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).
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.
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).
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:
- One with the original, slightly smoky liquid.
- One with the pepper flesh (without the charred flesh or seeds).
- 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
- Add the peppers into a blender and mix smooth.
- 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).
- 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!
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?