Can You Freeze Bell Peppers?
Have you ever come home with a sleeve of bell peppers only to realize that you only need one for your recipe? Whole bell peppers can last at least five days in the refrigerator, but sometimes even that's not enough time to figure out what to do with the extras. Does that mean those bell peppers are destined to become compost? They don't need to be! We're here to tell you that you can freeze your bell peppers instead of letting them go to waste. Here's everything you need to know.
Do Bell Peppers Freeze Well?
Yes! Unlike some produce, bell peppers don't need to be blanched first before freezing. They simply need to be washed, cut and then frozen (more on that below). Although they'll retain most of their flavor after being frozen, bell peppers will lose some of their crispy texture when thawed. This means that frozen peppers are best used in cooked dishes.
Benefits of Freezing Bell Peppers
There are many benefits to freezing bell peppers. The first is that it's a great way to extend their shelf life, especially when they're in season. Although bell peppers are available year-round, their peak season lasts from midsummer to autumn. This is when they'll taste their best and also cost the least. Freezing bell peppers during this time will not only preserve them at their finest, but will also save you money in the long run.
Freezing bell peppers can also help you prevent food waste. If you accidentally bought more bell peppers than you need, freezing is a great way to keep them until you need them.
Finally, freezing bell peppers can also be used as a way to meal prep. Bell peppers can be frozen whole or cut. They can then be quickly added to a recipe without thawing, which can be a great time saver for people with busy schedules.
How to Properly Freeze Bell Peppers
So now that we've given you the reasons why you should freeze bell peppers, here's how to do it.
- Choose bell peppers that are smooth, shiny and vivid in color. They should be firm and feel heavy for their size. Avoid ones that are wrinkled, soft or blemished.
- Wash your bell peppers well under cold water. If they came with any produce stickers attached, make sure to remove them.
- Using a paper towel or clean kitchen towel, dry the peppers. This will help prevent freezer burn.
- Prepare the peppers by removing the core, stem and seeds. Then cut them into the shape and size that you want. If you want to freeze them whole (like if you're planning to stuff them), the core and seeds should be removed, so you'll need to slice the tops off.
- Place the bell pepper pieces on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Lay them out in a single layer. Freeze them for at least an hour and then transfer to an airtight bag or container. If freezing whole, wrap each bell pepper individually in plastic wrap and then place in the freezer. Once frozen, transfer the whole bell peppers into an airtight bag or container.
How Long Can I Freeze Bell Peppers?
Frozen bell peppers will last for more than a year, but for the best quality use them within six months of freezing. Doing so will guarantee that your bell peppers taste their best.
Uses for Frozen Bell Peppers
Bell peppers that have been frozen work great in cooked dishes. They can be used as a direct substitute for fresh bell peppers in those recipes and don't need to be thawed before using. Just make sure to add a few extra minutes of cooking time. Bell peppers that were frozen whole are best used in stuffed pepper recipes that require baking.
Previously frozen bell peppers don't have the same crispness after being thawed, so try to avoid using them in uncooked dishes such as salads or crudité platters.
Bell peppers are a great vegetable to freeze and can be frozen whole or cut. They won't be as crispy once thawed, so use them in cooked dishes such as Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers or Muffin-Tin Omelets with Feta and Peppers. If you happen to have some shrimp on hand, these Sheet-Pan Shrimp Fajitas are a perfect quick-and-easy dinner.
Related: 8 Foods You Should Never Freeze