This is a quick and easy to follow guide on how to preserve hot peppers in different ways. Find out how to can hot peppers, how to pickle hot peppers, or even how to make dry chili flakes!
Hot peppers are a delicious addition to your meals and they’re also full of vitamins and nutrients. But what do you do with the extra hot peppers? You can preserve them in various ways to keep them fresh for months. In this article, I’ll show you how to choose the best hot peppers for preserving, then how to can or freeze them so that they’ll be ready when you want them!
- How to choose the best hot peppers for preserving
- Canning hot peppers
- How to make pickled hot peppers
- Blanching and freezing hot peppers
- How to make hot pepper infused oil (cold method)
- Making hot pepper powder
How to choose the best hot peppers for preserving
When it comes to preserving hot peppers, the fresher the better. To ensure top-quality peppers for your homemade hot sauce or salsa, look for specimens that are firm and have a shiny skin. Hot peppers are also easiest to preserve when they are fresh. In fact, if you let them sit around too long after picking them from their plants, they will begin to lose flavor and texture as the moisture evaporates out of their flesh.
So how do you tell whether a pepper is truly in its prime? The best way is by looking at its color: if it’s darker than what’s on display at your local supermarket, it might be overripe and therefore less suitable for canning or freezing.
If you happen to have a lot of peppers that are in need of eating, there are plenty of ways to use them up. Not only do they taste great on their own as a snack or side dish, but they also add an extra kick of flavor when cooked into everything from soups and stews to sandwiches and salads. Hot peppers have amazing health benefits, so make sure you add them often to your diet.
Here are some recipes for different dishes that feature hot peppers:
- Vegan Chili Con Carne /// Chili Sin Carne
- 10 Cozy Chili Recipes You’ll Want To Make This Season
- 10 Hot & Spicy Vegan Recipes
- Spicy Hummus Beiruti
- Spicy Pumpkin Soup
- Batata Harra | Spicy Roasted Potatoes
- Spicy Vegan Lentil Cakes
- Spicy Chili and Mint Yogurt Dip
Canning hot peppers
To can hot peppers, you’ll need:
- Jars with lids that seal
- A pot or other heatproof container for your jars (a pressure cooker is ideal)
- Sterilized tongs and a funnel to transfer the hot pepper mixture into the jars, if necessary
Whether you decide to use a pot or pressure cooker depends on how many peppers you are preserving. If you’re canning only one quart at a time and have no plans to increase your batch size in the future, then using a pot will suffice. If you wish to preserve several quarts of hot peppers at once or regularly make large batches of them, however, then getting yourself some kind of fully automated machine would be advantageous both financially and practically—pressure cookers come pre-packaged with various accessories like thermometers that allow their users greater control over temperature while cooking foods such as vegetables or meat products (which would otherwise require constant monitoring).
Time needed: 1 hour
Learn how to easily can hot pepper by following the steps below:
- Sterilize the jars.
You can do this by washing them with hot water and soap, then placing them in the top rack of your dishwasher on its hottest setting for 15 minutes or so (alternatively, you may place them in boiling water for 5 minutes).
- Prepare the peppers for canning.
If you’re using fresh peppers, then wash them and remove their stems and seeds. Alternatively, you can just wash them and pickle/dry them whole.
- Fill the jars with pepper pieces and hot water.
Use a slotted spoon to transfer your peppers into the sterilized canning jars, then add enough boiling water to cover them entirely (you may use a ladle for this). Add one tablespoon of salt. Note that you don’t want to fill the jars too full—leave some space between the top of your food product and its lid so that air can escape during cooking.
- Seal the jars.
Use a canning funnel to fill your canning lids with hot water, then screw them onto each jar tightly until you feel resistance (this ensures that no air will be able to escape during cooking).
- Boil the jars with peppers in water for 20 minutes.
Once all of your jars are filled and sealed, place them into a large pot and cover with water so that they are completely submerged (make sure there is at least 1 inch above them). Bring this mixture to a full boil over high heat before reducing heat and allowing it to simmer for 20 minutes.
- Cool the jars.
After 20 minutes of cooking, remove your jars from heat and allow them to sit undisturbed until they are completely cool (this may take several hours).
How to make pickled hot peppers
How to pickle hot peppers:
- Wash the peppers. You can either pickle them whole or sliced and with seeds and stems removed.
- Cut them into slices, or leave them whole.
- Combine 50% water with 50% vinegar. Bring to a boil.
- Place them in a jar or other container and pour the boiling vinegar solution over them until covered (you can add some spices like garlic). Put the lid on. Let it cool completely and it will seal, then you can refrigerate and eat after a week or so. They should keep for up to a year in a refrigerator.
IMPORTANT: Wear gloves! This is a lesson I had to learn the hard way. I didn’t think the peppers were that hot and I just cut them with my bare hands. I didn’t feel anything during the whole canning process, then after 40 minutes, it hit me… badly. My hands burned for 3 hours straight. So, wear gloves and don’t touch your face.
The pickling process takes a coupe of days and will result in a tangy, spicy flavor. You can use any type of vinegar you like, but apple cider vinegar is recommended as it gives the peppers a sweet undertone. However, white vinegar works just as well.
You can also add some spices to the mix. Garlic works well, but don’t go overboard—you don’t want to overpower your peppers.
If you want to make your own sweet pickled peppers, try adding some sugar and water to the vinegar. This will give the peppers a sweeter taste.
If you want to keep them at room temperature, follow the sterilizing process mentioned above.
Freezing Hot Peppers
You can freeze fresh-picked hot peppers whole by simply placing them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and freezing overnight until solidified then transferring into freezer bags once frozen solid . Refrigerate these for up to 2 months if needed but most recipes call for freshness so I would recommend eating these within one month .
Also, you freeze them already chopped, placed in ice cube trays. When you need some hot peppers for a spicy dish, simply take a cube out and put it in the meal.
The important thing is to use a quality freezer bag for freezing your peppers. It will help prevent freezer burn and keep the peppers fresh longer. You can also store them in the refrigerator if needed but freezing them is recommended for most recipes . If you have a large amount of peppers to freeze, you can also blanch them in boiling water for about 30 seconds then transfer to ice water to stop the cooking process (this also helps prevent browning). Pat dry before freezing them or transferring them for further processing like making hot sauce or salsa .
How to make hot pepper infused oil
It’s easy. Just pour some olive oil in a bottle, add 2-3 dry whole hot peppers and a tablespoon of dry chili flakes. Mix and let it sit at room temperature for at least a month before using.
Making Hot Pepper Powder
In this step, you’ll be removing the seeds and ribs from your peppers. You can do this with a knife or pliers. Next, place your peppers in a dehydrator. Alternatively, you can use a convection oven on a lower temperature.
After the drying period is over and when they seem dry enough (but not too dry), remove them from the heat source and grind them into a powder using a mortar and pestle or even just an old coffee grinder like I did. IMPORTANT: I learned it the hard way. DO NOT INHALE THE DUST FROM HOT PEPPERS. When you open the blender or coffee grinder a cloud of dust will appear, it will make you cough like crazy and irritate your eyes if you inhale it. I did. I almost died. :)) Kidding, but it was bad.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature until ready to use.
You can use this powder with any dish that calls for dried peppers. It’s great in soups, stews and sauces as well as marinades for meat or vegetables. You can also mix it into ground meat to add some spice and flavor!
The most important thing to remember when preserving hot peppers is to use a tested recipe and follow the directions carefully. It’s also important to know that there are many different methods for preserving hot peppers, so experiment with different types of preserves until you find one that suits your tastes and needs!