Sweet banana peppers are known for their distinctive bright yellow color, mildly tangy flavor, and banana-like shape. This sweet pepper variety is often served stuffed, added in cooking or pickled. Since it’s abundant in the summer season, sweet banana peppers are often bought in bulk. So what if you bought more sweet banana peppers than you can handle? Can you freeze sweet banana peppers?
Sweet banana peppers freeze wonderfully as long they are prepared the right way. Do note that frozen sweet banana peppers should be strictly used in cooking. The thawed peppers could retain their natural flavors although they will lose their texture.
Image used under Creative Commons from karen_hine
These types of sweet peppers have a high water content. Freezing the peppers causes the water particles to crystallize. This triggers the contraction of the cell, which causes the peppers to develop a soggy texture. This means once frozen, you cannot serve the sweet banana peppers stuffed or added fresh to sandwiches, garnishes, and hors-d’oeuvres.
Freezing Fresh Sweet Banana Peppers
Start by choosing the ripest, freshest sweet banana peppers and then rinsing them well under running water. Using a sharp knife, cut each stem off and slice the sweet peppers open. Shake the seeds out and chop the peppers to your desired size.
If you’re using the peppers strictly for cooking, you can remove the skin too. Leaving the skins on helps retain the peppers’ crisp texture.
Now, get a baking sheet and line it with wax paper. Spread the cut sweet peppers on the wax pepper and stick the baking sheet in the freezer. The pepper pieces should not touch each other. Leave the sweet peppers to freeze for several hours to overnight.
Once the sweet peppers are frozen solid, take the baking sheet out of the freezer. Prepare several heavy-duty resealable plastic bags. Place the cut peppers into the plastic bag and remove as much air as possible prior to sealing. Seal the plastic bag, write the storage date then stick in the freezer.
Freezing Cooked Sweet Banana Peppers
Assuming that the sweet peppers have been stuffed, char-grilled, or roasted prior to freezing, leave the cooked peppers to cool completely. Once the sweet banana peppers have cooled completely, place them in an airtight rigid plastic container. Cover the container with cling wrap prior to sealing. Seal the container, write the storage date, then stick in the freezer.
Apart from freezing, you can also preserve the sweet banana peppers through canning, pickling, drying.
Canning Sweet Banana Peppers
Prepare the sweet peppers by cutting off the stems and shaking out the seeds. Cut the peppers to your desired sizes. Prepare a lined baking sheet and place the sweet peppers in a single layer. Bake the peppers at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 6 minutes or until the skin begins to blister. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and give them an ice bath. The skin should peel off easily at this point.
Sterilize several canning jars by boiling them in water for at least 3 minutes. Then, place the chili peppers in the canning jar, along with about ¼ teaspoon of salt. Fill the canning jar with hot water, leaving about an inch of space. Close the jar with the lid and secure with a lid ring. Set the jar in the pressure canner and set the pressure canner accordingly.
Pickling Banana Sweet Peppers
Make a brine by stirring 3 tablespoons of salt and 2 tablespoons of sugar in a cup of white vinegar. Pour the solution into a pot and simmer over medium heat until the ingredients dissolved completely. Leave the brine to cool.
Prepare the sweet peppers by cutting off the stems and shaking out the seeds. Cut the peppers to your desired sizes. Place the sweet peppers into canning jars. Add your favorite spices then pour the brine until the peppers are covered with the liquid. Close the lid and store in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
Image used under Creative Commons from Cheryl
Drying Banana Sweet Peppers
Dehydrating or drying the banana sweet peppers is a terrific way to preserve the vegetable while enhancing their natural flavors. Prepare the sweet peppers by cutting off the stems and shaking out the seeds. Cut the peppers to your desired sizes.
There are many ways of drying the sweet peppers, you can either air-dry or oven-dry the peppers as well as use a food dehydrator.
Air-Drying: This is the simplest and easiest way to dry any type of vegetables. Just spread the cut pepper on a flat container. Set the container somewhere that gets a lot of airflow and sunshine. Depending on the humidity in the air, it could take 2 to 4 weeks to dry the sweet peppers fully.
Oven-Drying: Set the prepped peppers on a lined baking sheet in a single layer. Place the peppers in the oven and bake at 150 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 to 2 hours or until fully dried. Leave the oven door open slightly to allow the moisture to dissipate. Check the sweet peppers every 30 minutes and rotate the pepper pieces for even drying.
Once the sweet peppers are dry, you can pack them in a resealable plastic container. To rehydrate the peppers, submerge them in water.
When kept in the freezer, fresh sweet banana peppers will keep for 6 months to 12 months. This goes especially if the temperature is kept at a steady 0 degrees Fahrenheit. For cooked banana sweet peppers, the shelf life is much shorter, about 4 to 6 months. Frozen sweet banana peppers should be consumed as soon as possible for optimal flavor.
To thaw frozen and cooked sweet banana peppers, just transfer the container to the fridge. Leave the peppers to thaw for several hours to overnight. For frozen raw sweet banana peppers, you can add the peppers directly to the dish you’re cooking.
Can you freeze sweet banana peppers? Sweet banana peppers may be tricky to store but they do freeze wonderfully when prepared properly! Just keep these storage tips in mind to extend the shelf life of sweet banana peppers.