I am slowly dipping my toes into the waters of food preserving this summer. Over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to be trying my hand at water-bath canning, but I thought I’d start with something simpler to gain some confidence. I’m usually not this hesitant to try new things, and I honestly can’t explain where my lack of confidence is coming from, but it’s there.
So I decided to start with freezing first. At the end of summer, red bell peppers are most plentiful and the least expensive. When I found an amazing deal on them, six for $1.99, I snatched them up. I know that I’m going to need roasted red peppers to make hummus throughout the year, so I decided to roast the peppers and freeze them in hummus-ready batches. For me, it makes sense to preserve food with some sort of plan for its use in mind. I’ll be much more likely to use it over the winter if I do it that way.
My first attempt, as far as I can tell, was a success. I’ve already used one of the frozen batches in hummus, and I was so proud of myself it was silly.
Here’s how to roast and freeze red peppers, my way.
- Place your oven rack about 5 inches from the broiler and turn it on high.
- Coat peppers with a light coating of olive oil and salt. Place them on a baking sheet in two lines lengthwise.
- Place peppers under the broiler with the baking sheet lengthwise so that the peppers are an even distance from the flame on both the left and right.
- Keep a good eye on the peppers. When the tops of the peppers get nice and black, turn them so that another side can do the same. Not all peppers will blacken at the same time. You might need to do a little repositioning and take some of them out of the oven before others.
- When all sides of all peppers are blackened, place them in a paper bag and close it for 10-15 minutes. The steam created inside the paper bag will loosen the skin to make it easy to remove.
- Spread steamed peppers on a surface and allow them to cool until you can safely handle them. Remove the skins from the peppers. They should easily slide off with your fingers.
- Then cut the peppers open and remove the seeds and membranes.
- At this point, you need to decide what size batches you want to freeze. For my roasted red pepper hummus recipe, I use one and a half peppers. I placed one and a half peppers in BPA-free 8-ounce Ball Plastic Freezer Jars and let them stand open until the peppers inside were cool. Then I placed the twist on lid on each jar and put them in the freezer.
- Because I knew I’d be using the peppers to make hummus, I didn’t add any olive oil to the top to help keep the peppers moist in the freezer. If I were going to use the peppers for something like a roasted red pepper and provolone tray, I’d have added oil to cover the peppers to keep them moist.
- I chose the plastic freezer jars because I have very little freezer space. Glass jars would have been more environmentally friendly but definitely more bulky. Zipper bags could also be used, but I like the fact that the plastic jars can be reused over and over.
- If you’re sensitive to the heat of peppers on your skin, use kitchen gloves when handling the roasted peppers. And watch out when you touch your eyes or face when you’re working with the peppers. I’ve learned by experience that a good eye rub in the middle of working with peppers can be a painful ordeal.
Have you frozen roasted peppers to preserve them? Which method do you use?
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