Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Jun 7, 2010 12:37 PM

Jarred Red Pepper Question

I have a jar of roasted red peppers that is maybe only a couple of weeks old. The peppers that are still in the jar seem to have developed a white film on the areas that might not have been submerged in the liquid. I am not sure what this white film is, is it fat, mold or something else? Has anyone else seen this? Are they still safe to eat? Thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I don't think they should get moldy after only a couple of weeks--and as far as I know mold would start growing spottily, not cover the surface like a film.

    I think fat solidifying in the fridge would look different too. Perhaps it's some form of oxidization?

    1. I am interested in what the answers are - I have always assumed that it's mold, and tossed them.

      9 Replies
      1. re: jeanmarieok

        I've always thought it was mold too, but since they are 2-3 weeks old it has me wondering.

        1. re: lizzy

          It is indeed mold; the surface of jarred peppers develops mold very quickly after opening, even with proper (refrigerated) handling. Roasted jarred red peppers seem to be a mold magnate; they are a low acid vegetable and most of the jarred brands, that are not either pickled or packed in a vinegar base, ferment quickly. Once opened, plan to use the peppers up in a week. Toss if mold is present.

          Info from the G. L. Mezetta Packing Company, of Napa Valley, on handling their jarred peppers, and most brands of jarred peppers are packed in a similar fashion:

          "How long will roasted bell peppers keep?

          "Because this product is not pickled as most of our other products, and we avoid using preservatives whenever possible, it will not have an extended shelf life once opened and refrigerated. We have been working to determine the most effective method to preserve the peppers once refrigerated. Adding olive oil has not proven very effective. Another method is to add 5% acidic vinegar to cover the peppers. We recommend that you use the peppers within seven days after opening or transfer them to a container for freezing. This information is provided on our labels."

          1. re: bushwickgirl

            Wow, thank you! I had no idea jarred roasted red peppers only lasted a week. I guess I will only be purchasing them when I can use the whole jar.

            1. re: lizzy

              I also try to keep them immersed. The mold starts to grow on the exposed parts.

            2. re: bushwickgirl

              That's strange. I get enormous jars of red peppers from an online Mediterranean grocer--I'm talking 54 ounces, here--and they keep for literally a month or two in my fridge...and don't even get that white stuff <g> if we keep them submerged. I do add a bit of wine vinegar to the jar after I open it for the first time (but not so much as to affect the taste).

              1. re: Beckyleach

                "bit of wine vinegar to the jar after I open" acidulating the peppers cuts down on spoilage and increases shelf life. See the company recommendation in my post upthread. You're doing the right thing by keeping them submerged, the top is where the mold growth starts, and in a bit of vinegar.

              2. re: bushwickgirl

                Has anyone tried freezing them? How do they hold up after that, is the texture the same or do they get even mushier?

                1. re: sonia darrow

                  You can freeze them quite easily, and they will be fine, texture wise.

                  1. re: sonia darrow

                    I like to roast my own peppers when they are in season & pack then in olive oil, with garlic and basil. I used to just keep them in the fridge until I lost a major quantity to the icky mold. Now I freeze them in manageable batches, and just take out what I think we'll need for about a week. They seem to freeze just fine in the oil & are the same as pre-frozed once the oil melts.

            3. Well, I can't say for sure it ISN'T mold, but for over 20 years I've been just washing them off and eating them....and I'm still alive and kicking. ;-)

              1. Anyone know how this applies to other jarred peppers? Pimientos for instance? Do spicy peppers keep longer?

                1. There are wide variations in the acid/vinegar content of various brands. I bet that the lower-acid ones (which taste nearest fresh-roasted) are most prone to molding.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Bada Bing

                    <acid/vinegar content of various brands>

                    Yes, it has everything to do with it. Pimentos, for example, are not normally pickled, but are packed in a low acid enviornment and are prone to rapid mold development, whereas spicy peppers, such as hot cherry peppers or pepperoncini, are pickled.

                    I had some Trappey's brand hot pickled tabasco peppers in vinegar that kept very well in the frig for a few years. Couldn't do that with pimentos or roasted peppers.