If your cayenne pepper plant is prolific and you have more peppers than you can use, freeze the extra peppers for later use. Freezing cayenne peppers is a simple process that requires no blanching or precooking. Although frozen cayenne peppers retain their bright red color and zesty flavor, they are softer than fresh peppers. The soft texture makes frozen cayenne peppers ideal for spicing cooked dishes, such as soups, stews, pastas or casseroles. Cayenne pepper is a low-calorie, nutritious vegetable, rich in vitamins A and C and potassium.
Select fully ripe cayenne peppers with a bright, even color. Ripe cayenne peppers may be green or red, depending on the variety. Don't freeze peppers that are overripe, soft or blemished.
Wash the cayenne peppers thoroughly under cool running water. Cut off the stems with a sharp paring knife, then cut the peppers in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Chop the peppers into long strips, small pieces, or any size that is handy for your cooking purposes. You can also freeze whole cayenne peppers.
Place the cayenne peppers in an airtight freezer container. Fill the containers as full as possible so that little headspace remains, as the peppers retain their freshness longer if no air is in the container. Place the lid securely on the container.
Label the container, using an indelible marker. Make note of the contents of the container and the date the cayenne peppers were frozen. For the best flavor and quality, use frozen cayenne peppers within eight months.
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- University of Missouri Extension: Preserving Hot Peppers is Becoming More Popular
- University of Nebraska Extension: Freezing Sweet or Bell and Hot Peppers
- Texas Agrilife Extension: Pepper
- University of Hawai'i at Manoa; Cayenne Pepper; 2011
- Arizona Cooperative Extension: Vegetable Garden: Selected Vegetable Crops
M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.