Do you have extra peppers? That’s a good thing! Peppers are full of health benefits, and they’re extremely versatile for recipes. Here’s how to freeze an abundance of peppers from your garden or the grocery store, plus a list of delicious recipes that use peppers.
I don’t pretend to be a master gardener. In fact, my thumb is more black than green. But one vegetable that always seems to flourish in my garden is the pepper. And, despite my limited gardening abilities, my family always ends up with an abundance of them!
Thankfully, peppers freeze extremely well, and there are lots of great recipes that call for peppers that you can implement in your kitchen all year round.
In addition, bell peppers are a smart crop for homeowners to plant. Usually, they’re expensive in the grocery store, so growing your own is a great way to save money!
Health Benefits of Peppers
Besides being fairly easy to grow, peppers are full of wonderful health benefits, like:
- antioxidant abilities that help neutralize free radicals in the body
- rich source of both vitamins A and C
- great source of fiber, folate, vitamins K and B6 and beta-carotene (from red bell peppers)
- may help burn calories and stabilize metabolism (source)
How to Freeze Peppers
Peppers are extremely easy to freeze. All you have to do is wash them, pat them dry, chop or slice them, place them in a freezer bag, and store them in the freezer! I really wish I had known this the first year we gardened. I regret that I let a lot of peppers go bad while sitting in the fridge.
Normally, I freeze my peppers in two different ways: diced into tiny chunks and ready for casseroles, egg dishes, etc. or sliced and ready for stir fry, fajitas, etc. I usually store about one pepper per quart-sized freezer bag.
It is important to note that you can’t really eat thawed-out peppers raw. They will be a little mushy. But frozen peppers are perfect to add to cooked dishes.
How to Use Up Extra Peppers
There are so many dishes that call for peppers. Obviously, you will get the best health benefits by eating peppers raw. But you may not have that option when it’s the middle of winter and you are using your thawed-out peppers that you so faithfully froze from your summer garden. Or perhaps it’s summer now, and you’re blessed with more peppers than you know what to do with!
The following meals should help you take advantage of your abundance of peppers–without making your family bored!
Breakfast Dishes That Use Peppers
- Add peppers to omelets or simply toss them into scrambled eggs.
- Make gallo pinto: This traditional Costa Rican breakfast calls for any color bell pepper. This dish may double as a lunch or even supper for an American.
- Spread toast, an English muffin, or a bagel with homemade pepper jelly.
- Bake bell pepper muffins: I’ve never made these, but you can’t deny they are unique! (If I were to make this recipe, I’d modify it a bit for health reasons.)
Lunch, Soup, and Salad Recipes That Use Peppers
- Top garden salads or taco salads with fresh bell or banana peppers.
- Add bell or hot peppers to chicken tortilla soup.
- Fold peppers into quesadillas or wraps for a quick and easy lunch.
- Warm your family this winter with a white turkey chili.
- If you have an Instant Pot, put bell peppers in this sweet potato chili recipe.
- For a light, refreshing lunch, try Mediterranean quinoa with shrimp.
Appetizers, Sauces, and Side Dishes That Use Peppers
- Use Anaheim peppers in homemade “rotel.”
- Create a homemade salsa with a variety of peppers.
- Add peppers into guacamole for a crunchy, spicy twist.
- Spice up a basic pasta sauce recipe by adding diced bell peppers.
Supper Recipes That Use Peppers
- Include jalepenos or even a milder variety as a topping on sheet pan nachos.
- Hollow out large bell peppers to create classic stuffed peppers. (I love them in the crock pot!)
- Saute with onions and steak or chicken for a fajita dinner. (For a make-ahead meal, try these freezer-to-crock-pot chicken fajitas.)
- Add sweet peppers to this crock pot seafood paella.
- For an Asian-inspired meal, add Anaheim pepper to a garlic beef and broccoli stir fry.
- Add them to a variety of casserole dishes–like Katie’s unique lentil-rice casserole.
- Use them as a pizza topping.
- Dice up bell peppers and add to a mac & cheese dinner.
- Couple with veggies of your choice for a simple stir fry.
- Add to enchiladas.
I have yet to discover any desserts that call for peppers!
P.S. Do you have extra zucchini or summer squash to use up? Head here next for 25 creative ways to use zucchini and summer squash!