We all know that fresh bell peppers are good for us, both cooked and raw, but what's the best way to store them? If you find a good bargain on peppers, or just want to make the most of the one or two peppers that you regularly use in your favourite recipes, proper storage can extend their useful life, preserve their nutritional value and help retain their flavour.
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Select green bell peppers that are free of blemishes and bruises. Firm fruits with smooth skin and stems intact are the best choices. Peppers with soft, dark spots are starting to decay and may be rotten inside, so avoid them even if you plan on using them immediately.
Store green bell peppers for short-term use by refrigerating them in the produce drawer of your refrigerator. To ensure good air flow, remove peppers from any plastic bag or container they were purchased in. With proper refrigeration, a healthy bell pepper should last from three to five days in the refrigerator.
Store green bell peppers for up to a month by freezing them. Frozen properly, bell peppers should retain good flavour and colour for a month. Wash, core and seed fresh bell peppers to get them ready for freezing. They can be frozen either whole or sliced.
Store bell peppers for long periods by blanching and then freezing them. Blanching will ensure good colour and flavour retention. Place washed, cored and seeded bell peppers in boiling water for two to three minutes, and then freeze them. They may be frozen whole, halved, sliced or chopped.
Use a dehydrator to dry large quantities of bell peppers for long-term storage. Dried bell pepper is used in many prepared dinner mixes and reconstitutes well. Prepare the peppers by cleaning, coring and seeding them, then chop them into large pieces and place them on the dehydrator. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for drying time. Depending on the model dehydrator you're using, you may have to rotate the trays once or twice.
Tips and warnings
- When using fresh bell peppers stored in the refrigerator, keep the core and seeds and veins attached to the unused portion of the pepper, this will help keep it from wrinkling and can keep it fresher longer.
- Bell peppers are high in nutrients and fibre, and using more of them in your diet will help you get your recommended daily amount of vitamin C, vitamin A and potassium.