For several years I didn’t have a freezer, so I missed buying peppers quite often as I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to get through a whole pack before they went soft.
When I had my freezer I’d got used to just throwing some foods straight into the freezer, without any blanching at all (life’s way too short!). Chilli peppers and bell peppers were two foods that were always available to me with a freezer.
So, to answer the questions “can I freeze peppers?” and “do peppers need blanching?” the short answers are: Yes, No.
To freeze bell peppers (that’s the sort that are round and fist-sized, usually sold in green, red, yellow, orange), you will need to chop them up before you freeze them, but there’s no need to blanch them. No blanching at all!
I try to chop up these peppers in one session, storing them wrapped in foil in a plastic/lidded airtight box in the fridge, making them instantly available for the next few days. But, if I’ve bought a huge bag, or my plans change, then I’ll freeze the peppers.
How to Freeze Peppers
To freeze peppers, give them a wipe down/wash, remove the white stuff on the inside and remove the pips, then chop them up into the size that suits you best – I tend to leave them largish as I can always cut them smaller, later, if I ever really wanted to.
Spread out the pepper slices on a tray, or in a way that they’re not bunched up. Place the tray in the freezer and walk away.
After 1-2 hours the pepper slices will be frozen individually and you can then bag or box them up. Freezing them like this means they won’t be frozen as a solid mass.
When re-using peppers from the freezer they will have lost their crunch; they won’t defrost and be exactly as they were when you first froze them. The peppers will have become floppy. So if you’re after a crunchy pepper sandwich, using frozen peppers probably will leave you disappointed. They are, however, still great for any form of cooking – whether you’re frying peppers, topping a pizza, or using them in your chilli, the peppers are absolutely fine. Also great in hot cheese & pepper toasties or even in a quiche.
Individual peppers can be a bit pricey, so this freezer tip means you can buy the larger bags, or even a reduced price bag of peppers, when you spot a good price, knowing you can easily freeze what you’ve no immediate need for!
If you want to freeze chilli peppers, these are even easier! I’ve always got chilli peppers in the freezer, find out how to freeze chillies here: Can I Freeze Chilli Peppers?