Preserving Peppers

While today is a beautiful fall day – a bit cool, but warm in the sunshine – I can’t help but feel that first twinge of sadness as I see the end of harvest season and winter looming. This was even more apparent at the farmer’s market today, where some veggies at the end of their season were on sale, most likely precipitated by the past week’s night temps in the rural valleys that came close to freezing.

sweet green peppers

Thus peppers were on sale – 10 for a $1 for small sweet green ones. I have also been getting a veritable bounty of red peppers the past few weeks in the farm share, which have been accumulating in my fridge. One can only eat stuffed or roasted peppers so many days in a row until you feel a bit decadent. Plus, this year’s red peppers were the sweetest I have ever tasted. Hands down. Amazing.  I would love to taste that sweet savoriness in the depths of winter and know that what I was tasting was local and preserved at the peak of its freshness.

So today I plan to freeze some peppers – very easy: chop fresh into large hunks and freeze them in a single flat layer in a plastic freezer bag. I also will do what I did about 3 years ago when I got pounds of amazing red and green peppers the day before I was leaving the country. I roasted them whole in the oven (40 minutes or so at 350 degrees), then cleaned them of their seeds and ribs once cool enough. Then layered in a clean glass jar and covered with olive oil, making sure to eliminate any air bubbles. I kept these in the fridge all winter, sneaking a few sweet roasted peppers for salads, antipasti platters or what have you, with the bonus being the sweet pepper-flavored olive oil that added a nice twist to fried eggs, pastas, salads or potatoes. I plan to experiment with roasting hot peppers and preserving them in oil as well.


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