Roasted Red Peppers – Preserving 101 (Freezing)

In my TEDxToronto speech (Preserving Food: You are What You Eat) I mentioned preserving red peppers in the fall.  I claimed we save $100 a year.  A bushel of red peppers weighs around 30 pounds and is worth around $20 in the fall (you can buy them at farmers stands and European grocery stores).  Red peppers can easily reach $4 a pound or more in the winter so the bushel would be worth $120 if bought individually.

You can preserve the lot in about an hour (with less than half of that time actually requiring you to work; the rest of the time you are waiting for things are can do anything else).

Roasted Red Peppers   Preserving 101 (Freezing) red pepper Pepper October

We’ve written about preserving roasted red peppers by freezing before, but I’ve learned a few new tricks and thought I’d share them.

Since we don’t have a BBQ, I place them under the broiler.  I cut the tops off (and blended them into a fresh tomato sauce) because I think it makes them cool faster at the end.

Roasted Red Peppers   Preserving 101 (Freezing) red pepper Pepper October

It’s optional to toss them in a bit of olive oil and season with salt and pepper, but I did.

Place them under the oven on broil and wait for them to burn, flip once and pull them out once the other side is burned (this will take 15-25 minutes depending on how close they are to the element).

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Now for a big-time trick: drain the juices from the cookie sheet into a bowl and place the peppers in a separate bowl.  Leave the juice to the side and taste it.  It should be slightly smoky but not overbearing.

I now let my peppers cool in a metal bowl instead of plastic bags because I don’t trust plastic like I used to.  Toss them a few time to help them cool quicker.

Peel the skin and the seeds (discarding them) and place the peeled peppers in a 3rd bowl.  When you’re done, you’ll be left with 3 bowls:

  1. One with the original, slightly smoky liquid.
  2. One with the pepper flesh (without the charred flesh or seeds).
  3. A final bowl (that you cooled the peppers in) which will have more liquid.  Taste it and you’ll find it’s probably a little too smoky to be eaten like that!

Frozen Roasted Red Pepper Puree – Instructions

  1. Add the peppers into a blender and mix smooth.
  2. Add the first bowl of liquid (a bit at a time) and taste as you go. You’ll likely use all of it (if you don’t use all of it, skip the next step).
  3. Add a small bit of the smoky liquid, blend and taste.  Stop when you like the taste!

These steps will increase your yield by as much as 25% and I think the final product tastes even better!

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We then freeze them in ice cube trays before transferring them to a container to store in the fridge.  Add to sauces, stir fry, soup and more.

What would you do with these?

Comments

  1. This is wonderful. Thanks! Oh, and I would add them to my turkey dressing (which is a mix of sausage, mushroom, and Italian parsley). Yum.

  2. We like to submerge the roasted red peppers into olive oil and refrigerate. You get wonderful peppers at immediate hand, and a great flavored olive oil!

    Love the blog! Thanks for all you do! :)

  3. Preserving the roasted smoky peppers, cut into bite size pieces, in garlic, oregano, salt and covered with olive oil in a mason jar in the fridge, is fantastic as a condiment on salads or with meat. We love it.

  4. I always have peeled and frozen red peppers at my house… for ajvar and red pepper salad…better check out the ajvar post of mine. :) V

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