Food Gardening Network

Growing Good Food at Home

Storing and Preserving your Bell Peppers

Frozen bell peppers in plastic bag

Frozen bell peppers in plastic bag

So, you’ve picked plenty of peppers and you have more than you can eat in a week. Time to put together a preservation plan.

Freezing

Freezing is one of the quickest and easiest ways to prepare your peppers for storage. Put them in small bags so you only defrost what you need.

  1. Choose crisp, tender peppers. Wash them, remove stems, pith and seeds, and slice, dice, or chop as you prefer.
  2. Blanch in boiling water: three minutes for halves; two minutes for strips, rings, or dices.
  3. Cool, drain, and pack in airtight bags, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Store flat in the freezer.

Option: For crisper texture when you defrost your peppers, pack them up raw and seal in bags with no headspace. Store flat in the freezer.

If you have a vacuum food sealer, use it to prevent freezer burn and extend the storage life of your bell pepper crop.

Quick Pickling

Quick pickling, or refrigerator pickling, is an easy way to save some of your pepper harvest for later. This method does not require special canning equipment or skill. All you need is a pot to make the brine and jars to store your peppers. See our Quick Pickled Bell Peppers recipe in the Recipe section.

Canning

Canning is a time-honored preservation method—and one you should only pursue if you have the right equipment. You must be careful to follow all canning directions to the letter in order to avoid botulism in your canned goods. We have a post in Food Gardening Daily that provides 10 rules to live by for pressure canning safety.

Dehydration

You can also dehydrate your harvested bell peppers. Slice your bell peppers evenly and spread them out in a food dehydrator for about eight hours, or on parchment-lined baking sheets for four to 10 hours at your oven’s lowest setting.

Store in an airtight jar out of the light.

If you use the oven-drying method, check the jar daily for a week to ensure that all your pepper pieces were fully dried; any moisture left behind can support mold. Just give the jar a shake and check for any moisture on the wall of the jar or on the pepper pieces. If you spot any mold, toss out the batch and try again.

How frequently do you harvest your bell peppers? Please tell us what you look for when getting ready to harvest, and how you preserve your harvest.

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