This month's notes: May 2013: The cool weather has delayed blooms and slowed growth by a couple of weeks, but don't miss strawberries: they started in most Southern areas in late April, and in late May up north. Click here for strawberry facts and picking tips, and this page for easy strawberry jam making directions. Blueberries will come in June in most areas. Of course, Florida, southern Texas, and other very warm areas are already picking both crops! See this page for hundreds of easy canning and freezing instructions/recipes, canning equipment guide! Also make your own ice cream - see How to make ice cream and ice cream making equipment and manuals. Then see each state's crop availability calendar for more specific dates of upcoming crops. Organic farms are identified in green! See our guide to local fruit and vegetable festivals!. Please tell the farms you found them here - and ask them to update their information!!
How to Freeze Peppers - Easily! With Step-by-step Photos, Directions to Freeze Peppers You Grow or Buy Fresh
How to Freeze Peppers: Sweet, Bell, Banana, Hot, Chili, Jalapeño and Other Types!
If you like frozen peppers in the winter, just imagine how good it would taste if you had picked a bag yourself and then quickly froze it at home! It is also one of the simplest ways to put up a vegetable for the winter. Here's how to do it, complete instructions in easy steps and completely illustrated. The peppers will taste MUCH better than any canned or frozen you've ever had from a store. And if you'd rather can your peppers, see this page.
Directions for Freezing peppers
- fresh peppers - any quantity. I figure one handful per serving.
- 1 Large pot of boiling water
- 2 large bowls, one filled with cold water and ice.
- 1 sharp knife
- Vacuum food sealer or "ziploc" type freezer bags (the freezer bag version is heavier and protects better against freezer burn.
Step 1 - Get yer peppers!
Start with fresh peppers - as fresh as you can get. Select crisp, tender, green or bright peppers. If there is a delay between harvesting and freezing, put it in the refrigerator or put ice on it. And don't use peppers that are old, limp, overripe or dried out (see below):
Step 2 - Wash the peppers!
I'm sure you can figure out how to rinse the peppers in plain cold or lukewarm water.
Step 3 - SLice the peppers in half, scoop out the seeds and cut into smaller pieces
Cut out stems, cut in half and remove seeds. If desired, cut into 1/2-inch strips or rings.
Of course, if your prefer Julianne cut peppers, you can cut the peppers lengthwise in thin strips instead or chop into smaller pieces.
Step 4 - Decide how you will be using them later!
This determines how you will prepare them
- If you will be using them heated (in cooking):
Then you will need to water blanch them - go on to Step 5
- If you will be using them
in uncooked foods where
you need a crisper texture, or possibly still use them in cooked foods:
SKIP TO STEP 7
Step 5 - Blanch the peppers.Get the pots ready. Get the pot of boiling water ready (about 2/3 filled) and a LARGE bowl with ice and cold water.
All fruits and vegetables contain enzymes and bacteria that, over time, break down the destroy nutrients and change the color, flavor, and texture of food during frozen storage. peppers requires a brief heat treatment, called blanching, in boiling water or steam, to destroy the enzymes before freezing. Blanch the pepper halves for 3 minutes; and strips or rings for 2 minutes. B
Then cool them promptly in a large bowl of ice water for 3 or 4 minutes. Drain and package, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Seal and freeze.
The duration is intended to be just long enough to stop the action of the enzymes and kill the bacteria.
Begin counting the blanching time as soon as you place the peppers in the boiling water. Cover the kettle and boil at a high temperature for the required length of time. You may use the same blanching water several times (up to 5). Be sure to add more hot water from the tap from time to time to keep the water level at the required height.
Step 6 - Cool the peppers
Cool peppers immediately in ice water. Drain the peppers thoroughly.
After vegetables are blanched, cool them quickly to prevent overcooking. Plunge the peppers into a large quantity of ice-cold water (I keep adding more ice to it). A good rule of thumb: Cool for the same amount of time as the blanch step. For instance, if you blanch sweet peppers for 7 minutes, then cool in ice water for 7 minutes.
Step 7 - Bag the peppers
I love the FoodSavers (see this page for more information) with their vacuum sealing! I am not paid by them, but these things really work. If you don't have one, ziploc bags work, too, but it is hard to get as much air out of the bags. remove the air to prevent drying and freezer burn. TIP: If you don't own a vacuum food sealer to freeze foods, place food in a Ziploc bags, zip the top shut but leave enough space to insert the tip of a soda straw. When straw is in place, remove air by sucking the air out. To remove straw, press straw closed where inserted and finish pressing the bag closed as you remove straw.
Step 8 - Done!
Pop them into the freezer, on the quick freeze shelf, if you have one!
- Harvest the peppers at its peak maturity but not old - mushy! Younger is better than older
- Process promptly after harvesting, or keep cooled in the fridge or with ice until then.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How long can they be frozen?
It depends upon how cold is your freezer and how you packed them. Colder (deep freezes) are better than frost free compartments, which actually cycle above freezing (that's how they melt the ice). Vacuum packing results in longer storage capability, too. Thicker bags also help prevent freezer burn.
In general, up to 9 months in a ziploc bag in an ordinary freezer, and 14 months in a deep freeze in a vacuum packed bag. After that, they peppers won't make you sick; they just won't taste a s good.
Don't forget the Ball Blue Book!
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Lids, Rings, Jars, mixes, pectin, etc.
Need lids, rings and replacement jars? Or pectin to make jam, spaghetti sauce or salsa mix or pickle mixes? Get them all here, and usually at lower prices than your local store!
[General picking tips and a guide to each fruit and vegetable] [How much do I need to pick? (Yields - how much raw makes how much cooked or frozen)] [Selecting the right varieties to pick] [All about apple varieties - which to pick and why!] [Picking tips for Vegetables] [ Strawberry picking tips] [ Blueberries picking tips]
Illustrated Canning, Freezing, Jam Instructions and Recipes
[ All About Home Canning, Freezing and Making Jams, Pickles, Sauces, etc. ] [FAQs - Answers to common questions and problems] [Recommended books about home canning, jam making, drying and preserving!] [Free canning publications to download and print]