Any home gardener will tell you about the blessing and the struggle with a bountiful crop. If you find yourself with more jalapeno peppers than you can use right away, storing them for later is a great way to eat this delicious produce months after their growing season.
While there are a lot of delicious ways to store peppers, freezing them is one of the simplest and most tasty.
Generally speaking, you can freeze whole jalapeno peppers. Freezing whole hot peppers of any kind is one of the best ways to store them. It takes up minimal space in your freezer, requires little prep work, preserves the pepper’s taste, and keeps pepper juices off your fingers, at least until you are ready to use them in a dish. It’s best to store jalapeno peppers in an airtight container or compressed plastic bag. Frozen peppers will keep for up to one year.
What To Watch For When Freezing Jalapeno Peppers
When freezing jalapeno peppers, there are two things to watch for to make sure that your peppers stay crisp and delicious.
The enemy of any frozen food is air. Excess air causes freezer crystals to build up and leads to freezer burn.
While this doesn’t make the food unsafe to eat, it won’t taste nearly as good and will be bland and tasteless. It can also become dry, tough, and just unpleasant to eat.
While you do want to preserve the moisture in your food, you don’t want to store jalapeno peppers in the freezer with water on them. Make sure to dry your peppers thoroughly before putting them in the freezer.
You should also dry them once they are defrosted to make them the best for cooking and eating.
Freezing Raw Jalapeno Peppers
Uncooked or raw jalapeno peppers make excellent candidates for storage in the freezer.
If you grow peppers in your own garden, freezing them raw will preserve the best flavor and texture for future use.
In fact, once they are thawed, you may not even be able to tell that they were frozen at all. The same can work for jalapeno peppers that you purchase from a store.
Are Frozen Jalapenos Spicy?
Freezing does not impact a jalapeno pepper’s spiciness. It will still pack the heat even after being frozen and defrosted.
It’s a good idea to wear gloves and avoid touching any part of your skin when handling jalapeno peppers, fresh or frozen.
If you want to reduce some of the spiciness, you can remove the seeds from inside the jalapeno either before or after freezing the pepper.
Jalapeno peppers will likely lose some of their crispiness when frozen, however. If you freeze them for only a short time, this can be less noticeable.
Some of the best uses for frozen jalapeno peppers are in cooked dishes like soups, stir fry, and omelets.
Because the peppers are meant to be cooked, you want them to become softer anyway.
Is It Better To Freeze Peppers Whole Or Cut?
There are two main ways to use frozen jalapeno peppers: whole and cut.
Both offer excellent ways to store your extra jalapeno peppers in the freezer. Your recipe and use will determine which method is better for you.
Should You Freeze Jalapenos Whole?
Yes, you can freeze jalapenos whole. It is actually the best method to keep as much of the vegetable’s moisture intact in the freezer.
It also cuts down on the overall exposed surface area, reducing the chance of freezer burn.
There may be some situations where freezing chopped jalapenos will work better, but that mostly depends on how you plan to use your peppers.
Cooking With Cut Jalapenos
Jalapenos make a delicious addition to a lot of different recipes. If you want a bit of a spicy kick that won’t burn your tastebuds off, jalapenos should be on the top of your list. Because they pack a punch, jalapenos are often included sliced or chopped.
If you plan to use cut jalapenos in your cooking, you can prepare them and store them chopped. This makes it much easier to grab what you need when it’s time to cook.
Freezing Cut Jalapenos
To freeze cut jalapenos, you should rinse and dry the jalapeno. Then slice or chop the peppers into the desired size and shape.
Some recipes call for slices, while others need smaller diced pieces. You can remove the seeds at this point if you want to temper some of the heat.
I recommend freezing the slices or cut pieces on a baking sheet or other freezer-safe flat plat or dish for a few hours initially.
This allows them to freeze individually before you put them into a final storage container.
Skipping this step will result in the pieces freezing together into a larger chunk. Once they are frozen, use a spatula to scoop them up and transfer them to a freezer-safe bag or plastic container.
Freezing Whole Jalapenos
Storing your jalapenos whole in the freezer is a fantastic way to preserve their crisp freshness and taste.
Because less of the surface area is exposed, there is not as much potential for moisture to leak out of the produce.
Some recipes actually call for whole jalapenos. If you are a breaded jalapeno popper fan, you will love how easy it is to take some jalapeno peppers out of the freezer and make this tasty treat.
Even if your recipe doesn’t require whole peppers, you can store them this way and slice or chop when it’s time to cook.
You can place whole jalapenos directly into a freezer bag without taking any special steps. However, just like with the sliced or chopped peppers, any whole jalapenos that touch each other while freezing could become stuck together.
As they thaw, they will loosen up and go back to normal. It might just make it difficult to remove just one or two peppers from the bunch.
If you aren’t sure how you plan to use your jalapenos, it’s best to freeze them whole. You can always slice or dice them once they defrost, but you can’t put a cut pepper back together again if you change your mind later.
How To Freeze Whole Jalapeno Peppers?
Ready to store your whole jalapeno peppers in the freezer. Follow these simple steps to preserve your spicy produce.
- Wash and dry the peppers. Make sure to dry thoroughly.
- Place peppers in a sealable heavy-duty plastic freezer bag or sealable plastic container.
- If using a bag, press out any air and seal it. If storing in a freezer-safe container, press the lid on securely.
- Test the seal of your bag or container to make sure that it is airtight.
- Store in the freezer for up to six months for the best taste.
When possible, use a freezer bag to store whole jalapeno peppers in the freezer. It will take up less space and you can easily press out any air before sealing the bag. This will keep your peppers fresher longer.
Storing Jalapeno Peppers In The Freezer
Jalapeno peppers, whole or cut, can be frozen for up to six months. After six months, the peppers will still be safe to eat but may not taste as good.
They are also more likely to have freezer burn or freezer crystals develop if left in storage for a long time. Freezer burn can cause peppers to become bland and dry.
Defrosting Jalapeno Peppers
When you are ready to enjoy your peppers, defrosting them is easy. You can put them in the refrigerator to thaw or let them thaw on the counter without worrying about safety.
There will probably be some condensation as they thaw out, which you can absorb with a towel or paper towel underneath.
You should remove the peppers from their storage bag or container when thawing. If you have stored your peppers whole, you can take out what you need and leave the rest of the jalapenos in the freezer.
Just make sure to press out any air before resealing the bag, just like you did when you initially froze them.
Thawed peppers often lose some of their crispness when frozen. If you are cooking with jalapeno peppers, you won’t even notice this change since the cooking process softens the peppers as well.
If you want to enjoy your peppers raw, you might prefer to pick up a pepper at the supermarket rather than using one of your previously frozen ones.
Can I Eat Frozen Jalapeno Peppers?
Yes, you can eat your jalapeno peppers frozen without any food safety concerns. Most people prefer them cooked but you can enjoy them frozen or fresh without worrying.
Frozen jalapenos make great additions to many dishes, such as soups, stews, and sauces.
As they cook, the peppers thaw and cook as well. You won’t be able to tell the difference between adding fresh jalapeno peppers and frozen ones once your dish is complete.
Freezing whole jalapeno peppers is one of the best ways to save this spicy vegetable for future use.
Whether you grow and harvest your own jalapenos in your home garden or pick some up at the store, you can store them whole, sliced, or chopped in just a few steps.
Make sure to remove any extra water and air from your freezer-safe storage bag or container and you will be able to enjoy your tasty peppers for up to six months.
Katie is an experienced writer, who wrote for big magazines like The Spruce. She is also a mom of three (Sebastian, Lincoln, and Hannah). In her spare time, she likes to read, day hike, and explore hidden gems around her home in North Carolina. You can connect with Katie on Instagram @katiebwriter or her website, www.katiemelynnbegley.com.