So you’ve had a prosperous growing season and a bountiful harvest of peppers. If your season was anything like ours, you have more peppers than you know what to do with. Sure, you can make sauces, salsa, jams, and more, but what do you do with the peppers you have left over? I’ve put together a list of the best ways to preserve peppers and help you save your heat for a rainy day.
The Good Ol’ Refrigerator
Like most fruits and vegetables, peppers will keep well in a fridge, but only for a limited time. They are just as susceptible to spoilage as the other greens in there. Peppers should be kept at around 40 ̊F to 45 ̊F and will keep for about a week.
Pickling peppers is probably one of the most popular methods to preserving your harvest. It’s a great way to diversify the flavor profile of your harvest and to store peppers for months to come. Be creative when pickling your peppers. Adding in different types of peppers and different vinegars will yield different results and flavors. You can also add different spices and garlic to create an awesome infusion of flavor.
Below are some links to our favorite pickling recipes, and remember, there are a ton of other recipes out there on the web.
Peppers freeze well. Whether thick or thin skinned, freezing peppers is a great option if you are saving them to make sauces or salsa later, as they will lose most of their crunch. While vacuum sealed bags are the preferred container, you can get away with using any kind of freezer ready Ziploc bag. I currently have three gallon bags of peppers in the freezer awaiting a couple new batches of hot sauce.
To prep your peppers for the freezer, simply wash them well in cool water, pat them dry, place in a freezer ready bag, then throw them in the freezer. Some people like to blanch their peppers though it is not necessary (unlike most vegetables). Others like to slice and core their peppers before freezing them, but you will lose a lot of your heat that way.
When you use your frozen peppers, you really won’t need to thaw them first. They are easily cut and diced in their frozen state and most will thaw rather fast as you are prepping them. Check out the links below for a couple different ways to freeze your peppers:
You can air dry, sun dry, smoke, or dehydrate peppers very easily at home. This is a popular method for storage and a great way to expand on the flavor of your harvest. A pepper’s heat level is intensified greatly with dehydration, as well as some flavors and natural sugars.
The easiest methods for drying your peppers will be to use a dehydrator if you have one, or to use your oven. If you have a smoker, try letting your peppers bask in a sauna of hickory wood chips before dehydrating to add an amazing level of smokey flavor that pairs well with the pepper flavor and heat.
If attempting to sun dry or air dry your peppers, be sure you follow the recipes closely as your peppers can spoil fairly easily if not properly tended too.
Here you will find some great recipes to drying your favorite peppers:
- The Ultimate Guide To Drying Peppers
- Sublime Sun Dried Chilis
- Air Drying Chili Peppers
- How To Smoke Habanero Peppers
Now Get To Saving Your Harvest
I hope this post gives you some ideas on how to save your fiery bounty from the elements. Whether you are drying, pickling, or freezing, your peppers will keep well and provide you with plenty of heat for a while to come.
Have you tried any of these methods or do you have your own recipe to share? Leave us a comment below!
Editors Note: Be sure to follow recipes and practice safe food handling. In a report by the University of California’s agriculture department, improperly stored peppers have caused botulism. Also, be careful when handling hot peppers of course. In case you didn’t know, they burn!