Bell peppers are a versatile and healthy addition to any meal, but sometimes you may find yourself with more than you can use at once, and proper storage becomes essential.
Understanding how to store peppers effectively can not only help reduce food waste but also maintain their freshness and flavor.
In this article, we will guide you on the best ways to store your bell peppers, ensuring that you can make the most of these nutritious, flavorful gems.
Storing Peppers in the Refrigerator
Using Plastic Bags
To store peppers in the refrigerator, place them unwashed in a produce bag or plastic bag with small holes for airflow. Add a paper towel inside the bag to absorb any excess moisture, keeping the peppers firm and preventing rot.
Seal the bag partially, allowing some air circulation. Replace the paper towel as needed if it becomes damp.
Placing in the Crisper Drawer
Alternatively, you can store your peppers in the refrigerator’s crisper drawer. The crisper drawer is designed to maintain the ideal humidity levels for fruits and vegetables.
Adjust the humidity settings according to your refrigerator’s instructions, keeping the peppers in a drawer with slightly lower humidity, as excessive moisture can cause them to rot.
Ensure your peppers are stored away from fruits that release ethylene gas, as this can accelerate ripening and lead to spoilage.
Regularly check the peppers and remove any that show signs of rot to prevent them from spreading to other peppers.
Storing cut peppers
When it comes to storing cut peppers, it’s best to place them in an airtight container or resealable bag and refrigerate them.
They should be consumed within a week for the best quality and freshness. Always keep them away from moisture to prevent spoilage and maintain their crisp texture.
Olive oil is used when cooking so many meals, learn how to store olive oil so that it can last you a while.
1. Preparing Peppers for Freezing
Before you start freezing your peppers, make sure you wash and pat them dry. Remove seeds from inside the peppers, and then proceed to chop, slice, or prep them according to your preference. If you want to store whole peppers, just wash and dry them thoroughly.
I have a few tips for you on how to cut a bell peppers which you can follow for any variety of pepper to achieve nicely cut peppers.
2. Freezing peppers
Flash-freeze your peppers by placing them on a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Place your prepared peppers on the baking sheet, making sure they aren’t too clumped up.
Then, position the tray in the freezer and freeze for 3 hours. This method helps keep individual pieces from sticking together when stored. Learn more in my post that goes over the steps of how to freeze bell peppers.
Storing frozen peppers
Once your peppers are flash-frozen, transfer them to airtight freezer bags. Press out any excess air before sealing the bags. Label the bags with the date and type of peppers for easy identification.
Alternatively, you can place your chopped or sliced peppers in an airtight container. This method is suitable if you don’t have freezer bags or prefer a more rigid storage option.
Remember, when freezing peppers, there’s no need to blanch them beforehand, making the process quick and easy. Enjoy your frozen peppers in stir-fries, soups, and other meals throughout the winter!
Drying and Dehydrating Peppers
Using an Oven for Drying Peppers
To dry chili peppers in an oven, first, remove the stems and seeds. Then, arrange the peppers on a baking sheet, ensuring they don’t overlap.
Set your oven to its lowest temperature setting and place the sheet inside. Keep the oven door slightly ajar to allow moisture to escape.
It may take 4-8 hours for the peppers to dry completely, depending on their size and moisture content.
Dehydrating Peppers with a Dehydrator
A dehydrator is an excellent tool for dehydrating peppers. Begin by removing the seeds and stems from your chili peppers.
Place the peppers on the dehydrator trays, making sure they don’t touch each other. Set the dehydrator to its recommended temperature for peppers, usually around 125°F-135°F (52°C-57°C).
The dehydration process may take 8-12 hours, depending on the humidity level and the thickness of the peppers.
Keep in mind that dehydrated peppers should be stored in a dry place, preferably in an airtight container, to retain their flavor and leathery texture.
This will ensure that they soften completely when rehydrated and can be easily used in your favorite recipes.
Storing Dried Peppers
Dried peppers are incredibly versatile and are easy to store. To keep them fresh, simply place them in an airtight container and keep the container in a cool, dark, and dry location, like your pantry.
You want to prevent them from absorbing any moisture, as this can reduce their shelf life and impact their flavor.
Long-Term Storage of Peppers
When it comes to the long-term storage of peppers, there are two excellent options: canning and pressure canning.
Canning is a time-honored method of storing peppers. Start by washing your peppers, then slice or chop them as desired.
Pack them into sterilized jars, add boiling vinegar brine to cover the peppers, then seal the jars. Process the jars in a water bath canner to ensure they’re safe for long-term storage.
Pressure Canning Peppers
For low-acid foods like peppers, pressure canning is a safer method. This method requires a pressure canner, as it reaches higher temperatures than a water bath canner, killing any potential bacteria. Follow your pressure canner’s instructions for safety and success.
Common Issues with Storing Peppers
Mold and Moisture
If peppers aren’t dried properly or are stored in damp conditions, they can develop mold. Prevent this by ensuring your peppers are thoroughly dried and stored in a dry location.
Spoiling and Rotting
Spoiling and rotting are common issues with fresh peppers. Always check for signs of spoilage, such as a sour smell, a slimy texture, or a change in color, before using your peppers.
Wrinkles and Black Spots
Wrinkles and black spots on peppers indicate that they’re past their prime. Peppers with a few wrinkles are safe to eat but might not be as crisp. Discard peppers with black spots, as they’re beginning to rot.
All peppers are alike in the signs of ripeness or if they have spoiled. Check out my post on how to tell bell peppers are bad and use those tips for any variety of peppers.
When it comes to storing peppers, proper storage techniques are key to preserving their freshness. For more information on storing different types of vegetables, including peppers, you can refer to our comprehensive guide on how to store vegetables.
It provides valuable tips on temperature, humidity, and ethylene sensitivity to help you keep your peppers and other vegetables fresh and flavorful.
Frequently asked questions about how to store peppers
Storing peppers doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With these simple tips and methods, you can ensure that you have a steady supply of these vibrant, flavor-packed vegetables all year round.