What can you do with your excess harvest jalapenos? You can freeze them! Is it as simple as it sounds? Here’s how to freeze jalapenos and other hot peppers.
There are two main methods of freezing Jalapenos and other hot peppers. Keep them whole – if they’re small enough – or slice them, put them in freezer bags and into the freezer. Alternatively, chop them small, put them in ice cube trays, and then in bags in the freezer.
How to Freeze Jalapenos and other Hot Peppers
Exposure to oxygen is the greatest downfall of the frozen jalapeno. If you do not freeze your jalapenos in the right form and the right bags, they will develop frost buildup and freezer burn after a few months.
You can freeze jalapenos whole or sliced. How you choose to freeze your peppers depends on how you intend to use them after freezing.
Option 1 – How to Freeze Jalapenos and other Hot Peppers Whole
Freezing jalapenos whole is the easiest way to freeze them. They are small peppers so they can be conveniently frozen whole.
Most hot peppers, such as habaneros, etc. are also small and freeze well without chopping.
Freezing jalapenos whole allows you to use them in any way you like. You will also be able to preserve its original shape, avoid oxidation and probable chili oil burns in your hands.
Warning – Do not handle any peppers without first putting on plastic or rubber gloves. These hot peppers contain the compound capsaicin making them a skin irritant.
Wash your hands with soap and hot water after handling jalapenos. Also, thoroughly wash the kitchen equipment you use.
To Freeze Jalapenos Whole:
1. Remove the top stem from the peppers.
2. Thoroughly clean the peppers with cold water and dry them using paper towels.
3. Place the peppers in freezer bags.
4. Press the freezers to expel as much air as possible.
5. Seal the bags.
6. Label the bags with the date of the freeze
7. Place the bags in the freezer.
You can also opt to Blanche the jalapenos before freezing them, although this is an optional step.
Blanche the peppers in rapidly boiling water for about 3 minutes.
Transfer the peppers to a bowl with ice water and allow them to cool for about 5 minutes.
Blot off excess water and place the peppers in freezer bags.
Option 2: How to Freeze Jalapenos and other Hot Peppers Pre-Sliced
You can freeze pre-sliced jalapenos or other peppers if you are short on freezer space. Freezing sliced jalapenos is also your best option if you fancy stuffed peppers or diced jalapenos.
This will save you the trouble of having to slice the jalapenos after they have been frozen and defrosted:
- Remove the limp and soft jalapenos so they will not affect the good peppers.
- Wash the jalapenos in cold running water. Rinse and drain them in a colander. Allow the jalapenos to air dry or towel dry them with a paper towel.
- Remove the stems from the jalapenos.
- Slice the jalapeno open. Avoid slicing the pepper in half.
- Scoop out the seeds.
- Cut the peppers into any size or shape you want (in halves, in rounds, or diced).
- Flash freeze the jalapenos to keep them from freezing together.
- To flash freeze the jalapenos, line a cookie sheet with a silicone baking mat and spread the pieces of peppers on the sheet.
- Make sure the pepper slices do not touch one another. Place the cookie sheet into the freezer for one hour.
- After flash freezing, pack the jalapenos into reusable silicone bags. Press the bags flat to expel excess air and seal them.
- Label the bags before freezing them.
- Your diced jalapenos will look like the rest of your peppers so it is better to label them so you do not mistake them for the other peppers you have.
- Write on the label the date of freeze, too.
Other Freezing Options
You can freeze diced jalapenos by placing them in an ice cube tray. When frozen, remove the jalapeno cubes and transfer them to freezer bags.
Each jalapeno cube is about 2 tablespoons of diced jalapenos.
You can also roast the jalapenos before freezing them. Roasted frozen jalapenos can add a lot of flavor to dishes such as salsa, enchiladas, and chili.
Tips When Freezing Jalapenos
Make sure to expel as much air within the freezer bag as possible.
You can squeeze all the air out of the bag, vacuum seal the jalapenos, or use a straw to suck up as much air as possible.
Expelling the air from the freezer bags will prevent freezer burn and can help extend the storage life of your jalapenos.
Whether you are freezing whole or pre-sliced jalapenos, removing as much air as possible from the freezer bags is the most important step.
Your jalapenos can keep in the freezer for an indefinite period but they are best used within six months.
Make sure to label the bags of your jalapenos so you do not mistake them with other peppers, especially the milder ones.
You do not need to thaw jalapenos if they are used in a cooked dish. They will thaw while being cooked in the pan.
Frozen jalapenos, as well as other frozen hot peppers, work best in baked and cooked dishes. They are also just fine in salads and raw salsas.
Can these Freezing Methods be used for Other Peppers?
Yes. Almost all spicy peppers, just like jalapenos, can be frozen whole. Larger peppers, though, such as bell peppers, should be sliced before freezing so you can save on freezer space.
What can be Done with Frozen Jalapenos?
You can use thawed jalapenos as if they were fresh.
They will not be as crunchy as fresh jalapenos, especially when they are blanched before freezing, but they will have the same heat level and flavor as the fresh ones.
Here’s what you can do with frozen jalapenos.
Stir-frying. Throw a few frozen jalapenos into the pan.
Add to Pasta. Thaw frozen jalapenos and dice to add to your pasta dish.
Fresh salsa. Thaw and dry frozen jalapenos in paper towels. Chop the peppers for salsa.
Jalapeno Poppers. Use frozen jalapenos for jalapeno poppers. Blanched jalapenos before freezing will, however, not be that stiff to support the filling of the popper. Ass whipped cheesy dip if the jalapenos are too limp.
You can use frozen jalapenos in any dish you would use fresh jalapenos.
How to Thaw Frozen Jalapenos
You do not need to thaw frozen jalapenos if you are going to stir fry or use them in stews, soups, or other dishes. You can just toss the frozen jalapenos into the pan.
If you need softer jalapenos for dishes such omelets, then you will need to thaw them.
Thawing is easier than freezing jalapenos.
Remove your needed quantity of jalapenos from the freezer bag. Place them on a paper towel to allow them to absorb any excess moisture.
Once the jalapenos are thawed, they are like fresh jalapenos except that they will be mushy, soft, and not that crisp. However, they will have the same flavor and have the same heat level.
Re-seal the freezer bag with the rest of the jalapenos. Expel any excess air. Place bag back in the in the freezer.
Jalapenos are small and very hot peppers that are green or red. They are between 5 to 10 cm in size and come from the chili pepper family. They come with a unique spicy taste and flavor.
Jalapenos are rich in nutrients containing lots of vitamins and a substantial amount of minerals, fibers, calories, and antioxidants.
Jalapenos are used in almost all Mexican dishes but they are now used in many dishes and recipes all over the world. They are great for your salsa and chiles. They also cheer up your pizza and nachos.
Jalapenos are harvested only during summer. You can preserve jalapenos by making them into syrup. You can also freeze them so you can preserve them all year round. How to freeze jalapenos?
How Long do Jalapenos Last?
The shelf life of jalapenos depends on where and how you store them.
You can keep your fresh and whole jalapenos on the counter and it will remain fresh for a day or two. Chopped or sliced jalapenos will be good for a few hours on the counter.
You can store fresh and whole jalapenos in the pantry and they will be good for three to five days. Be careful, though, to keep your jalapenos out of temperature fluctuations in your kitchen to make them last longer.
Jalapenos in the Fridge
Your fresh and whole jalapenos will last for about one to two weeks in the fridge. It will depend, though, on the freshness of the jalapenos at the time of storage. Store them in the vegetable drawer to keep moisture away.
Store sliced jalapenos in an air-tight container or storage bag. Make sure to expel as much air as possible from the bags.
Jalapenos in the Freezer
You can freeze jalapenos whole, chopped, or sliced. They can be frozen for up to a year but will be best when used within 6 months.
How to Tell if your Jalapenos Has Gone Bad
The most apparent sign of frozen jalapenos going bad is discoloration or dry spots. This means your jalapenos have developed freezer burn.
This does not mean that the frozen jalapenos are unsafe to eat. Spots are only signs of aging and do not necessarily mean they have gone bad.
You just have to make sure that the inside of the jalapenos is fine. You can also smell them to make sure it still smells fresh.
The taste, level of spiciness, and texture of the peppers will be affected, though. Spoiled jalapenos will also start to develop molds and are super soft.
Immediately discard the peppers as you notice these.
Once you notice one frozen jalapeno has gone bad, make sure to check the rest of the bunch. One bad jalapeno can cause the others to go bad, too.
It is important to note that although jalapenos can stay “fresh” in the freezer for over a year, they are best used within six months.
Frequently Asked Questions regarding Jalapenos
How long can you freeze Jalapenos?
You can freeze jalapenos for over a year but it is best to use them within 6 months. You may notice some negative changes in color and/or flavor after they have been frozen for over a year.
Does Freezing Make the Jalapenos Lose Heat?
Freezing is good for preserving jalapenos. Freezing locks in jalapenos’ original levels of heat so none of the original capsaicin is lost.
If you plan to use your jalapenos to spice up your dishes or make hot sauces in the future, freezing the peppers is your best option.
Do Jalapenos Lose their Flavor when Frozen?
Frozen food loses some of its flavors over time. The same is true with jalapenos. If frozen properly, though, it will take a while for your jalapenos to lose their flavors.
Frozen jalapenos will be able to retain their original flavors within 6 months as long as you follow the freezing steps mentioned above.
Freezer burn is a sign there is something wrong with your freezing method.
Do Jalapenos Lose their Nutrients when Frozen?
No. Frozen jalapenos retain most of their nutrients. Most of the vitamins and minerals remain intact in frozen jalapenos.
It is not that difficult to freeze jalapenos and other hot peppers. Not much preparation needs to be done on the peppers.
You only need to remove the seeds before freezing.
Frozen peppers will soften when you thaw them, making removing the seeds more difficult.
You can blanche them before freezing but this is an optional step.
It is also important to package jalapenos in the right freezer bags to keep the flavors intact. Storing them in the right freezer bags will also prevent freezer burn.
It is also important to expel the bags as much air as possible to keep moisture away.
Final Thoughts on the freezing of Jalapenos and other Hot Peppers
The right way to freeze jalapenos allows you to enjoy your jalapenos – and other hot peppers – over a longer time period.
This article will get you started – but practise makes perfect.
We have developed, during this article, a longing for a good peppery, spicy meal, and we’re off now to defrost a batch of Jalapenos we froze a few weeks ago.
If you can’t stop thinking about how they’ll taste, and if you can’t fight it – eat it!