I grow a lot of jalapeño peppers. I love the flavor and I love to make salsa with them. Here is my favorite way to harvest the peppers and to freeze them for winter use. Jalapeños get very expensive after December and so it is really nice to just be able to reach into the home freezer and pull some out to add to the salsa. When I am overwhelmed with peppers, I just wash them and freeze them on a cookie sheet. Then, the next day put them all in a gallon ziplock bag and freeze. The reason you freeze them on the cookie sheet is to keep them separate, not clumped together in one frozen ice ball. When you need 2 or 3, you can reach into the bag, take what you need and close the bag. This year, I tried something new and I think I am going to like this method even better.
Chopped Peppers for freezing
- Wash the peppers, cut off the stem and then cut in half- lengthwise.
- Remove the seeds by using a grapefruit spoon to scrape them out.
- Place the halved peppers on a cookie sheet and broil for a few minutes until the skins blacken. Watch carefully- they don't take very long to darken.
- Or, you can grill them outside on the barbecue, using a grill basket.
- Remove from heat, place the peppers in a bag to steam to loosen the skin. Scrape off any loosened, blackened skin. Leave some of the black on, though for color.
- Place in the blender, food processor or hand chop to the desired size.
- Put a small quantity in each section of a cupcake tin and freeze for one day.
- The next day, remove the frozen portions and place in a large ziplock for use throughout the winter.
A few cautions about peppers!
I have some "funny" and some painful stories about working with jalapeño peppers. The ingredient that makes peppers hot, capsaisin, is potent stuff and if you are sensitive to it, wear gloves. I don't usually wear gloves because it doesn't bother me very much, plus it is a treatment for arthritis, headaches, blocked sinuses. So, I figure, I am getting 2 things done at once - freezing peppers and getting healthy (I have never had a headache when working with peppers)! Just be sure you don't touch your eyes or nose when working with the peppers barehanded. I have a male friend who forgot and ran off to use the bathroom without washing up first - he will never do that again!
Also, when you are grinding the peppers, don't inhale the steam or you will find yourself coughing.