Preserve Your Peppers with Blanching and Freezing
In the summer when the peppers are ripening daily and you have a bevy of fresh produce; it is wonderful to be able to get the fabulous fresh flavors in your food easily. When it is the dead of winter, it can be just as nice to taste that same fresh flavor by grabbing a container of prepared peppers out of your freezer.
According to Wikipedia, Blanching is a process where a vegetable or fruit is plunged into boiling water, removed after a brief, timed interval, and finally plunged into iced water or placed under cold running water (shocked) to halt the cooking process. The purpose of blanching for this purpose is to lock in the ripened flavor of the season and then freeze your fruit or veggie for use at a later time.
Using this process to preserve some of your peppers is easy to learn. Here’s how to do it.
When selecting peppers to blanch, you always want to use mature peppers that have no blemishes or damage. Wash them thoroughly under cool running water to remove dirt and debris. Once you have washed them, remove their stems, seeds and membranes. You can cut your peppers in half, into thirds or even into quarters.
How to Blanch Peppers:
Add water to a large cooking pot and bring it up to a boil over high heat. While your water is coming up to temperature, fill a large bowl with ice cold water. Toss your pepper pieces into the boiling water and cover the pot. You will want to boil the peppers for 30 seconds to 1 minute depending on the sizes and quantity that you have in the pot. Once they are done blanching, pour them into a colander to strain out all of the water and then pour them into the bowl of ice cold water, covering them completely with the water. Let them sit in the water for 3 minutes and then drain the water away.
How to Freeze your Peppers:
Once your peppers are done with the blanching process, it is time to freeze them. We find it best to freeze them in 1 cup, 2 cup and 3 cup portions, depending on your family size and cooking needs. You can freeze them in zipper closure freezer bags or freeze-safe plastic containers. If properly frozen, your peppers will last 6 to 9 months.
Now when you want to cook with fresh peppers from the garden for your favorite meal after harvest, you can enjoy them anytime by blanching and freezing them. Delicious!
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