Freezing Bell or Sweet Peppers

Selecting High-Quality Bell & Sweet Peppers:

Select crisp, thick-fleshed peppers that are free from blemishes and have a bright color. Pick home grown peppers when they have fully matured.

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Preparing for Freezing:

Wash peppers and remove the stems and seeds. Cut into halves, 1/2 inch strips or rings or mince them depending on later use.

Blanching Time:

For a crisper texture, peppers that will be used in uncooked foods can be frozen without being blanched beforehand. For peppers that will be heated, water-blanch halves for 3 minutes and strips or rings 2 minutes.

Best Freezing Method(s):

Boilable Bags:

Place desired amounts into boiling bags, add desired seasoning, press out air and seal. Blanch bags of pepper halves for 3 minutes and strips or rings for 2 minutes. Cool bags in ice water, pat dry and freeze. Peppers can also be frozen in boilable bags without blanching. Leave 1/2 inch of headspace.

Tray Packs:

Clean and prepare peppers but do not blanch them. Lay whole or half peppers in a single layer on cookie sheets and place them in the freezer. When fully frozen (12 to 24 hours), portion them into suitable containers and freeze. Leave 1/2 inch of headspace.

Dry Packs:

Blanched or unblanched peppers can be transferred directly into suitable containers for freezing. Leave 1/2 inch of headspace.

Suitable Packaging:

Freezer containers should be moisture and vapor resistant and should not be prone to cracking or breaking at low temperatures. Containers should provide protection against absorbing flavors or odors and should be easy to label. Freeze peppers in rigid containers made from plastic or glass, or in freezer-grade plastic bags or heavy-duty aluminum foil.

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Maximum Storage Time:

10 to 12 months at 0ºF.

Thawing:

Sliced or diced sweet and bell peppers lose their crispness when frozen, however they can still be used for cooking. Add them to dishes directly from the freezer without thawing.

Tips & Shortcuts:

Raw peppers (unblanched) can be packaged and frozen without leaving any headspace. Tray packs using whole or half peppers are quick and easy and allow you to stuff, slice, dice or ground peppers as you need them.

Refrigerating Bell or Sweet Peppers:

Do not wash peppers until you use them. Wrap them in paper towels for storage in the refrigerator-do not put them in perforated plastic bags. Peppers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

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