Peppers are a reliable way to add a little spice and flavor to any dish! The vegetables can add any level of heat with just a little preparation.
Some fruits and vegetables are fine to leave out on your counter until you are ready to eat them, are peppers such a case? Let’s dive in to the best ways to preserve your peppers to keep them fresh.
Do peppers need to be refrigerated? Peppers do not need to be refrigerated but they will last up to 10x longer in the fridge. Put them in the crisper drawer of your fridge for the best results and your peppers will stay good for up to three weeks.
Peppers can stay good on your counter for a few days, but they will last much longer in your refrigerator. If you leave your peppers on the counter of your kitchen, the humidity and temperature of the room will dictate how long they will stay good.
Peppers will last longer than many other vegetables if you store them correctly. You can take advantage of deals on peppers in the supermarket if you know how to keep them fresh for the longest time possible.
But should you put your peppers directly in the fridge? Or should you cut them or freeze them for best results? Let’s explore some of the best ways to store your peppers.
How to Properly Store Peppers in the Fridge
If you plan on keeping your peppers in the fridge, you will want to consider a few factors when choosing where to place them. When are you planning on using your peppers? If you are just going to eat them within a few days, you may want to save the fridge space and just keep them on the counter.
Peppers have a semi-protective skin that will keep their soft insides from going bad. This is usually enough to keep them from needing refrigeration if you are just storing them for a couple of days. By putting your peppers in the fridge, you can slow down the ripening process even further.
The bottom line is that you should always refrigerate food from the supermarket if it was refrigerated on display. Peppers will do best in a cool, dry environment, so always make sure that any excess moisture has been removed from your container before storing peppers.
How to Refrigerate Whole Peppers
If your peppers are still whole, storage is very simple. First, examine them for any kind of imperfections on the skin. Any kind of abrasion, cut, or other break in the skin can be a warning sign. Peppers will grow mold if their outer layer is broken.
Your whole, unbroken peppers can either be wrapped in plastic or put directly into the crisper drawer. Just make sure that there are no condensation or water droplets with your peppers.
How to Refrigerate Diced or Cut Peppers
Peppers that have already been cut open lose the asset of an unbroken skin. As such, they will go bad very quickly if they are left on the counter- only a few hours at best. The soft inside flesh of a pepper is very susceptible to drying out and going bad if it is left exposed. When your peppers dry out, they will lose flavor, so you want to keep them from reaching this point.
If you are storing diced or cut peppers in the refrigerator, put them in an airtight container. You can use foil or plastic wrap to cover each piece to prevent any kind of moisture loss, but this may not be necessary. The key thing to keep in mind is that you need to prevent airflow on the soft innards of your peppers if you want them to stay good.
Buy Peppers with Storage in Mind
Don’t forget about your current storage limitations when you are shopping for peppers at the supermarket. Certain peppers can take up a lot of space, so you may be forced to throw out some of your vegetables if you do not have enough room for all of them in the fridge.
When you want to use peppers within the next day or two, you can just keep them in a bowl on the counter. But if you do not plan to use your peppers until after this period, you will need to keep them in the fridge.
On the other hand, if you do not see the need for peppers for a longer period of time (or have leftovers to preserve), you can use the freezer. This can be a good option if you do not have the space in the fridge or counter top, but you should really only freeze peppers for long-term storage.
How to Freeze Peppers
Freezing peppers is a great way to stop them from going bad if you plan on using them over a period of several months. This technique needs a little preparation, but you will have a steady supply of fresh-tasting peppers even through the off season!
When it comes to freezing vegetables, it is often a good idea to blanch them for better preservation. However, this is not the case with peppers. Blanching them can cause the peppers to become limp and soggy, instead of firm and crisp. The nutrition within your peppers will still be present for months after freezing, even if you do not blanch them.
Select the best, firmest and freshest peppers that you can when you are freezing them. Then, use cold water to thoroughly wash the outsides of the peppers and examine for breaks in the skin. If all is well, you can remove the seeds, stem, and membrane of your pepper and cut it into your desired form, such as slices, diced squares, or other shapes.
Flash freeze your peppers by placing them on a cookie sheet, spread out. Put the sheet in the freezer for an hour. This will stop your peppers from sticking to each other when you store them for a longer period of time.
Once your pepper pieces have been flash frozen, you can put them in a freezer-safe bag. Remove as much air as you can from the bag. We also recommend you label the bag with the date, so that you can remember when you put the peppers in the freezer. Frozen peppers will last up to a year if stored correctly.