Megan Cain is setting out to create a legion of gardening addicts that successfully and passionately grow their own food. Through her gardening education business, The Creative Vegetable Gardener, she helps people get more from their gardens by first mastering the essentials and then indulging in the colorful details that make gardening not just a favorite pastime, but a lifestyle.
Last winter when I popped into Whole Foods to pick up some ingredients for dinner I noticed a big sign proclaiming, Red Pepper Sale! I walked over to check it out and the sign further explained – Red Peppers, $3.99 each.
I quickly calculated in my head how many red peppers I had in my freezer at home – at least 50. Wow! That meant I had $200 worth of red peppers in my basement. I smiled to myself as I thought of all the money I had saved by preserving my extra peppers during the harvest season that past summer.
Red peppers are one of my favorite vegetables to grow in my garden. They’re deliciously sweet, beautifully colored, and one of the vegetables that provides a great payback because they’re so expensive to buy. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of harvesting a bucket full of red peppers from the garden on a summer morning. I always feel so rich!
But, you can only eat so many fresh red peppers in salads, on pizza and with veggie dip. Eventually you might start to giving them away to coworkers, neighbors and friends. This year, instead of getting rid of your extra red peppers, try putting some away for winter eating.
The great thing about peppers is that they’re super easy to preserve. You don’t need any special equipment and you don’t have to slave away for hours in front of a hot stove. Peppers just need to be chopped into pieces and put into containers. It doesn’t get much easier than that. Listen to a podcast or chat on the phone while chopping, and before you know it, you’ll be finished.
If you didn’t grow peppers in your garden this year, you can still preserve some for winter eating. Visit your local farmers market during the height of the harvest season and shop around for bulk deals. I guarantee you won’t be paying $4 per pepper like you will be in the winter!
How to Freeze Peppers
Prep Materials Needed: Cutting board, knife.
Best Storage Containers: Freezer bags or glass mason jars.
Easy Storage Directions:
1. De-stem and de-seed peppers. (You can leave hot pepper seeds in if you want!)
2. Chop into desired bite sized pieces.
3. Peppers can be frozen raw, so simply pack them into your containers.
4. If the peppers are dry when frozen they shouldn’t stick together. If you want to make sure they remain loose, spread them on a cookie sheet for an hour in the freezer and then pack them into containers.
Favorite Recipes with Peppers from the Freezer: In the winter we use our frozen red peppers several times a week in home cooked meals such as vegetarian burritos, curries, fried rice dishes, Shepherd’s Pie and frittatas.
Join me in the upcoming FREE 7 Day Challenge – Make Your Garden Harvest Last All Year. I’ll help you get started preserving the harvest in the simplest ways possible so you have a pantry full of mouth-watering vegetables to use in your recipes way beyond the gardening season. Join here (http://www.creativevegetablegardener.com/challenge)