Jalapeños are green chili peppers with mild to medium heat. They brighten up and bring punch to a range of dishes such as pizzas, nachos, salsas, and poppers. Fresh jalapeno peppers last only a few days in the pantry and up to two weeks in the refrigerator.
However, you can store your jalapeño peppers in the freezer to keep them fresh for a longer time. Freezing jalapenos comes in handy when you have a large bundle of fresh peppers and want to preserve them.
In this article, I’ll show you how to freeze jalapenos properly, along with the right methods to thaw and use them.
How to Freeze Jalapenos
Freezing jalapenos is a quick and easy process that you can complete within a few minutes using the steps listed below.
- Always use fresh jalapeno peppers that are crisp and firm. Discard any peppers that are moldy, wrinkled, or limp.
- Use cold water to get rid of the dirt and debris from the peppers and let them dry thoroughly before freezing.
- Cut off and discard stems. Decide whether you want to freeze whole or sliced peppers. Whole jalapenos last longer in the freezer than the sliced ones. However, it’s difficult to cut peppers once they’re frozen.
- Optional: At this point in the process, you can blanch the sliced jalapenos if you want. Just add the jalapeno slices to boiling water for about two minutes and then transfer them to a bowl of ice-cold water. It’s an optional step that can help peppers maintain their texture and color better in the freezer.
- Place the whole or sliced jalapeños on a cookie sheet in a single layer and place the sheet in the freezer for one hour to flash freeze them.
- After that, remove the cookie sheet from the freezer and place the peppers in a freezer bag or airtight container.
- If you’re using a bag, squeeze it to remove excess air before sealing it. Make sure that you leave no more than half an inch of headspace if you’re using an airtight container in order to limit the air in the container.
- Place the jalapeno peppers in the freezer after labeling the freezer bag/container with the current date.
Tips to Freeze Jalapenos Properly
Keep the following tips in mind while freezing jalapenos to achieve the best results and ensure your safety.
- Squeeze out air from the freezer bag before placing them in the freezer. It’ll minimize the risk of freezer burn to keep your peppers fresh and extend the storage life.
- Always label your freezer bags with the current date. It’ll help you use your frozen jalapenos before they go bad.
- If you have limited storage space in your freezer, consider slicing jalapenos to store them more compactly.
- Always wear safety gloves while handling or cutting hot peppers. It’ll allow you to prevent skin irritation caused by the capsaicin in the peppers. It’s the compound responsible for heat, and it’s found in all peppers.
- Make sure that you don’t touch your face while working with jalapenos. Once you’ve finished the process of freezing your jalapeno peppers, use lukewarm water and soap to wash your hands thoroughly.
How Long Do Jalapenos Stay Fresh in the Freezer?
Frozen jalapenos can stay fresh for up to 15 to 18 months if your freezer’s temperature is 32 degrees Fahrenheit or below.
But it’s important to note that frozen jalapeno peppers start to lose their flavor and quality after a year. So, you should use them within 12 months for maximum freshness.
How to Thaw/Use Frozen Jalapenos?
Thawing frozen jalapeños is even easier than freezing them. You just need to remove them from the freezer and place them on a paper towel until they come to room temperature. It’ll minimize moisture on the peppers and reduce the risk of sogginess.
Keep in mind that thawed jalapenos won’t be crisp and firm, unlike fresh peppers. That’s why the best way to use frozen jalapenos is to remove them from the freezer and add them directly to cooked dishes such as jalapeno poppers, stews, stir-fries, and soups.
Do Jalapeno Peppers Lose their Flavor When Frozen?
When you freeze any type of food, it loses its quality and flavor with time, and jalapenos are no exception. But if you use the freezing method discussed above and use your frozen peppers within a year, you won’t experience any flavor loss.
The flavor of frozen peppers can also degrade quickly due to freezer burn. The best way to avoid this problem is to use an airtight container with minimal air to store jalapeno peppers. It’s also important not to leave your freezer open for a longer time to prevent condensation buildup within the freezer and the stored jalapenos.
Do Jalapeno Peppers Lose their Heat When Frozen?
On the Scoville scale, jalapenos measure from 2500 to 8000, falling below hot pepper and above bell peppers. The best thing about freezing jalapeno peppers is that they lock in this heat level and don’t lose their original capsaicin content.
So, freezing jalapenos is an excellent option if you want to use them to spice up different dishes in the future. Other than their heat content, frozen jalapeno peppers also retain their nutritional profile. You just need to make sure that you use the right method to freeze them.
Why Should You Freeze Jalapeno Peppers?
You might not always have access to fresh jalapenos depending on your location. Freezing these peppers will allow you to use them all year round. Even if fresh jalapenos are available throughout the year in your area, you can still buy and freeze them to save time.
Frozen peppers are also more convenient as they’re already prepared to be added to different recipes. You just need to remove them from the freezer and start cooking.
The biggest benefit of freezing jalapenos is that it prevents food wastage. For example, you have so many jalapeno peppers in your pantry, but you can’t use all of them within a few days. So, instead of throwing them in the trash can, you can freeze them for future use.
Can You Freeze Jalapenos – Final Words
Keeping jalapenos in the freezer is a great way to preserve these green chilis. Not only does it increase the shelf life of peppers, but it also prevents food wastage.
Make sure that you follow the steps listed in this guide to freeze fresh jalapeno peppers properly. Don’t forget to wear gloves before you start working with these peppers to prevent skin irritation.