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Sep 3, 2010 08:24 AM

A Profusion of (sweet) Peppers

After last year's abysmal production of peppers in my garden I took care this year to grow extras of each variety. I have Giant Marconis (a sweet Italian horn-shaped type), Carnival Bells, Mini-Bells, and Zavories (a hybrid that has all the flavor of Jalapenos without the heat). Now I'm flooded with peppers! So far I've stuffed and frozen, diced and frozen, frozen cups for stuffing later, made pepper jelly (2 kinds), candied pepper rings with the Zavories, pickled and canned my imitative take on Peppadews using the Mini-Bells and Zavories, and donated a lot to a local fresh produce food bank for distribution. I have a dehydrator and am planning to dry the Zavorys, but I've never dried Bell types and wonder if they'd be good. I'd like to be able to stuff and pressure can some but haven't found any guidelines anywhere for doing that. And of course we're eating them fresh in lots of ways to the point where they've almost reached the ugh-point of the dreaded zucchini.

Any suggestions for more ways of preserving sweet peppers?

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  1. Its only done with red peppers, but you might consider making the Portuguese "massa de pimentao" which is used as a seasoning and marinade, its integral to the dish "carne de puerco a alentejana" but can be used to season chicken for grilling and has many general purposes. Recipes can be found fairly easily on the Internet. Depending on the peppers some kind variation on Harissa might be another alternative, but you can find various red pepper pastes including ones where they are cooked down to a paste. Also you mentioned pickles but assuming vinegar based, you can also preserve them in oil -- I would suggest finding a food service provider for a canola/olive blend (30/70 or so) or maybe an inexpensive pure olive oil to reduce the expense a bit.

    1 Reply
    1. re: itaunas

      I did make a roasted red pepper spread following the Ball Home Preserving book but both my husband and I found it to be nasty. I was looking for something shelf stable. But I think I'm going to give up on that idea and go with some red pepper pestos, roasted peppers in oil and maybe a smoky pepper spread, all freezable. I'll look up massa de pimentao. While I've heard many CHs extol the joys of Harissa, I've never tasted it. Need to remedy that. Luckily oils aren't a problem in this house. We get our olive oils in bulk from Sciabica:

    2. Drying makes a lot of sense since it minimizes storage space while maximizing storage length. Whether you dry them in rings, strips, or dice, grind some of them into a powder which can then be used to dust roast meats and vegetables, and easily blended into dressings, dips, and bread crumbs. If you dry some other veg too, you could mix the powders. Or just buy onion and garlic powders. Grind dried mushrooms to include in the mix.

      1 Reply
      1. re: greygarious

        I like the idea of grinding some of them down to use as a spice. I've been dehydrating like crazy this year (DH got me the cadillac of dehydrators for my b-day) and mixing soup blends and sauce blends (even made tomato leather and tomato raisins from currant tomatoes!). I've been somewhat leery that drying bells would make them bitter but I have so many it's worth a few to experiment. I'm thinking maybe roasting and then drying. What do you think.