A few years ago, if you’d told me I’d be excited about organizing veggies in my refrigerator on a Friday night, I wouldn’t have believed you for a million bucks. But here I am – 26 and all set to do exactly that. That’s adulting, I guess.
The first thing my mom taught me about storing fruits and veggies the right way is to not keep them together. These produce apparently give off a certain gas that spoils other food in the vicinity. Survival of the best.
So, I was making some stuffed bell peppers for dinner the other day. And like always, I went ahead and sliced open one too many bell peppers than needed.
And here I am – again. You already know what this article is about. Let’s go!
Table Of Content
- 1 How To Store Cut Bell Peppers?
- 1.1 How To Store Whole Bell Peppers?
- 1.2 Can You Refrigerate Bell Peppers?
- 1.3 Can You Freeze Bell Peppers?
- 1.4 How To Pickle Bell Peppers?
- 1.5 What Happens If You Eat Spoiled Bell Peppers?
- 1.6 Choosing The Right Bell Peppers
How To Store Cut Bell Peppers?
Once the bell peppers are sliced, you need to pat them dry using paper towels. Next, store them in an airtight container or a sealed plastic bag. You can also transfer the peppers to a bowl and seal it tightly with plastic wrap.
After the peppers are properly sealed, transfer them to the crisper or produce drawer away from cooked food and meat. The refrigerator’s temperature should be set to 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below. This way, the peppers will be good to eat even after 3-4 days.
How To Store Whole Bell Peppers?
If you plan to use the bell peppers soon, simply leaving them on the countertop at room temperature would be good enough without compromising on the freshness.
Goes without saying, but it’s best to keep them in a produce bag the whole time to prevent mold and decay.
So, what about refrigerating the bell peppers? How’s that done? Let’s find out.
Can You Refrigerate Bell Peppers?
Yes, you can refrigerate bell peppers. In fact, it’s the best way to store bell peppers if you plan to use them after a week or so.
First, make sure the peppers are dry since excess moisture will lead to spoilage. Pack the peppers in a plastic bag. The bag should ideally have a few holes in it for air circulation.
The peppers should go in the crisper drawer, packed separately from other veggies.
Now, let’s find out how long you can freeze bell peppers.
Can You Freeze Bell Peppers?
Yes, you can freeze bell peppers. When properly frozen, they can last for at least the next 3 months.
Freezing cut bell peppers is more popular than freezing them whole since they take up less space.
Here’s how you freeze bell peppers the right way.
First, dice, slice or cut up the bell peppers as you wish. Next, take a cookie sheet and lay the cut peppers on it without touching each other. Leave the sheet in the freezer for 2 to 3 hours until they become hard.
Grab a freezer bag, chuck the pre-frozen bell pepper slices, and seal it. But first, wrap them in plastic wrap and squeeze out excess air. This will protect the peppers from getting freezer burn.
So, refrigerating, freezing, and simply leaving the vegetable on the countertop are the 3 popular ways of storing bell peppers. But what about canning, drying, and pickling bell peppers.
How To Pickle Bell Peppers?
In the summertime, my mom always makes the best out of the beautiful colors of the season by taking advantage of flavors that are difficult to come by once the winter comes. One way she does that is by pickling bell peppers.
Here’s a quick recipe, courtesy of my mom!
The ingredients you will need:
- ½ cup distilled white vinegar
- 3 bell peppers in green, red, and yellow colors
- ¼ teaspoon pickling salt
- ½ cup sugar
First things first, gather all ingredients. Add salt, sugar, and vinegar to a pot and place it on medium heat. Once the mixture comes to a boil, remove it from the heat and set it aside to cool down completely.
Next, cut the peppers in half and remove the seeds and stems. Then slice the peppers lengthwise into ¼-inch strips.
Transfer sliced peppers to a bowl, pour on 1⁄3 cup of the dressing and toss well to coat the peppers with pickling liquid. Set aside for an hour before serving.
Once pickled, the peppers will last in the fridge for a couple of weeks.
While at it, let me quickly show you how to make canned peppers.
Canning Bell Peppers
Canning bell peppers is a form of preservation that gives the peppers the longest potential shelf life. Essentially, canning means sealing peppers or any other food in a glass jar.
Heat and pressure, courtesy of steaming hot water, will kill any potentially harmful bacteria and help the lids adhere to the top of the jar, creating a tight seal.
Peppers canned this way can last for several years in your pantry.
Drying Bell Peppers
While smaller peppers are dried whole, bell peppers first need to be sliced and dried. Dry the peppers in an oven set at the lowest temperature or in a dehydrator.
I use a dehydrator to dry the peppers. I bought one a few years ago, and it still works like a charm. A dehydrator will give you the best results in the least amount of time.
If you’re going to use an oven, here’s how you do it.
Place the sliced bell peppers in boiling water for a minute or two and then directly in the cold water. After drying, place the peppers in a single layer on a cookie sheet.
Once dried, the peppers can last you for a few weeks.
What Happens If You Eat Spoiled Bell Peppers?
According to USDA, you probably won’t get sick even when you choose to eat spoiled bell peppers. Reportedly, spoilage bacteria that causes fruits and vegetables to go mushy or slimy, or meat to develop a bad smell, doesn’t make you sick. It’s pathogenic bacteria that cause illness.
Pathogenic bacteria proliferate in the Danger Zone – the temperature between 40 degrees F (4.4 degrees C) and 140 degrees F (60 degrees C). And apparently, they do not affect food’s general taste, smell, or appearance.
Bell peppers, or any other food for that matter, left too long at unsafe temperatures, are dangerous to eat, but they might smell and look just fine.
What Happens If You Eat Too Many Bell Peppers?
Believe it or not, it’s possible to overeat bell peppers as with anything. For instance, eating too many bell peppers means less intake of other essential nutrients, which leads to nutrient deficiencies in the long run.
Also, since bell peppers come from the nightshade family, it’s likely that a good percentage of people might experience digestive issues and other inflammatory symptoms.
Before we end this article, there’s something I want to get across, although it’s not exactly relevant.
Choosing The Right Bell Peppers
How well your bell peppers fare in the fridge or freezer often also boils down to how the peppers were in the first place. Veggie longevity begins with handpicking the freshest peppers in the store or the farm stand.
Irrespective of what colors your peppers come in, experts suggest looking for these 3 qualities when buying your peppers:
- Firm, wrinkle-free skin
- Heavy for their size
- Fresh, green stem
I know it goes without saying, but steer clear from peppers with sunken areas, black spots, cuts, and bruises. These are the telltale signs that the pepper in question is already spoiled or at least is in the process of spoiling. They won’t last you as long as fresh pepper – especially after you cut them.
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