This year, we grew a few pepper plants in our Kootenay Spice gardens. Mostly sweet green peppers, with a few cayenne plants thrown into the mix.
A few weeks ago, we harvested a few dozen beauties from our plants and knew we needed to do something soon to keep them from spoiling on us. Our favourite way of keeping the bell peppers tasting fresh over the winter months is blanching and freezing them. We will share another post with you in the near future about how we processed our cayenne peppers.
Blanching is quite an easy process, most of the work is in prepping the peppers before tossing them into the water. This process is best if you intend to cook the peppers in the future. If you prefer your peppers raw, skip the blanching and go straight to the freezing step.
All you need to prep your bell peppers are:
Fresh bell peppers (as many as you would like to prep)
Large pot of boiling water
Large bowl of ice water
Pairing knife (curved if you have one)
First, use the pairing knife to carefully cut the stem off of the pepper.
Cut the pepper in half and remove the ribs and seeds. You can cut them into smaller pieces if you prefer, but remember to reduce your blanching time.
Now it is time for blanching the pepper pieces. Prepare a large bowl of cold water with about a dozen ice cubes & have it ready beside the pot. Once the water is at a rolling boil, carefully place the peppers in the water. Depending on how many peppers you are prepping, you may need to do a few batches of blanching.
Let the peppers sit in the boiling water for 4 minutes. If you chose to cut your peppers into smaller pieces, only let them sit in the water for 2-3 minutes.
Remove carefully with a strainer and immediately place in the ice water to stop the cooking process. Let them sit in the ice water for the same amount of time that they were in the boiling water.
Remove from the cold water and place in a colander and shake off any excess water.
Lay them out on a tray lined with paper towel and allow them to dry for at least an hour.
Once the pepper pieces have dried somewhat, transfer them to a cookie sheet (we’ve lined ours with parchment paper), taking care not to let the pieces touch. If they do, they will definitely freeze together. Let them freeze for 24 hours.
Once the pepper pieces are completely frozen, store them in a freezer bag and enjoy fresh, home grown peppers in your meals throughout the winter!