Pepper Preservation Options
Fall is here and gardeners everywhere are canning in overtime!
Food preservation has been on my mind for the last couple months (gotta do something with all the garden goodies!), so I’m going to give you three totally different options for preserving your peppers!
Years ago, when I first started gardening, I was too chicken to do any canning, so I froze any of my garden surplus.
Which totally works and brings me to my first (and easiest option) for pepper preservation-
Freeze your peppers.
I do this with all kinds of peppers- bell, jalapenos, banana peppers, etc.
It doesn’t take long or require extra equipment (except a freezer, of course!).
Step 1: Wash your peppers.
Step 2: Cut them up (not dice them, just whittle their overall size down so they’re not so bulky) and de-seed them.
Step 3: Throw them in a freezer quality plastic bag.
Step 4: Label them. (Trust me, you may not remember what’s in there in a few months!)
There is one main disadvantage to this very easy method and that’s this:
The peppers will get mushy once thawed.
I use my frozen peppers for my salsa. Making a big batch of salsa is kind of a pain and one that I have to clear my schedule and mentally gear up for, so I freeze my tomatoes and some extra peppers until I’m ready for a salsa canning marathon.
Pickle your peppers.
I started doing this a few years ago and I love it! It definitely takes some more elbow grease than just throwing them in the freezer, but it’s so worth it!
I found this pickling recipe and have used it ever since. I highly recommend you check it out! She gives step by step instructions on how to make them with fabulous photos 🙂
My pickled jalapenos are a huge hit with Jeff, friends and family! Jeff loves to put pickled jalapeno slices in his eggs, on hamburgers, etc. My friend’s husband just likes to eat them straight out of the jar! That’s seriously how good these things are!
My salsa recipe actually calls for pickled jalapenos, so I make sure to save back some every year just for salsa making!
I also pickle my banana peppers, too (using the same recipe) and use them in my salsa.
There are some obvious disadvantages to this method. It requires a lot more work (slicing up peppers is very time consuming and I highly recommend wearing gloves! *Ask me how I know….) and if you want to can them, then you must drag out the canning equipment.
You can just turn these into refrigerator pickles, which would cut down on the canning mess, but I don’t have enough fridge space to devote to 20 jars of pickled peppers, so I always can them.
There are two main advantages to pickling your peppers (every time I type that I think of the tongue twister!)- You don’t use up fridge or freezer space and they have more uses besides just dumping them into salsa.
Dehydrate your peppers and turn them into seasoning powder.
This is a method that I have just used this year for the first time, but I’m hooked!
Awhile back, Jeff’s cousin told me how his grandpa used to dehydrate his jalapenos then grind them into powder, which he used to season various things. Jeff’s cousin said it was the best seasoning ever! (Side note: Apparently, it’s amazing on fried eggs, if you like a bit of kick in your breakfast!)
So, this year I decided to experiment with it.
About a month ago, I picked a whole bunch of poblano peppers. This is my first year for growing poblanos and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.
Well, apparently, my two little plants enjoyed our Kansas summer and they were LOADED with peppers!
Which, I had no idea what to do with!
After a bit of research, I decided to dehydrate them and turn them into ancho powder.
(Disclaimer: This Kansas farmgirl had never heard of such a thing before making her own, lol!)
I had Elisa quarter the peppers and we put them in the dehydrator for 14 hours (per the instructions from the dehydrator).
The next day, I threw them in the blender in small batches and made a small container of ancho powder!
I used it over the weekend in chili and it was darn good 🙂
I’m actually going to strip my jalapeno plants this afternoon and throw the bunch in the dehydrator for jalapeno powder. I pickled 20 pints of jalapenos earlier this summer and put another gallon in the freezer, so I figure it’s time to use this third method this time around!
The obvious disadvantage to this method is you must own a dehydrator. Mine is nothing fancy- it’s a simple one left over from Jeff’s bachelor days when he use to make his own jerky. It’s very similar to this one. You plug it in and let it go!
A big advantage to this method is that your final product takes up very little space! It’s a great way to preserve the rest of your pepper harvest if you’re getting strapped for pantry or freezer space from your other garden preserving!
There you have it! Three options for preserving your pepper harvest! I hope your pepper harvest was prolific this year and you have lots of peppers to preserve!
Do you grow peppers in your garden? What’s your favorite preservation method??