Preserving and storing your peppers can be a bit of a task especially when you want them to be as good as when you got them from your vegetable garden. Should you process peppers? It has been done before anyway, but the only problem is that processing any vegetable leads to a loss of nutrients and the taste quality is somehow lost. Keeping your green peppers fresh is not that hard, in fact, we are going to teach you how to ensure that your peppers maintain their flavor, nutrients and that fresh aroma for the longest time.
While some would swear by their processed peppers, there is a better way to preserve them, by simply blanching and then freezing them.
But first, what are the health benefits of peppers?
- They are packed with healthy antioxidants.
- They contain Vitamins A, C, B6 and Vitamin K in plenty.
- You would get beta-carotene, folate and fiber from eating foods that contain pepper. Some sources stand by the fact that peppers are great for the body's metabolism, thus facilitating weight loss.
Blanching and freezing to preserve peppers
It is important to note that blanching peppers is only necessary if you plan to use them for cooking. For use in uncooked foods, its better if you just skipped blanching to freezing directly. Here is how to go about it:
1. Take your very crisp, tender and fresh peppers from the garden to prepare for freezing.
2. Wash them, or simply rinse in clean water.
3. Cut the peppers or carefully slice them, then scoop out the seeds.
4. Blanch your peppers.
The importance of blanching peppers is so that you can destroy the enzymes and bacteria that breakdown the peppers, encouraging a change in flavor, color or taste over a period of time while in storage. Blanching involves putting your peppers into a pot of boiling water for about 2 minutes.
Quickly transfer the hot peppers in to a bowl of ice water. Leave them for about two minutes to cool off, then carefully drain and put the ready peppers into your freezer bags. Seal completely, ensuring that no air is trapped in as this encourages freezer burns.
The blanching water could be reused for more peppers, just ensure that the pot is always 3/4 filled.
5. Pop the carefully sealed bags into the freezer. Your peppers will be as fresh as you had harvested them! When you pour out peppers for use, just reseal the bag as carefully as before.
Note that the peppers that are intended for use in uncooked meals should just be washed and bagged immediately, ready for freezing. Remember to harvest when the peppers have matured as they would be at their 'nutrient peak'. Waiting too long may give you hardened vegetables that do not quite have the best flavor. Also, do not freeze peppers for too long. They would maintain their freshness for about three months and although you may use them long after this, in fact up to 14 months if they were deeply frozen, you may no longer enjoy the savory pepper taste! Not that they would be harmful or anything, you just won't get the quality you would expect from freshly picked peppers.
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