Q. I planted a garden this year and added several banana pepper plants to it. The plants were so small when I bought them that I planted several, not realizing how many peppers each plant would yield. Now I have far too many peppers to use at once. I’ve already dried some and pickled a few others, but I would really like to just freeze the rest. I’m not sure if freezing the peppers will change their flavour or texture. I’m hoping to be able to use them all winter. Can you freeze banana peppers?
A. Yes, you can certainly freeze banana peppers. While freezing won’t change the flavour of the peppers, it will change the texture. Peppers have a high water content. When they’re frozen, the water expands and can rupture the cell walls of the pepper. When thawed, the walls contract, leaving the pepper limp and soggy. This shouldn’t be too much of a problem if you are planning to use the peppers chopped in recipes or as a garnish. It may become a problem if you were planning to bread or stuff them.
How to freeze banana peppers?
An important fact to note is that if you are freezing hot banana peppers, the freezing process will actually affect their heat, making them hotter after being thawed. If you do not want the heat level to increase with freezing, you can slice open the peppers and remove the seeds carefully before freezing. The seeds are the source of heat in hot peppers.
To freeze banana peppers, you can either freeze them whole or chopped. To freeze whole banana peppers, wash and dry the peppers carefully, then place them in a freezer bag. Squeeze out the excess air, then seal and label the bag. If you primarily use the peppers as a garnish or side dish, slice them according to how you use them, and then lay the slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the freezer until the slices are solid. This prevents them from clumping together in the freezer bag.
Place the slices in a freezer bag. Squeeze out the excess air, then seal and label the bag. Place the bag in the coldest part of the freezer. To use, remove the bag from the freezer, or simply remove the desired number of slices. Allow the peppers to thaw completely in the fridge in the bag or on a plate to catch any water. Frozen banana pepper slices can also be added directly to recipes that will be heated through.