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Ways to Preserve Peppers

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Got a bumper crop of peppers from your vegetable garden? Here are ways to preserve peppers to enjoy all winter including drying, freezing, and canning.

overhead image of a pile of mixed peppers

Peppers are so much fun to grow because there are so many tasty varieties to choose from. They come in numerous colors, shapes, and degrees of sweet to hot.

Growing peppers in cooler climates can be challenging. The short growing season, combined with cool, damp weather can result in plants that grow slowly. Often times they don’t begin producing a harvest until well into August. Just when they are hitting their prime…bam, the season ends.

To compensate, I tend to grow a lot of pepper plants in hopes of gathering a good harvest before frost arrives. If the growing conditions are right, and the summers are hot and dry like we’ve been experiencing lately, I will be happy with an unexpected bumper crop.

How to Preserve Peppers

After I have had my fill of grilled salsa, red jalapeño hot sauce, and fajitas, I begin preserving peppers to enjoy through the winter months. Here are some of my favorite ways to preserve peppers to enjoy all winter long:

Freezing Peppers

The easiest way to preserve peppers is to freeze them. Peppers are one of the few vegetables that can be frozen without having to blanch first. Surprisingly, frozen peppers do not turn to mush when thawed either. They do lose some of their crispness, but maintain the flavor of fresh peppers.

You can freeze raw peppers cut into strips for fajitas and stir-fries, roast them first, peel off the skins, remove the seeds, and freeze, and even freeze whole chili peppers. Wear gloves when working with hot peppers.

Jamie Oliver recently shared a clever way to use frozen chile peppers, “Simply pop them in the freezer as they’re fantastic finely grated directly from frozen, which creates a tasty, beautiful chilli dust that is great in cooking and marinades, or for sprinkling over pastas, salads, starters, antipasti, meat or fish dishes!!

Thawed peppers can be used to make salsa, fajitas, or any cooked recipe where you would normally use peppers. Frozen peppers are easy to chop while partially defrosted.

Got an abundance of peppers from your garden? Whether you have hot chiles or sweet bells, here is how to freeze peppers to enjoy all winter long.
How to Freeze Peppers - Hot or Sweet
Got an abundance of peppers from your garden? Whether you have hot chiles or sweet bells, here is how to freeze peppers to enjoy all winter long.
Check out this recipe

Drying Peppers

Drying your pepper harvest is an excellent way to preserve peppers. Dehydrating concentrates the flavor of sweet peppers and heat of chile peppers.

You can add the dried peppers to soups, stews, or chilies and they will rehydrate as they are cooked. Dried peppers can also be crushed into pepper flakes or blended into chili pepper powder.

Got peppers? Drying is an excellent way to preserve peppers. Dehydrating removes the moisture and concentrates the flavor and heat of the peppers.
How to Dry Peppers for Food Storage
Whether you found a great deal on peppers at the farmers market or harvested a bumper crop of chiles, you can turn that bounty into a shelf stable pantry staple that will add lots of flavor to your meals. Here are 3 ways to dry peppers for food storage.
Check out this recipe

Home Canning Peppers

Most of the peppers I grow are used to make and preserve as salsa. I love having a shelf filled with jars of salsa to flavor meals all winter long until the garden produces again.

While salsa is a great way to use up that harvest, there are other ways to can peppers into shelf-stable jars for long term food storage. Here is a collection of safe canning recipes to preserve peppers, including salsas, pickles, and relish:

Traditional Zesty Salsa

A home canned salsa with tomatoes, peppers, onions, and vinegar bite for a classic zesty flavor.

jars of salsa on a table
Zesty Salsa Canning Recipe
This zesty salsa is packed with tomatoes, peppers, onions, and just enough spicy tingle to tickle your taste buds. Preserve your garden harvest with this salsa canning recipe. Open a jar any time and enjoy with tortilla chips or with your favorite Mexican inspired meals.
Check out this recipe

Tomato Jalapeño Salsa

This safe canning recipe uses fresh lime juice instead of vinegar for a more authentic flavor.

half pint jars of jalapeno salsa on a blue towel
Tomato Jalapeño Salsa Canning Recipe
Canning homemade salsa is a delicious way to preserve the harvest. This jalapeño salsa recipe is made from tomatoes, jalapeño peppers, onions, and cilantro from the garden.
Check out this recipe

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

A great way to use up some of those jalapeño or serrano chili peppers is this delicious roasted tomatillo salsa home canning recipe.

jars of tomatillo salsa verde on a blue towel
Roasted Tomatillo Salsa Verde Canning Recipe
Canning roasted tomatillo salsa is a great way to preserve the abundance of tomatillos from the garden. Enjoy with your favorite Mexican recipes.
Check out this recipe

Refrigerator Pickles

Quick pickles rely on vinegar and the cool temperature of the refrigerator to preserve them for a few months. You can chop and pickle any type of pepper with this easy recipe.

jar of mixed vegetables and pickling brine on a table
Mixed Vegetables Refrigerator Pickles
It is so easy to make your own pickles with this versatile refrigerator pickles recipe. Use whatever vegetables you have on hand to make these quick pickles. No canning necessary.
Check out this recipe

Pickled Jalapeño Pepper Rings

If you are aiming for longer-term storage, you can preserve pickled peppers using a water bath canner. This canning recipe is for jalapeño peppers, but you can safely swap the type of peppers used as long as the amount of peppers stays the same.

jars of jalapeno pickles on a table
Pickled Jalapenos Canning Recipe
Did you end up with an over abundance of jalapeño chili peppers this year? Preserve that harvest into shelf-stable jars of sliced pickled jalapenos. They taste hot and spicy with a tangy vinegary kick.
Check out this recipe

Marinated Roasted Red Peppers

Ripe red bell peppers are oven-roasted and preserved in flavorful red-wine vinegar, olive oil, and herb infused brine. This safe canning recipe is similar to the classic Italian marinated roasted red peppers.

jar of roasted red peppers on a table
Marinated Roasted Red Peppers Canning Recipe
This marinated roasted red peppers canning recipe is made with sweet red peppers, roasted and preserved in a flavorful red wine vinegar olive oil marinade.
Check out this recipe

Sweet Cucumber Relish

This sweet and tangy cucumber relish is made with cucumbers, peppers, onions, and flavored with an apple cider vinegar brine infused with pickling spices.

jars of cucumber relish on a table
Sweet Cucumber Relish Canning Recipe
This sweet and tangy cucumber relish is made with cucumbers, peppers, onions, sweetened with brown sugar, and flavored with an apple cider vinegar brine infused with pickling spices.
Check out this recipe

Zucchini and Bell Pepper Relish

In this recipe, zucchini is combined with sweet bell peppers, and onions for a sweet and slightly tart flavored relish that will dress up your burgers, sandwiches, and picnic salads.

Two jars of home canned zucchini relish on a table.
Zucchini Relish Canning Recipe
Making and canning zucchini relish is a great way to preserve the summer glut of zucchini from your vegetable garden.
Check out this recipe

Green Chile Peppers

You can preserve plain peppers with a pressure canner. Any type of pepper can be pressure canned using this method.

jars of home canned green chile peppers on a table
Canning Green Chile Peppers
Whether you have a bumper crop from your garden or decided to buy in bulk, roasting and canning chiles is a great way to preserve them. Learn how to can green chile peppers with this easy recipe.
Check out this recipe

Both sweet and hot peppers can be preserved in several different ways. I hope you have found a way that works for you.

I find that peppers that have thick walls, such as sweet bells, jalapeños are excellent for freezing. Thin-walled cayenne, de arbol, and japones are easy to dry using a dehydrator. And of course, any pepper can be pickled or pressure canned into shelf stable jars for food storage.

What is your favorite method for preserving peppers? Let us know in the comments.

This article was originally published September 3, 2016. It has been updated with more information, recipes, and photos.

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    1. Nancy, Either way works fine. I often toss frozen peppers right in the pan and they thaw out quickly as they cook. Be careful with oil, the moisture from the frozen peppers will cause it to splatter a bit.

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