Freezing Red Peppers
Has anyone used this method for freezing red peppers? This info is from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln:
Freezing Sweet or Bell and Hot Peppers
Alice Henneman, MS, RD, UNL Lancaster County Extension
Peppers are one of those foods you can quickly freeze raw without blanching them first. Thawed, raw peppers still retain some crispness and can be used in cooked dishes or raw in uncooked dishes.
Bell or Sweet Peppers (Green, Red, Yellow, Orange, Purple)
Select crisp, tender peppers.
Cut out stems and cut peppers in half.
Remove seeds and membrane -- save time by using a melon baller or the tip of a spoon to scrape out seeds and membrane.
Cut peppers into strips, dice or slice, depending on how you plan to use them.
Freeze peppers in a single layer on a cookie sheet with sides, about an hour or longer until frozen. This method is often referred to as "tray freezing."
Transfer to a "freezer" bag when frozen, excluding as much air as possible from the bag. The peppers will remain separated for ease of use in measuring out for recipes.
Pour out the amount of frozen peppers needed, reseal the bag and return to the freezer.
I don't use the tray method, but just roughly deseed & chop sweet peppers, into ziplocks, suck air out & seal, and into the freezer. They don't really clump, and just giving the bag a whack against the counter loosens them up so I can take just what I need; after all, these peppers will go into soups, stews, sauces, etc. and don't need to look pristine.
Jalapenos, on the other hand, I put on a parchment-paper covered cookie sheet and roast/broil until skin is blackened, put in a paper bag to steam for fifteen minutes or so, peel the skins off as best I can, and then I bag them, *carefully* suck the air out, and freeze them flat. These roasted jalapenos are one of my most prized kitchen ingredients: just a tablespoon or so of this minced into an egg scramble, or added to a salsa.. yum! Totally beyond worth it for the bit of labor.
I have followed exactly the method described on numerous occasions over the last 20 years. I find it works very well. I have always chopped the peppers because that is how I use them. The idea is to get them to freeze quickly, so maybe chopping helps as it increases surface area. I think Alton Brown did a show on what the ice crystals do to fruits and veggies you freeze and quick freezing is the key to having crisp peppers when you thaw.
Thanks for your helpful responses, guys. I had successfully frozen jalapenos--whole--for years but always roasted red peppers before freezing. This year, I diced the raw red peppers, froze quickly, then food savered. It's fine if they are not crisp; they are destined for soups and stews
p.s. I expected the diced red peppers to occupy less space than the whole pepper, but found that there was not much saved space. Not sure why that is.
In our freezer at this moment are individual bags of poblanos, jalapenos, a few red bells, and a mix of habanero & serrano. I do nothing but chuck fresh peppers - whole - in a labeled & dated freezer bag. For use it's easy to remove one or two peppers and quickly run hot tap water then slice as a recipe directs.
I chop and freeze bell peppers whenever I find them in the quick-sale produce rack. I do not tray freeze. When I want to use some, I smack the frozen baggie on the counter to break up the mass, or jab with a butter knife. The quality is the same as a bag of frozen peppers from the supermarket. They are suitable for cooking, but limp when thawed so not good for most raw uses.