Look at that yummy harvest! There was just one thing--I had the opportunity to go out of town for a week, and I knew my guys would never eat all those peppers. I'd have to process them for long-term storage.
I picked a whole bunch of jalapeños from my two little bushes, too, but that's another post for another day. Promise. :)
Processing Sweet Peppers for Freezer Storage
Any sweet peppers will work! This year I planted Giant Marconi sweet green peppers, after having not-so-great luck with regular green. These are longer and have thinner skins, but are just as sweet and they are prolific on the bush. Red, yellow, green--any sweet peppers will work with this method!
First, harvest them! Okay, okay, but really. Get 'em all inside, put 'em in a big colander, and rinse them well with cool/cold water.
Remove the stem, slice them lengthwise, cut out the white parts, rinse the seeds out, and dice them up. I usually dice about 1" square or so, not very uniform.
While you're doing all that, bring a pot (I use a six-quart pot with a steamer insert) of water to a boil. I leave the lid on until I'm ready to use it, then leave the lid off for this part--mostly because I twister-tie the steamer insert handles together, so I can lift out the basket with all the veggies inside.
While the water is coming to a boil, fill the steamer basket with green pepper pieces. When the water is boiling, slowly lower the steamer basket into the water. It'll take about a minute to come to a boil again; boil for three minutes.
After three minutes, lift the steamer basket out, let the water drain, and carefully pour the blanched peppers into a bowl of very cold or ice water (feel free to use ice cubes!). Keep the water cold. What I did was to use the coldest tap water I could, then drained the peppers and filled up again with cold water. We use filtered water to make our ice cubes and I didn't want to waste that on this project.
After three minutes in the cold water--which stops the cooking process--drain the peppers and lay them out on lint-free cloth (non-terry, something without fuzz).
Fold the cloth over on itself and gently pat down to absorb excess water.
The peppers don't need to be dry; just pat out as much water as you can. Then, measure out the peppers into freezer bags. I measure two cups of peppers for each quart-size freezer bag. You may also use a sealer (I actually have one that hubby bought at a garage sale, but I've never used it).
Seal the bags. Here's my dorky but helpful next step: Open a bag at its center and insert a straw. Seal as much as you can, then suck out as much air as you can. Pull the straw out with your lips as you seal the bag all the way shut. This gives a nice airtight seal and keeps much of the oxygen out, which helps preserve your veggies for a longer period of time.
Et voilà! There they are, four bags, eight cups, of chopped sweet peppers!
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