Preserving Seasonal Foods: Bell Peppers

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Bell pepper season has officially started, and I am pretty excited about it. It’s hard to think of another vegetable I like this much that’s also so versatile (tomatoes might be a close second!). We enjoy eating bell peppers in so many dishes from fajitas to gumbo to grilled panini sandwiches to pizza (as a topping) and even as raw slices dipped in some hummus or homemade ranch. Plus my other favorite thing about bell peppers is that the season feels fairly long compared to other fresh produce. I don’t know about you but I feel like strawberries, peaches, and raspberries are here and gone in a flash. So if you’re one to procrastinate you’ve still got a little time left to stock up and preserve fresh bell peppers before the season ends.

How to Preserve Bell Peppers for the Winter:

  1. Roast and then Freeze. My all time favorite method is to seed the peppers, slice them, roast them, and then freeze them. There are dozens of uses for these frozen slices of summer (including the dishes mentioned above). And the best part is you don’t have to plan ahead if you suddenly want a roasted bell pepper on your grilled panini sandwich. All it takes is a quick rinse under lukewarm water and the bell pepper will (mostly) come back to life.
  2. Canning Recipes. I am a newbie to canning, but I recently made the pictured green tomato relish that called for red bell peppers and the outcome was the bomb (in a good way). The relish tastes like the best salsa you’ve ever had and if you take the time to can the end result it will last up to a year. You could freeze the cooked relish as well. There are also some simpler recipes out there for just canning slices of plain bell peppers.
  3. Freezing in Prepared Dishes. It’s hard to beat dinner that’s previously been made using fresh ingredients and then stocked away in your freezer. So rather than freezing the peppers by themselves consider incorporating them into soups like chili, gumbo, or tortilla soup or main dishes like fajitas, stuffing, or quesadillas, and then freeze the end result. You’ll thank yourself later when the only thing between you and a delicious wholesome dinner is defrosting and reheating!

Please share your favorite ways to use and preserve bell peppers in the comments below.

And before I move on to roasting bell peppers don’t forget about our sponsor, Tattler Reusable Canning Lids, for your canning needs. They provide BPA-free plastic canning lids that can be used over and over again unlike the metal lids, which are only good for one use!


How to Roast Bell Peppers
According to Joy of Cooking, “Roasting provides the best way to remove the skin of peppers. In addition, it softens their flesh, tempers the raw taste, and adds a delicious smokiness.” Our farmers’ market actually has free pepper roasting available in the late summer months, which I loved taking advantage of last year. But in case you don’t have that luxury below are the simple steps to roasting bell peppers at home.
  • Bell Peppers
  1. Preheat broiler to high.
  2. Wash peppers by giving them a quick rinse under water.
  3. Seed and slice peppers then transfer the pieces to a baking sheet lined with foil.
  4. Place tray 5 – 6 inches under the broiler and cook until skin appears blackened.
  5. Remove tray from oven and once cool enough to handle peel off and discard charred skin.
  6. I freeze my roasted bell pepper slices on a baking sheet and then transfer them to a ziplock bag or other freezer-proof container once they are frozen (so they don’t stick together).


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47 comments to Preserving Seasonal Foods: Bell Peppers

  • I love to freeze summer peppers and then use them in the winter for Smoky Veggie Chili!

  • Sophia

    I read a post about pesto. I just made a bunch of it. Do you think it’s safe to freeze in a jar…then give it away during Christmas time and not hinder the taste?? I’ve never frozen it before and wonder if the taste isn’t comprised. I’d put it in the deep freezer. Then i imagine it needs to be refrigerated

    Please help!

    • Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Sophia. I think it would be fine, but, I would probably do a tester one for yourself and see how it defrosts and tastes come December. That way you’ll know for certain before you give them as gifts. Jill

    • Kelly

      I make large batches of spinach pesto and freeze in glass jars. Longest it has stayed in the freezer at our house though is about 3 months and it tastes perfect!

  • Kristen

    Stupid Question. When broiling the peppers do I put them skin side up so I can peel it off once its chard?

  • You could also just throw the peppers right on the stove. It’s pretty amazing how it works. You place the pepper on an open flame and let the skin get charred, then put them in a paper bag and shake to help get the skin off. Rinse them, seed them, and you’re good to go! Funny I just wrote a post on Friday about how easy it is! I was glad to read about how to preserve them though, I did some canning but it ended up taking forever! Freezing is definitely more my speed.

  • Cassie

    I love to make roasted red pepper hummus! It’s really good and is helping me learn to like peppers….still not a huge fan, but trying! :)

  • Kelsey

    We get an abundance of them in our garden as well, but all we do is slice or chop them, separate them in to meal portions, place them on a cookie sheet in one layer, freeze them on the sheet for about 2 hours then dump them in to a freezable ziplock. By freezing them in one layer you avoid having them stick together and creating condensation and ice. They stayed good for over 2 months (at which point we ran out).

  • Amy Snow

    Can you do this with other peppers, too, such as jalpeno’s?

  • .Darlene

    My pepper plants are in a large pot. If I bring in the plants (in the pot) how do I care for the plant to keep the peppers growing?

    • Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Darlene. I am not sure I understand your question. Do you mean bring them in out of the weather? ~Amy

    • Jo Ann Morgan Anderson

      The pepper plant will need lots of light south facing is best. It may produce flowers if there is enough light but you have no bees or bugs in your house to pollinate. You will need to do that by hand if you want peppers. I’ve never done it but using a soft paintbrush or a feather I’ve heard works.

  • pritish gupta

    how to preserve home made tortillas in freezer?

  • Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

    Hi Pritish. I use parchment to separate them and put them into a ziplock bag removing as much air as possible. ~Amy

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