Freeze peppers – both hot and sweet – easily to use in recipes all winter long. Freezing peppers is a quick way to preserve your in-season produce.
I love having all types of frozen, diced peppers available in the winter to use in soups, stews, casseroles and other recipes. It’s a big savings to freeze peppers when they are in season instead of buying them out of season when they are more expensive.
And frozen hot peppers like mild anahiem and ancho work great in recipes that require those little (expensive) cans of green chilies. It’s true that they aren’t roasted (though you can roast them and then freeze them – I just never have time for that when all the peppers are ripening at once!), but we don’t really notice a difference, probably because most of the recipes are further cooked with other ingredients so that the chilies are only for flavor. And these deliver on the flavor!
It doesn’t matter if the peppers you have are hot peppers like Jalapeños and Anaheims, or sweet, ripe peppers in a range of colors from yellow to red, the process to freeze and preserve them is the same.
On a side note: did you know that green “sweet” peppers (which are actually bitter, not sweet) are simply unripe colored peppers? All peppers start out green and then ripen to a color as they mature, mostly red (even hot peppers do this, we just usually eat them green), but some to orange, yellow, or even unusual colors like brown and purple. Which is why letting green, bitter, and immature sweet peppers ripen fully to a color makes them truly sweet. It’s the only way we eat sweet peppers in our house!
How to Freeze Peppers
1. Wash the peppers well.
2. Stem, core, and chop them up (don’t forget the gloves when working with hot peppers!).
3. Spread them out on a cookie sheet in an even layer, place it in the freezer and freeze until firm, 12-24 hours.
4. When the peppers are frozen, use a spoon or spatula to break them up and place the them in freezer containers or baggies (use the straw method to remove as much air as possible from baggies). Label with the contents and the date and put them in the freezer.
By freezing the peppers flat on a sheet first before packaging, you will have a sort of home version of ‘flash frozen’ so you will be able to pull out just the amount you need easily without them clumping together. When a recipe calls for a can of mild, green chilis, I just pull out 1/3 cup of frozen Anaheim chili peppers and easily add them.
I couldn’t believe how easy it was to freeze peppers when I first tried it years ago to deal with a huge harvest of peppers – now I make sure to grow enough to preserve some by freezing each year!
I also preserve peppers in salsas, pickles, and more – check them out below if you’re looking for more pepper recipes: