Q. My local grocery store has whole bushels of bell peppers available for purchase at a great price. I like to roast and preserve some peppers for my pantry, but I also like to have some raw bell peppers on hand for use in recipes and am thinking of buying them in bulk while the price is right. Can you freeze bell peppers?
A. Yes, you can freeze bell peppers, either roasted or raw. Bell peppers are easy to freeze and will retain some of their crispness after being thawed, although they won’t be as crisp as they were when fresh. Some people still use thawed bell peppers in recipes that call for raw bell peppers, but most people prefer to use thawed bell peppers in recipes that call for them to be cooked, so the change in crispness won’t be noticed. However you choose to use them, freezing bell peppers won’t change their flavor.
Freezing bell peppers is easier than freezing most vegetables, because they don’t have to be blanched first. They do have to be cut and cleaned though. Wash bell peppers in water and dry completely. Cut the stems off the peppers, and then cut peppers in half. Clean out the seeds and slice the ribs (the soft part inside). Slice your peppers however you like them, whether in chunks or thin slices.
Place pepper slices in freezer safe containers or freezer bags and lie flat. To avoid clumping, freeze peppers for about 30 minutes first by placing them in a single layer on a baking sheet in the freezer until slightly hard on the outside. Then place them in freezer bags in a single layer and lay flat, squeezing out the excess air. Label and date peppers and use within 6 months to a year for best results.
To thaw frozen bell peppers, remove the package of bell peppers from the freezer and place it in the fridge until the peppers are thawed completely. Alternatively, add frozen peppers directly to recipes where peppers are going to be cooked through. Peppers won’t be as crunchy as they were before freezing, so they may be disappointing in salads or other recipes that call for fresh peppers. However, they will still add color and flavor to recipes that call for bell peppers, and should be cooked for the same amount of time that fresh peppers would be cooked for.