Suppose you harvested many bell peppers—or found them at incredible prices at the farmers’ market—and want to try and keep them fresh and crispy for longer. At room temperature, bell peppers only last for 3 to 7 days. So, if you need to keep them for longer, you’ll need an alternative. Can you freeze bell peppers?
You can freeze bell peppers for 10 to 12 months if they’re consistently frozen at 0°F (-17.78°C). Temperature changes cause bell peppers to soften and discolor. Wash the pepper, and remove the seeds and membrane. Chop or slice them, and flash freeze them before packing them in freezer bags.
Bell peppers don’t need blanching before freezing. However, you should take precautions to ensure they remain fresh. I’ll discuss what you need to do when freezing bell peppers and the process to follow, so keep reading.
Do Bell Peppers Freeze Well?
Vegetables are quite sensitive, and you need to ensure they stay fresh when frozen. Some vegetables cannot be frozen raw, while others, like bell peppers, don’t need to be blanched (partially cooked) before freezing.
Bell peppers freeze well and can last up to a year or longer if they are fresh and firm. Remove the seeds because they absorb moisture and cause the bell peppers to become mushy. Slice or dice them, flash freeze them, and pack them in airtight bags.
Fresh bell peppers freeze well if you maintain a constant freezing temperature. Avoid removing the packages of frozen bell peppers from the freezer and putting them back in again because it will interfere with the temperature, causing the peppers to go bad quickly.
How To Freeze Bell Peppers
If bell peppers are in season or you find them at reduced prices, you may choose to get several or more to save money and time. Fortunately, you can freeze bell peppers for months. However, you need to do it right. Otherwise, like other vegetables, bell peppers can go bad even when frozen if done incorrectly.
Here are the steps to follow when freezing bell peppers:
- Check the condition of the peppers. Ensure the bell peppers are fresh and firm and that the skin is not bruised. Avoid overripe peppers or those that have been sitting out for days.
- Wash the bell peppers. Wash while paying close attention to any stuck-on dirt. Avoid using a vegetable brush because the hard bristles will damage the pepper’s skin.
- Rinse the bell peppers with lukewarm or cold water. Dry them with a paper towel.
- Slice the peppers. Use a sharp knife to cut along the walls of the bell peppers.
- Put the stem and seeds aside and throw them in your compost. Remove any loose seeds that were not attached to the stem.
- Cut the bell peppers as you intend to use them. Slice, dice, or chop them into small pieces. You may even choose to cut them in different styles. Also, you only need to ensure you separate them.
- Place a layer of bell peppers on a baking sheet and freeze them for an hour or two. If the peppers are cut in different styles, put the slices on one side and diced pepper on either side of the tray.
- Remove the tray. Separate the frozen bell pepper pieces as much as possible. The pepper will freeze separated if they were divided before freezing, so this is an important step.
- Transfer the bell pepper to freezer bags. Pack them according to how much you use when cooking.
- Push out the air. Release as much air as possible from the bag before sealing it.
- Label the bags according to the freezing date. This way, you get to use older packages first.
- Put the bags in the freezer. Only remove the bell peppers you need.
These Ziploc Food Storage Bags from Amazon.com are great because they’re transparent, reusable, and pop-resistant. The pack has 150 Ziploc bags that lock in flavor and maintain the freshness of frozen foods. It has a triple seal system that’s easy to use and great for storing bell peppers.
This video shows how you should prepare bell peppers before freezing:
How Long Do Frozen Bell Peppers Last in The Freezer?
When preparing bell peppers for freezing, you need to consider how often you use them. You don’t want to freeze too much and have them occupy a lot of space if you rarely use them. Also, you need to know how long you intend to keep the bell peppers and if they’ll stay fresh for that long.
Frozen bell peppers can last for a year or longer. However, their freshness diminishes over time, depending on the temperature, exposure to air, and the condition of the peppers. If the peppers are exposed to temperature fluctuations or packaged when wet, they will have a shorter shelf life.
You need to choose the best bell peppers and follow the right steps when freezing them. If you mistakenly freeze poor-quality peppers, you may end up with a few spoiled bags even though you froze them at the right temperature.
Can You Freeze Bell Peppers Whole?
If you enjoy stuffed bell peppers or don’t have the time to dice or slice them, you probably wish you could save time by freezing them whole. After all, it’s always best to freeze bell peppers the way you prefer to use them.
You can freeze bell peppers whole. However, you should cut the top, remove the seeds, and put the tops back on. Put the bell peppers in the freezer for an hour or two before packing them in airtight bags. Whole bell peppers take more space than diced or sliced peppers.
Thawed bell peppers lose some of the crispness. Flash freezing the peppers for two hours before packing will ensure the peppers remain separated even when frozen together. Your bell peppers will remain crisp and fresher for longer if you avoid removing and putting them back in the freezer whenever you need them.
I recommend the Nordic Ware Baking Sheet (available on Amazon.com) to flash freeze your bell peppers. It is made of aluminum, doesn’t rust, and is easy to clean.
How To Tell if Frozen Bell Peppers Have Gone Bad
It’s not uncommon for frozen foods, including bell peppers, to go bad. You should be aware of this possibility and will need to know what to look for when picking the bell peppers to use for your meals. The longer your bell peppers stay frozen, the more likely the package will go bad.
Frozen bell peppers have gone bad if:
- The bell peppers have dry spots or discolorations.
- The frozen peppers are mushy or slimy.
- The bell peppers have a foul smell.
Often, frozen bell peppers go bad because they were not fresh, there were temperature fluctuations, and they were left out for too long before use. It is normal for frozen bell peppers to lose their firm texture and water when thawed. So, you need to check for a foul smell or discoloration before throwing it away.
Can You Freeze Bell Peppers – Conclusion
Bell peppers can only last a few days outside the refrigerator before they start losing water and having wrinkled skin. If you intend to freeze your peppers, it is best to freeze them as soon as you buy or harvest them.
The fresher they are, the longer the freezing period. However, if you don’t have the time to work on them immediately, you can refrigerate them for a few days and then freeze them.