Are you wondering what to do with a big glut of chillies?
Maybe it’s time to freeze chili to preserve the produce and have a healthy supply of spicy treats to use whenever your recipe calls for it.
In this article we will let you know the what, why and how of freezing chili so that you can get it right every time, and hopefully make it a healthy habit to prolong the life of these delicious fruits.
Let’s take a look at everything there is to know about freezing chilli peppers like a pro:
What Are Frozen Chili Peppers?
Frozen chili peppers are where we freeze chili and then consume the fruits far beyond their usability when they are fresh.
They can be contained in all kinds of containers (see below) and they can be frozen whole, although it makes sense to freeze them sliced up so they can be used right out of the container.
Why Freeze Chili Peppers?
As members of the nightshade family, chili peppers are related to tomatoes and bell peppers and come in a huge range of heat, flavour, texture and colour types. There are multiple reasons to freeze them including:
- Making the most of a glut of chili peppers you might have grown or been given. They last a lot longer when frozen, which stops them rotting down and helps to prevent your household adding to the 3 billion tons of global food wastage we make as a planet every single year.
- Further preserving the health of chili peppers, which is far reaching. They are full of vitamin C, B6, K1, potassium and copper, plus antioxidants and active plant compounds. Although some nutrients can be lost with the freezing process (especially if blanching is done before), many are still preserved with freezing.
- Having the convenience of frozen products in your freezer ready to use in recipes. If you freeze chili peppers (if sliced) you can just chuck them into a red arrabiata pasta sauce or spicy jalapeño chilli without having to prepare them, which is really helpful if you’re a busy person.
Since the pandemic, many people have also spent some time ensuring they have food inside the house that they can use if they are unable to leave the house or if supplies run short.
Freezing chillies and other items can ensure you have lots of fresh produce to lean on if you do need to isolate, or other events happen that mean you are short on food supplies.
How To Freeze Chili Like A Pro
Freezing peppers is a really easy process that you can do anytime you want to, especially because there’s no need to sterilize anything as with pickling.
Even better, is that there are multiple ways for you to freeze chillies so that you can choose the easiest method for you at any time.
As long as the chili is fresh, washed and not showing signs of rotting, it can be prepared to freeze in any of these ways:
To freeze chopped chillies you just need to chop up the chili, remove the stem, seeds and seed membranes. You can then freeze chili by placing them on a baking tray and leaving them in the freezer for a few hours.
Once they are dried out and the water has been removed, they can be placed in any clean sealed freezer bag or plastic tub.
Some people prefer to soften their chillies a little by blanching them before freezing. All you have to do for this method is to put your peppers (ideally sliced) into boiling water for a couple of minutes then allow them to dry and cool before bagging or boxing them up and putting them in the freezer.
To freeze chili whole you just need to bag them and box them up as needed. It is important that all the water is removed before you do this to avoid ice forming on the chillies, which can damage them.
Ice Cube Chillies
Some people like to slice up their chillies and then place them into ice cube trays with water so they have individual chili portions to use in cooking.
You can do this just with chili, or you could even make little spicy herb cubes by mixing your chopped chili with basil, oregano and parsley and then you can drop that right into all kinds of dishes with ease.
Extra Tips To Help You Freeze Chili
Here are some extra tips to help you freeze peppers like a pro:
- Consider using protection for your hands when you prepare to freeze chili because the heat can stay on your fingers and might cause pain if you wipe your eyes or nose. This is particularly important if you are freezing very hot chili, like Carolina reaper.
- Put the date that you have frozen the chili on the bag or box to make sure that you use it up before around four months.
- Keep the chili you freeze in small portions so that if any mould or freezer burn affects one batch, it won’t take out the whole batch.
You’re Ready To Freeze Chili!
With all the information in this guide you’re set to freeze chili for use in delicious home-cooked recipes whenever you need a spicy hit.
Whether you slice them, freeze chili whole, or turn them into instant favour cubes, you’re sure to have some delicious, heat-filled meals in the next few months!