preserving hot peppers

wildlifeman(5b)July 30, 2008

my father has a few too many hot peppers than he can eat fresh. is there a simple way he can preserve them in the fridge or should he just bag them and freeze them ?

i've been searching here on the harvest forum and the pickling recipes and such he just won't be doing.

is it possible just to fill a jar with vinigar or such and just drop the peppers in and refridgerate ? they won't be stored for any real length of time. i'm guessing he will eat 1 or 2 a day until they are history.

thanks for any help !



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there's a few good refrigerator pickle recipies here
you can use any of 'em to pickle peppers in the fridge.

vinegar, sugar, salt, is basic.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2008 at 12:33PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

You might want to check out these instructions from Colorado State Extension to see if they'd work for you. They're a good compromise between convenience and food safety.

"Marinated Refrigerated Peppers
Remember, all pickled pepper products stored at room temperature must be processed, to avoid the risk of botulism toxin development during storage. The boiling water bath processing step can be omitted if pickles are stored in the refrigerator. Use the following procedure.

Wash peppers. Small peppers may be left whole with two small slits in each pepper. Core and cut large peppers into strips.

Sterilize jars, lids and screwbands. Pack peppers tightly into sterilized jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace.

For each 6 cups of brine, combine 5 cups vinegar, 1 cup water and 1 tablespoon pickling salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer five minutes.

Pour vinegar solution over peppers, leaving 1/8-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust headspace so that brine covers all peppers. Wipe rims.

Place sterilized flats on jars. Do not put on screwbands. Allow jars to cool. Put on screwbands and wipe jars. Refrigerate six to eight weeks for the pickled flavor to fully develop. Keep refrigerated and use within six months. This pepper product allows the peppers to marinate in a high acid solution, at a cold temperature, and in the presence of air. These conditions are not favorable for botulism toxin formation. It does not ensure against other types of spoilage."

    Bookmark   July 30, 2008 at 1:18PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

Freezing would be the easiest if he doesn't really care for them pickled.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2008 at 2:29PM
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ristau,readinglady and linda lou,

thanks all for your quick responses !

i sure did find " the basics" for simple pickling and those i'm gonna try for myself. i do find them a bit daunting being a first timer and not exactly the suzy home maker type.

i have the colorado state extension bookmarked. just found that this morning. the recipes look awful tasty.

dad is up in years and canning with hot water baths and such just isn't gonna happen. even at that i'm sure he doesn't have on hand those ingredients much less jars,lids and possibly even the proper pots. when he says he has too many to eat before they spoil, it's certainly not up in the poundage that these recipes call for. i have emailed him to try and get an idea of just how many he has.

he does like to eat peppers fresh and pickled. i researched freezing them and it appears that they become mushy when thawed so that option is probably out. i doubt he uses them to cook with at all. he may just have to eat what he can and then just basically compost the rest.


    Bookmark   July 30, 2008 at 3:49PM
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dgkritch(Z8 OR)

Just another thought to help extend the life of the fresh ones.
I was skeptical of the "green bags" you see on T.V. but finally bought some and ran my own test.
Lo, and behold, they actually work!
Pop some in those and store a little longer in the fridge.


Here is a link that might be useful: My green bag test on bananas with pics

    Bookmark   July 30, 2008 at 6:48PM
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that green bag thing is an excellent idea. glad to know it actually works.


we may have a winner for him with your recipe, i think he's gonna have a go with it. i definitly will give it a try, sounds about the easiest way to get started " canning ".

if i may ask another question or 3. when the flat is put on the hot jar , the sealing process is completed as the jar is cooling ? since it will be refridgerated is it imperitive to use the canning jar,flat and ring set-up or is it ok just to use any jar with a screw top lid if it is sterilized 1st ? to sterilize the jar, flats,rings and such do you just put it in boiling water ?

i'm kinda excited to have a go,but my peppers aren't at that "too much to eat fresh" stage yet.

thanks for your patience.

wildlifeman (aspiring canner and chief master food preserver)

    Bookmark   July 30, 2008 at 8:54PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

Might he be interested in letting some become red ripe on the plant and drying them? Or does he not have a use for dried chiles?


    Bookmark   July 30, 2008 at 9:03PM
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CA Kate

Freezing works great for future reference.

I allow many of mine to dry, then grind in the food processor for a seasoning.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2008 at 11:57PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

I won't be having your problem with peppers for a long time, if at all this season. I just discovered our local deer had come through the garden and "shaved down" every pepper plant (except the kung pao and the habanero).

To answer your question on the lids, I don't think it would be absolutely necessary to use the canning lids, but they do offer the advantage of convenient sterilization and a leakproof seal. That means the refrigerated peppers will keep better with less risk of spoilage or contamination.

Generally a hot lid on the hot jar will not effect a tight seal like canning does but you may notice the lid indents. In these instructions, though, the rings aren't put on until after the jars have cooled, so that changes things a bit.

I've included a link which explains how to sterilize jars.

Good luck. Feel free to ask any other questions that may come up.


Here is a link that might be useful: Sterilizing Jars

    Bookmark   July 31, 2008 at 2:05AM
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dads been pulling off the peppers in the hopes they keep producing even more. he will only get 1 more harvest before the 1st frost so he will let them be and use as needed. he doesnt have a use for dried chilis. as for myself i'm gonna try to dry cayennes.


i'm gonna freeze some myself if for no other reason than to experiment and see what works for me. i do cook with hot pepppers. i've never done it , but making my own seasoning is just begging for my efforts. must invest in a coffee grinder for this purpose,read on gw they work great.


sorry to hear those hooved stinkpots got most of your peppers. haven't had too much trouble myself with them. they gnawed on 2 maters that are growing back nicely, stripped every leaf off a gingergold apple and managed to get a mouthfull off a few other fruit trees that they somehow got access to.

my pepper enemies seem to have been the weather and some i planted in the ground have been ravaged by grasshoppers. one plant was eaten by a bird.

you'll prolly get a huge harvest from your kung pao and habeneros.

i'm not overburdened myself with peppers yet. hopefully, but it's just gonna depend on that 1st frost.

cayennes - got lots
super chilis - too many to count
jalapenos - i'm sure i won't have too many of : fresh, poppers,pickles,frozen for cooking. just starting to produce pods.
thai hots - just starting pods
habeneros - lots of flower pods, but only 1 or 2 blooming.
kung pao - just starting pods
hot wax - keeping me in fresh peppers for the last 2 weeks and going forward.
sweet banana - 1 ready to pick and the rest just starting.
various bells - some just setting pods thru the harvest of only 2 so far. 1 of those rascals has at least 13 pods. never saw that many bells on 1 plant before.
couple of other hot peps that are just starting to pod up.

i have about 20-25 plants in the ground,but i doubt i get much unless we have a beautiful sept. plants are small but most have blooms and a few have pods.

thanks also for the link and offer of future help. i can handle the sterilization , but it will be a month before i have more than i can use fresh.

thanks all for your help. dad has discovered the joys of cooking with hot peppers and his supply is shrinking.


    Bookmark   July 31, 2008 at 6:11PM
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The Ball Blue Book has a recipe for sweet peppers which are cut in quarters, boiled 3 minutes, drained, put in 1/2 pint jars, leaving 1 inch of head room and add 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 Tablespoon of vinegar per 1/2 pint. Ladle boiling water over peppers and process for 35 minutes at 10 pounds. They recommend no larger than pint jars. I'm going to give it a try next time I have a bunch of Anaheim peppers. 4 plants have already produced a lifetime of peppers which I've dried and frozen.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2008 at 7:32PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Another vote for clean, bag, and freeze. Easy, minimal time and effort involved, and unlimited later use options.


    Bookmark   August 1, 2008 at 9:03AM
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i like slicing them open, drying them out in the food dehydrator, then grinding them up in the coffee grinder. Easily good for a year or more. jalapeno and habenero powder is great and impossible to find in the stores.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2008 at 9:03PM
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belindach and digdirt,

being the proud new owner of a ball blue book , i believe i can use and preserve all the peppers i'm anticipating harvesting. fridge pickling and freezing will get me started in the right direction.


you got me talked into trying habeneros dried and powdered. i may also give super chilis a shot at the seasoning powders.



    Bookmark   August 5, 2008 at 8:22PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

My sweet cherry peppers this year are growing upside down! Odd, but I see all there perfect little green balls on each plant, with no stems showing on top..

    Bookmark   August 5, 2008 at 10:27PM
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