Trying to figure out how to make your bell peppers hold out just that little bit longer? Whether red, yellow, or green, there’s are two surefire ways to keep that freshness locked in for an extra day or two: refrigeration or freezing.
Before we take a look at both, here are a couple of things to bear in mind when buying your next batch of peppers, to give them the best chance of lasting:
- Pick out the firmest batch you can find, avoiding any soft and squashy-feeling ones – sounds obvious, but lots of folks just grab the first bag they can find without giving them a quick check over first
- Choose peppers with clear, shiny skin – no wrinkles, light or dark spots, as these are indications of damage in transit or the beginnings of rot
- Skin color is irrelevant – red peppers are green peppers that have reached full maturation, whilst orange and yellow varieties are the same but sweeter, so this isn’t an indication of their goodness
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Storing Peppers In The Fridge
The best place for your fully intact bell peppers to thrive is in the vegetable crisping drawer of your refrigerator, where they should keep firm and fresh for much longer. First things first, It is imperative they are bone dry before you put them in there!
Wet peppers in the fridge will mold before you can say fajitas! And you’ll be left with slimy, stinky veggies where a delicious snack once was. Plus, it could affect other veggies in the crisping drawer already, leaving you with a whole bunch of wasted food.
Therefore, you should not wash peppers prior to storing them, unless you’re going to thoroughly dry them off afterward. Be sure to take a paper towel or a clean dishcloth and give them a wipe over, even if you’re not washing them beforehand.
Even better storage practice would be using a mesh produce bag which adds a second layer of protection, especially if there are other veggies in the crisper they might rub up against, damaging their skins.
That said, you should try and spread out all of the produce in the crisper, and do not put any fruits in there with them.
Tightly packed drawers are conducive to faster rotting, whilst fruits are constantly releasing ethylene gas, which makes everything around them deteriorate and break down quicker.
Ensure any storage bags you do use have enough ventilation for the peppers to get regular airflow, as otherwise, they are more likely to spoil at a rapid rate, which is the opposite of what we’re doing here!
The above guidelines are only the case if you haven’t already cut your peppers. Once cut up, half-eaten, or already prepared, your best bet is to pop them in an airtight, sealed container before they hit the fridge.
Hot tip – pop a paper towel in there with them, as this will soak up any unwanted moisture.
How long will peppers last in the fridge?
Well, if they’re intact, raw, and stored properly, approximately a week or two. If you’ve chopped them or they’re cooked, then that reduces to between two and five days before they go bad.
How do you know if your peppers are bad? Gently touch their exterior with a fingertip – nice and firm means they’re good to go, slightly spongy means you should cook before eating, and if there’s any sliminess or mold present, you’re going to want to throw them immediately.
Storing Peppers In The Freezer
If you’ve got some fresh or semi-fresh peppers on your hands and you know you won’t get to them in time, don’t despair! You can toss them in your freezer and ensure you have instant veggies ready to go next time a recipe calls for some.
Peppers of any variety will always freeze up beautifully, though the texture will change somewhat once thawed out, so it’s best to only use frozen ones for cooking rather than enjoying them raw.
In order for them to freeze properly, you need to have chopped your peppers up beforehand. Make sure the stem and all seeds have been removed before cutting in whatever way you prefer – chopped, diced, sliced… it’s all good and they’ll freeze the same.
If you wanted to make stuffed peppers, for example, you can absolutely freeze them whole – first cut off the top and use a spoon to remove the seeds and anything else hanging out on the inside, before replacing the tops – but remember they’ll take up a lot more space than ready-chopped ones.
Depending on what you’ll be using them for, you might want to store them differently. In order to prevent sticking together, spread them out on a baking sheet individually, so they are not touching, and then pop them in the freezer for about an hour or so.
After enough time has passed, pull the tray out and transfer them over to a freezer bag or a sealed, airtight container. This will make sure each individual slice or chunk stays separate if you need to measure a certain amount out for a recipe.
If you don’t have time for this and they’re going straight into a pot to cook anyway, them being stuck together probably doesn’t matter and you can skip the first step.
Make sure you’ve removed as much air as you can from the freezer bag if you’re using one as this will ensure that your peppers stay fresh and tasty for as long as possible, as well as help you to avoid unwanted freezer burn.
How long will peppers last in the freezer?
Provided that you’ve followed the guidelines we’ve laid out to store them correctly, it’s possible you could get them to last for a whole twelve months or longer and still make something delicious after.
This is only the case if your freezer is constantly maintaining a temperature of zero degrees or below – if there’s a chance they might have thawed out, then you should either cook them immediately or dispose of the peppers, as they can’t be refrozen.