Your favorite way to preserve peppers

annew21 (zone 7b NC)(7b NC)August 19, 2014

What is your favorite way to preserve peppers, sweet or hot? I have a mixture of hot and sweet peppers in my garden, and I am going to have an overflow at the end of the season. I'm looking for ideas.


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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Cut into halves or big chunks, remove seeds, freeze on a cookie sheet, dump in a zip lock bag. Easy and fast and usefull for most anything and they keep for years.


    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 9:15PM
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I do what Dave does, except I dice my sweet peppers, then freeze on a cookie sheet, then dump in a ziplock bag. I prefer small pieces of pepper in my stews and soups. :)

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 9:21PM
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Sorry for the potentially silly question, but is there a reason you freeze them on a cookie sheet first and then pack them in a bag frozen, rather than just putting them in a bag first and then freezing them?


    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 12:10AM
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Spreading out on a cookie sheet allows for the ice crystals to form around the diced pepper. This lends to "separate" pieces frozen in the baggie. When you just dump a bunch of diced veggies in the bag they will freeze in blocks instead of bits and pieces.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 12:16AM
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Makes sense. I would assume dicing and then freezing rather than freezing whole is just personal preference? Or is there a reason dicing and freezing is better? Thx.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 1:27AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

It just depends on how you want to use them. Takes less time to freeze them whole or in chunks and dice them if needed at use time. If all you use them for is diced then freeze them diced.

We use pepper chunks in cooking more than diced so that is how we freeze them and then just chop up the chunks if we need diced ones. Plus I don't like leaving the stems on or all the seeds in them so I don't freeze them whole and do it before freezing. Others leave them.

Your choice. It all works.


    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 10:50AM
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It's mostly personal preference. I freeze some whole (usually anaheims or anchos) for chile rellanos or stuffed peppers; the rest in strips for stir-frys, then I can always cut them smaller for other recipes. I try to preserve for the "recipe", so to speak.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 10:50AM
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annew21 (zone 7b NC)(7b NC)

Thanks for the ideas/info!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 10:55PM
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lpinkmountain(5b/6a border PA)

I mix them, pickle them in small jars of mixed colors and flavors, then give as gifts. Has always been popular. Don't have my recipe here but you can find them online. I know it has a clove of garlic and maybe some mustard seeds . . . anyway any type of safe brine pickling mix will work.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 11:42AM
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I also pickle mine, sometimes just refridgerator style in half gallons. Otherwise, I do several pints of pepper relish. The mix of peppers makes each batch unique.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2014 at 11:20PM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

I do as others have said. I dice sweet peppers for the most part, but I usually have a gallon of frozen slices for times I want peppers and onions. Once the peppers are frozen it is very difficult to cut them with a knife and I hate handling the icy bits then too. I try to think ahead and anticipate how I want them.

One thing that wasn't mentioned is making pepper vinegar. It is simple and very delicious on the greens I grow in the winter.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 5:32PM
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I slice or dice sweet peppers and freeze or however they should be cut for recipes. Thawed peppers are way too hard to cut, especially to dice. I also dice enough green chilies to use in soup and chili recipes.

I candied jalapenos for the first time. I won't eat them, and dh thought they were good enough to eat once in awhile. I don't know if that endorsement is good enough for me to make it worth doing again though.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 5:39PM
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I was looking through some old backup hard drives today and came across two recipes that I forgot about and haven't made in quite a while. Both good. The comments are all from the original poster.

Shirley's Red Pepper Jam

This is my favorite Pepper Jam recipe.

12 Sweet red peppers [you may add a few red jalapenos for heat]
1 Tbls. canning salt
2 cups white vinegar
3 cups sugar

Remove seeds from peppers and put through food processor. Don't over process. Place in bowl and sprinkle with salt. Let stand 2 hours. Drain.
Place in stainless steel clad bottomed cook-pot. Add sugar and vinegar. Cook slowly and stir until consistency of jam. This may take 1/2 hr. to 45 min. Seal in sterile jars. Process 10 min in HWB.
Yield: 6 or 7 half pints.

Great with creme cheese and Ritz crackers.

And a knockoff of Harry and David's Pepper and Onion Relish (I think this was Shirley's recipe, too, but the file is dated 2008, so my memory may be faulty and before I started noting who posted the recipe):

My last batch today is the last try at my H&D pepper, onion relish taste alike. I've made 4 batches of this already this season and I think I have got it about where I want it. If anyone is interested or even gives a dang, here is my recipe.
I used my Cuisinart to chop all the peppers. Tomatoes were peeled, seeded and diced very small. The onion was diced using the Julienne blade of my V-slicer.

12 med Red bell peppers
10 jalapenos
5 assorted green, yellow or red hot peppers
5 large plum tomatoes
1 large onion. Any kind will do.
2 cups white vinegar
3 cups granulated sugar

Remove seeds and white membrane from red peppers
Remove HALF the seeds from the jalapenos
Remove half the seeds from the other hots.
Chop peppers in food processor
Place in bowl with prepared tomatoes and onion. Sprinkle with 1 Tbls. canning salt. Let stand about 1 hour.
Drain off liquid. I use my quart capacity strainer with a handle. The holes are smaller than my colander. You don't want any of the small pepper pieces falling through.

Place peppers, onions and tomatoes in cooking pot and add sugar and vinegar. Cook over medium heat until thick as you like. Usually 30 or 45 minutes is plenty. You can almost tell by the texture.
Ladle into jam jars and seal.
Process 20 minutes in Hot water bath.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 6:22PM
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I cut and freeze the bell peppers for use during the winter.

The spicy ones (cayenne) I dry then pulse in a food processor to make my own chili flakes or powder. I do this with some sweeter chiles or peppers too.

Be careful with this. I dry the peppers in the garage (they release the capsassium and burn our eyes, etc) and when I'm getting them out of the food processor I'm careful not to breath in any pepper "dust."

Good luck and enjoy!

    Bookmark   August 28, 2014 at 11:14AM
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CA Kate

I've posted this before, but in keeping with the questions subject I'll post the recipe for this hot sauce again. It calls for Jalepinos but you can use any kind - or a combination of whatever is growing in your garden. The last I made was a half recipe using Habaneros with a few red Jalepinos, it is the prettiest orange color and tastes hot-wonderful.

This recipe is originally from Lee Fanucchi, a Fresno County Master Gardener.

Red Devil Sauce

1 pound Jalepino Peppers ( or any pepper you have )
1 cup Cider Vinegar
2 Tablspoons Kosher Salt
2-3 cloves of Garlic

Place all in a blender jar and purée. Pour into a glass jar and store in the refrigerator.

It will last up to two years.

You can use any color of peppers, but I've found that using all the same color looks prettier.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2014 at 11:48AM
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I've made Westelle's recipe many times, but I got it from a jar of Chinese chili paste, which only listed the ingredients, and I winged it. I use a combination of jalapeno and Serrano chilies and remove all of the seeds, to make it a bit milder, and I only use red ones.

I have a lot of Habanero chilies in my yard, and to preserve them, I grill them over mesquite wood with some sweet bell peppers (to make it a bit less hot), and then store them covered for a couple of hours, to allow them to steam. Then I put them through a food mill (while wearing a swim mask and snorkel to avoid breathing fumes) to remove the skins and seeds. I store the puree with white Balsamic vinegar and salt, and it seems to keep for several months in the refrigerator. I like the smokey flavor from the mesquite.


    Bookmark   August 28, 2014 at 12:03PM
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Thanks for posting that H&D's knock off malna! I had dug it up last summer but had weird symbols for the fractions. I do want to try that, though at the time I was looking for a savory tomato jam to use as a sandwich spread when we don't have ripe tomatoes (most of the year).

I did freeze some pepper pieces last year to use in pepper jelly (which I haven't made) this year. But a lot of them (pre-measured - grrr!) got used for something else. Our season is too short to get many ripe peppers.

I've got cases of pickled peppers in the basement, so won't do any more. But I have dried them (chiles only) before, so I have bags full that DH stripped off the plants I had hanging up. I should put those in jars with a dessicant (or just seal with Foodsaver?) before they start molding. Though I think they're thoroughly dry, I don't like storing them in ziploc bags.

I just picked a few today - sweet banana and I don't know what planted from minisweet grocery store seed. Not mini, not really sweet, but not hot. A 7 inch pepper gave me 3/4C chopped. I might freeze some of these for chile rellenos.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2014 at 12:18PM
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The only way we get ripe (meaning red) peppers is to plant them in containers. I just picked about a dozen red ripe Gypsy (sweet) peppers - off of 6 plants with lots more orange ready to turn, and my poblanos are starting to turn.

We've already canned 6 pints of pepperoncinis - those were green, but we needed to take some pressure off the plants. We only have two plants, and they are going gangbusters, even with this weird cool (dare I say cold? I'm still wearing a jacket in the morning), dry summer.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2014 at 12:45PM
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It's been dry there? Aside from the past 2 weeks (last monsoon was 2 weeks ago yesterday, last night was just a very brief downpour) it's been pretty wet here.

I'm hoping with a new high tunnel I can get tomatoes and peppers in earlier and harvested earlier next year.

I've got ripe tomatoes, after the relish today/tomorrow I may start making salsa. But I just picked about 8 lbs of green beans, so may have to blanch and freeze those soon - otherwise make a trip to the food pantry tomorrow! I've got a farm stand in the garage, but we're 1/2 mile off the state highway, in a cul de sac, with a 700ft driveway so I don't get a lot of drive-by traffic ;-(

    Bookmark   August 28, 2014 at 1:52PM
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Yeah, crazy dry. To the north, south, east and west of us, there has been 4-9+ inches of rain since July 4th. We got 1/2 an inch in seven weeks. As if Mother Nature had a big umbrella right over my garden. One day, our friend (four miles away, mind you) got 1-1/2 inches. We literally got four drops. Lake level is down about 6 to 6-1/2 feet from August normal, meaning our well is also down considerably. Just trying to save the producing plants that really need water.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2014 at 2:04PM
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I was in the same boat (high and dry) in 2012. Our well only replenishes 1.5 gal/min so potatoes got pulled as new potatoes and I watered everything else bare minimum. Hope you get some rain soon (even though it might spoil your holiday weekend). At least peppers don't want/need that much water.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2014 at 2:20PM
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DH and I were just up at the garden doling out water to the needy, and we started reminiscing about the "anniversary". Three years ago today, Hurricane Irene arrived. We had more water than we knew what to do with.

This was three weeks after the hurricane. You can't discern our driveway or yard off to the right because it was still flooded, and, yes, we had fish in the basement. Note to Mother Nature: Could I have a just a LITTLE BIT of that water back? In its proper place, please? And, yes, I have never seen met so many idiots as I did in that month. Kids kept stealing the "Road Closed" signs, so we had to make our own.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2014 at 4:51PM
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