Preserving Seasonal Foods: Bell Peppers

Roasted Red Peppers are one of my favorite produce because of the many ways you can incorporate them into so many dishes. See how simple it is to roast them in the oven and then preserve them by freezing what you don't use in your recipe.
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Roasted bell peppers ready to be frozen.

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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.

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.

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.

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58 thoughts on “Preserving Seasonal Foods: Bell Peppers”

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  1. Our local organic grocer had huge boxes for $6 of peppers and I had no idea what to do with them, my biggest fear of doing this is soggy peppers when I defrost. Is soggy peppers a problem or are they okay frozen raw or roasted?

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi Cathy. The texture does change when you freeze peppers but they are still great for cooking and roasting… not so great raw. :)

  2. End of the season and we took even the little peppers off the plants. What a bountiful harvest!! Roasted frozen peppers is a great idea! Thanks! So far have frozen stuffed peppers, whole peppers to be stuffed(red and green for Christmas), pepper pieces. Even made some pepper sauce (like tomato sauce), frozen in small freezer containers. Red pepper jelly is fantastic with cream cheese, with or without ham or turkey slices on a soft burrito, rolled up and sliced into little rolly-polly sandwiches.

  3. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

    Hi there. You want to make sure you use wide mouth jars and leave room at the top for the food to expand. :)

  4. Hi I like the idea of freezing soups and cooked foods. Is there anything you do special after putting the soup in the jar and putting it in the freezer? Just want to make sure it doesn’t get freezer burn

  5. I absolutely love roasted capsicums (that’s what we call them here) and have roasted my own (home grown) in the past. Can you tell me how long you can freeze them for? Thanks. :)

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Jaya. I try to rotate items out of my freezer by three months but frozen vegetable are fine up to 10 months. ~Amy

  6. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

    Hi Elena. I think it would work fine. I have frozen them before but already stuffed or sliced for stir-fry. ~Amy

    1. I freeze whole peppers all the time for stuffed peppers. Slice off top, take out seeds, throw in pot of boiling water for few minutes, flash freeze them on a cookie sheet and then I would stack them inside each other in qty of four (or however many you take out at a time) and throw them in a freezer bag.

  7. 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

  8. 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?

    1. 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.

  9. 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).

  10. 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! :)

  11. 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.

  12. 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!

    1. 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

    2. 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!

  13. I have never thought about roasting peppers before freezing. I usually dice and freeze with onions for my chili. Thanks for the recipe. As far as the zucchini goes, I steam it for 6-8 minutes, puree it, and freeze after it cools. We then add it to different sauces. Gives it wonderful flavor.

  14. I’m busy freezing peppers, too. Love ’em! I would really like to explore your site more, but am having browser difficulties in both firefox and ie. Scrolling is slow and jerky, some links don’t work. Also, the advertisement at bottom of page showing the mormon video loads every single time i click on a new page here. When I click “close” to try to get rid of it, nothing happens. Don’t know if you can fix this on your end, but I just can’t browse through without a lot of frustration. will try back later.

    1. Sorry about that, and thanks for letting us know! The ad has been removed…the ad network is set to block many ad types (including religious) and they aren’t supposed to run ads that automatically expand without the user hovering over the ad for 3 seconds or actually clicking on the ad. But every now and then one slips through and I have to contact them to manually block it.

      The other issues you are experiencing sound like something specific to your computer or internet connection. We are working to improve page load times in general, but we are testing fine on a variety of platforms. Thanks for reading!

  15. I just stick them in the freezer whole as soon as I get home from the store (unless I know I’m going to use them in something raw). That’s what my parents always did. It makes sense to slice them up, since it can be annoying to try to cut off part of the frozen pepper when I don’t need the whole thing, but then I’d be using up another plastic bag. They get mushy if you try to eat them raw once they’ve been frozen, but you won’t be able to tell the difference if you’re cooking them.

  16. Thanks for the roasting instructions. I usually just seed, cut and freeze, but love roasted red peppers in my hummus. I should have thought to do it myself before instead of buying the roasted peppers from the store.

  17. Trader Joes sells a frozen package of grilled (I believe) red/green peppers and onions which is SO tasty to add to lots of dishes. However, it’s pretty expensive & I don’t think it uses organic produce. This would be so easy to do & freeze in the same way. Also, don’t forget about dehydrating your peppers for soups, etc. I just got a used dehydrator earlier in the spring, so haven’t tried peppers yet, but I’m sure they’ll be great!

    1. I just learned from a lady at my farmers market that she grates her zucchini, measures it in cup or half cup servings, label on freezer bags and put in freezer. When she thaws them out she just puts all the contents into the recipe. I am sure if there is access water you could always discard.

      1. Sherry, I love that idea! I’m going to have to try that.

        Anna and Melissa, I freeze shredded zucchini in 1c. mounds to use in recipes (like my favorite: zucchini brownies!) I haven’t really tried freezing them any other way. I used fresh-from-our-garden zucchini, which seems to have a lot of moisture. I drain it a bit before freezing. I keep the drained zucchini juice in the freezer for smoothies :)

    2. I’ve been hit with an abundance of zucchini and summer squash from my in-laws’ garden this year. I’ve pickled some of each, frozen some of each, and dehydrated some squash (it’ll reconstitute in a soup or stew later). Lisa’s zucchini bread recipe on this blog is AMAZING — seriously the best I’ve ever had. It calls for three cups of shredded zucchini, so I have five three-cup bags of it in my freezer now, ready to last me through the winter.

    3. I’ve frozen zucchini. It does seem quite “wet” when it is thawed out, but I put it into the zucchini chocolate cake recipe I have and it works just fine. I don’t drain off the liquid. I figure it was there when it was fresh and the cake will need the moisture. I also add the frozen zucchini to soup or chili.
      I’ve been freezing peppers for years. Buy them when they are on sale, chop them up, put them into a large freezer bag because they don’t have alot of moisture they don’t freeze in a big chunk. I then use them in stir fries, soup or chili.

  18. I slice bell peppers in the food processor, and often I will throw in banana peppers that are hanging around as well. Place a handful, which is about a half cup, in a twist of Glad plastic freezer wrap. When I have done all the peppers, I throw the “twists” in a gallon size freezer bag, and all winter I just grab enough half cup twists to use in whatever recipe I am making. A few seconds under running cold water and you will be able to “untwist the twist” and chop the pepper pieces as small as you like.

  19. love roasted red bell peppers purchased from the store, but i had never thought to make my own. yummy. i do chop up bell pepper and toss it in the freezer before it goes bad.

    love the roasted bell peppers on a pesto pizza, in hummus, and in a goat cheese pasta. nom nom nom.

  20. I roast and freeze as well, but I always save a pint jar of roasted peppers for the fridge. I just top it off with olive oil to cover all of the peppers and they’ll last in the fridge for at least a month. And then the oil you have left over is pre-flavored and great for marinades, salad dressings, etc.

  21. We also simply slice or dice or halve them and freeze them (no blanching or roasting needed). It takes no time and they are so easy to throw into dishes all year long. The halved peppers are handy for stuffed peppers during winter months. I agree that this is one versatile and easy veggie to freeze and reuse.

  22. I just slice the peppers and freeze them so I can take them out and use them any way I choose. I love them cooked in just a little olive oil with small fresh green beans,fresh broccoli, onions and sliced carrots.

  23. I like to go at the end of Farmer’s Market and buy up a whole bunch of what wasn’t sold that day. The Farmer won’t want to hang onto the the entire week and that means a better price. My kids think they really don’t like peppers, so I often will puree them with onions into little cubes, which I freeze and then add to all kinds of dishes for flavor. If the kids can’t SEE the pepper, I get away with it. SCORE! ;)

  24. I haven’t ever roasted them before freezing. I have just frozen them and I think I’ve also blanched them before freezing. Agree that they are very handy to have in the freezer each winter.

      1. They are kind of limp after freezing – but in a heated dish they cook up like fresh. Good to use the frozen ones regularly and save the spendy, off season one for your salad :-)