the other day what do I do with all of the peppers that are harvested from our garden. They seemed a little surprised when I said – aside from mixing with the occasional hot sauce – that I freeze them. Although freezing peppers from the garden is an easy process, here are a few tips to help.
This year, was a good year for jalapenos. My wife and I planted about 8-10 plants and made a point to keep them in front of all the other vegetables. They don’t normally grow too tall (compared to the other plants) and they need a decent amount of light. It also seems like the local critters stay clear of these peppers, probably for obvious reasons. Last year, we had them in a spot in the garden that gets less-light than the rest of the plants and they didn’t turn out so well. We ended up with a handful, this year, probably 30-40. I was really excited because these are my favorite kind of pepper.
Now, when you don’t know too many people that eat spicy foods, 30-40 peppers starts to seem like quite a bit. But I had the idea to start freezing them. I really didn’t research this, but I did already know that peppers come frozen in bags at the grocery store … so this would be fairly easy. But I will give you 5 simple tips that might help you if you decide to freeze them.
1. Wash your peppers as soon as you pick them. Let them dry overnight in an open container. You want to eliminate as much moisture on outsides as possible.
2. Don’t chop them up. Keeping them whole preserves them longer. As you take them out, chop them while they are frozen. They aren’t that hard, a serrated knife will do the trick.
3. Don’t be afraid to put quite a few in a freezer bag. If they are dry, they shouldn’t stick together.
4. Think of what you will be putting them on or in. For example, if you slice them frozen, you can put them in hot spaghetti sauce and they will thaw extra fast.
5. Keep the seeds. Although I’ve never tried this, many people keep the seeds for the next growing season. If you are afraid they won’t grow … what are you going to lose if you try and it fails?
WARNING: WASH YOUR HANDS.
Once you’re done with the peppers, wash your hands thoroughly!