Typically a food we enjoy in the summer, do you ever find yourself craving a sweet banana pepper in the dead of winter?
Stuffed, popped into a lovingly crafted dish, or pickled, the versatile pepper is a great addition to our food plates.
So for those planning to bulk buy when in season, I bet you are dying to know, can you freeze sweet banana peppers?
Well, the answer is yes!
Provided they are prepared properly you can freeze your peppers and enjoy them time and time again.
Let’s get into how to freeze and defrost those peppers, and look at some factors to consider when doing this!
How to freeze sweet banana peppers
There are a few different ways to freeze sweet banana peppers, all of which we will look at here.
First, you need to decide whether you will be freezing the peppers fresh or frozen.
Freezing Fresh Sweet Banana Peppers
To freeze your peppers from fresh, choose the ripest and sweetest ones and rinse them well under running water.
Cut the stems off each pepper and slice them open. Make sure to shake all the seeds out and begin chopping your peppers to their desired size.
If you are planning to use the peppers for cooking only you can remove the skin too.
Leaving the skin on allows the pepper to maintain its crisp texture.
The next step is to get a baking sheet and line it with wax paper. Spread your cut peppers on to the wax paper. Make sure none of the pepper pieces are touching each other.
Pop this into the freezer for them to freeze, this should take several hours or overnight.
Once the peppers are frozen solid you can remove them from the freezer and decant them into freezer bags.
Make sure to remove as much air as possible from the bag before sealing. Label and date the bag before putting it in the freezer.
Freezing Cooked Sweet Banana Peppers
Whether you have stuffed, grilled, or roasted your peppers, leave them to fully cool down.
Once they have completely cooled the peppers can be placed in an airtight rigid container. Be sure to cover the container with cling wrap before sealing.
Label the container and date it before freezing.
How to defrost sweet banana peppers
Defrosting your frozen sweet banana peppers is easy to do and shouldn’t take you long at all!
There are a couple of ways to do this which we shall go through now.
In the Fridge
Defrosting in the fridge is an easy way to defrost your sweet banana peppers and takes very little prep work!
Simply select how many peppers you want to defrost, or the whole bag if you are going sweet banana pepper crazy, and pop them in the fridge to defrost.
It's worth popping the bag or peppers on a plate or bowl first to avoid any ‘sweat’ gathering on your fridge shelves.
These should take several hours or overnight to thaw fully.
This method works for both raw and cooked peppers that have been frozen making your life far simpler!
For the raw peppers you can add them directly to the dish you are cooking once thawed and cooked peppers can be reheated in the microwave for convenience also.
In the Microwave
Those looking for a quicker way to defrost their peppers (or forgot to be super prepared the night before as i often do!) can use the microwave to defrost them.
Putting the peppers in a microwave safe container and into the microwave on your defrost setting.
Be sure to pull the peppers out regularly to ensure they are thawing.
This method will work with raw or cooked peppers, although if you are using the microwave to defrost previously cooked sweet banana peppers, they will now be hot and ready to consume!
If you are defrosting them in the microwave be sure to consume them straight away rather than storing them in the fridge.
This avoids the peppers going bad and all your hard work to waste!
Factors to consider when defrosting sweet banana peppers
Before the bulk buying and pepper freezing begins, check out the following things.
In the freezer, frozen sweet banana peppers have a shelf life of around 8 months. Eating within that time will ensure the best quality for you.
Once defrosted, consume within 3-4 days. It's best to keep them in the fridge too during this time for maximum freshness.
Frozen raw sweet banana peppers should only be used in cooking once defrosted as their texture can change after being frozen.
This still makes them versatile and a great addition to any meals you are preparing.
Cooked peppers can be eaten as they are once defrosted, or warmed back up and enjoyed hot!
Sweet banana peppers have a high water content that when frozen, these water particles can crystallize. This process can cause the pepper to develop a soggy texture.
The change in texture means that once you have frozen the peppers they will not be suitable for stuffing or added fresh to sandwiches or garnishes.
If you have defrosted more peppers than needed, or are running out of time, it is possible to refreeze previously frozen sweet banana peppers.
Make sure they are fully thawed first and have been kept refrigerated.
They can be popped back into the freezer and refrozen, however it is worth noting that the texture changes will still occur, so it is worth only defrosting as many peppers as you need!
Sweet banana peppers are a great delicacy and as you can freeze them they can now be enjoyed all year long!
Be sure to freeze them properly whether you are freezing them from fresh or cooked peppers.
The defrosting process is simple and can be done overnight in the fridge.
Providing the peppers are consumed within a few days and used in cooking only, you can enjoy them freely.
Remember that the texture will change with the pepper seeming soggy but that the great flavour should remain the same!