Q. My neighbours buy bushels of red peppers at the end of the summer, and then roast them for the winter. They like to slice them in thin slices, then jar them in a type of brine so they can eat them as an appetizer over the winter. They asked if I would be interested in roasting some of my own, and they would show me how. I prefer to eat my roasted red peppers in a sandwich or tossed in with some pasta rather than sliced into strips as an appetizer. I don’t want to turn my neighbour down, but I’m wondering if there’s another way for me to store plain roasted red peppers. Can you freeze roasted red peppers?
A. It sounds like you have very nice neighbours! Roasting and canning red peppers for the winter sounds like a great idea. If you aren’t interested in eating them jarred, then yes, you can certainly freeze them! Start by roasting the peppers the way your neighbour shows you to do. When roasting red peppers, the skin will blister and go black from the flames. After the peppers are roasted and cool enough to handle, the skin peels off easily, revealing the meaty part underneath.
Once your peppers are peeled and cooled, it’s up to you to decide how to freeze them. If you like large pepper halves in your sandwiches, simply slice the peppers in half. If you want smaller strips, you can do that too. Once your peppers are prepared to your liking, you’re ready to freeze them. Dry the peppers with a paper towel or clean dishcloth. This will help prevent freezer burn. Line a baking tray with some parchment paper, and lay the peppers in a single layer on the tray. Flash freeze the peppers for about 30 minutes in the freezer, just until the outside starts to harden. This will help ensure that they don’t clump together in the freezer.
Remove the baking tray from the freezer and place the roasted red peppers into freezer bags. Remove the excess air from the bags and then seal tightly. Label and date the bags, and then place in the freezer. Peppers will keep for several months this way. To use frozen roasted red peppers, remove the desired amount from the freezer and allow to thaw in the fridge for several hours. It can also be defrosted in the microwave. Then, use in your favourite recipe.