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What Are the Best Tips for Preserving Peppers?

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  • Written By: Christian Petersen
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 08 November 2016
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Preserving of foods at home is becoming more common in the early 21st century after falling out of popularity somewhat towards the end of the last century. More people are looking for ways to save money and to eat healthier foods by growing and preserving more of their own food. Peppers are a popular with home gardeners, and preserving peppers can be done in a number of ways. They can be canned, dried or even frozen, and each method has its advantages and uses.

Canning as a way of preserving peppers is fairly easy. Most important is to have a clean work area and to sanitize all equipment, jars and lids and to use only undamaged jars and lids. Use only the freshest peppers you can find, not using any that are wilted, moldy, or have rotten spots. Wash them carefully before use, and use an established recipe from a reputable source, following it closely to ensure food safety. Failure to follow the recipe and its procedures, especially the instructions for processing, can result in a potentially dangerous product. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) publishes a series of home canning guides that are available online from a number of places that have extensive information about recipes and processing.

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Freezing is another way of preserving peppers. Choose the peppers for freezing with the same care as for canning. Frozen peppers are usually diced before freezing and later used in recipes, such as omelets, chili, spaghetti sauce, and meatloaf, that call for chopped peppers. Dice the peppers to the desired size with the skin on, and freeze in smaller sized zip seal freezer bags. Fill the bags so that when lying flat in the freezer, they are only about 0.5 inches (1.3 cm) or thick, so that chunks can be easily broken off the resulting tile-shaped block when needed.

The last, and perhaps the easiest, of the common methods for preserving peppers, especially hot peppers is to dry them, and while it is possible to sun dry peppers, this is not always practical in many parts of the world, so many people rely on a food dehydrator. As with the other methods, choose only peppers free from decay and insect damage. Dry the peppers in a food dehydrator until they crumble easily, and store them in tightly sealed jars or zip seal plastic bags. Dried hot peppers can be ground to use as a seasoning, or they can be reconstituted, to use in recipes, by soaking them in hot water.

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Melonlity
Post 2

@Soulfox -- here is something else you can do. If you have peppers that are suitable for use as paprika, smoke them just like you've already said (hickory seems to be the most popular wood used for smoking peppers, but there's nothing wrong with mesquite if you are after that "Texas" flavor).

If you are interested in making paprika, you will have to allow your smoked peppers to dry completely before you grind them into paprika.

Soulfox
Post 1

One of the simplest and best ways to preserve hot peppers is to smoke them first (an electric smoker with your favorite type of wood chips will do) and then place the whole peppers in a shaker bottle with vinegar (I think it's called a shaker bottle -- I'm talking about the kind that hot sauce comes in and is made for small amounts of the substance within to be poured or sprinkled).

That's right. That is an easy way to make some homemade hot sauce. Don't mash the peppers up, but do throw in some garlic and a bit of sea salt for taste and store the hot sauce for a year before serving. That will preserve some of your peppers and allow you to add a cool, custom element to your dining experience.

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