Bright red pimento peppers have crisp flesh and a mild sweet flavor. These small round- or heart-shaped peppers resemble cherries or small bell peppers. Preserving them in summer, when they are at peak freshness, gives you a year-round supply. Whether you freeze, can or pickle pimentos, they maintain a good flavor and pleasing texture. To preserve them, select firm, bright red peppers with no visible bruising or damage.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Spread the pimento peppers in a single layer on the baking sheet so they are not touching or overlapping. Bake the peppers for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the skins begin to blister.
Cool the pimento peppers until you can handle them safely. Rinse them under cold water, rubbing off the blistered skins.
Cut out the stems and remove the seeds. Leave the peppers whole or cut them into the desired-size pieces for future use.
Pack the peppers into a freezer storage container or bag, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace at the top of the container. Press out the air in the bag, if applicable, and seal it closed.
Label the container or bag with the date. Store the pimentos in a 0 degree F freezer for up to 12 months.
Pickles Under Pressure
Roast and peel the peppers as you would for freezing. Cut off the stem and remove the seeds from each pimento pepper.
Wash pint-size canning jars and the lid rings in soapy water and rinse them with hot water. Keep the jars submerged in hot water until you are ready to use them. Place the canning lids in a pan filled with water and bring the water to a simmer for 5 minutes to soften the sealing rubber.
Boil a kettle of water while preparing the jars and lids.
Fill each jar with the prepared pimentos, packing them loosely to within 1 inch of the rim. Pour the boiling water into the jar to the top of the peppers, maintaining the 1 inch headspace.
Wipe the rim of each jar with a clean towel. Place the lid on the jar, rubber-side down, and screw the ring in place to secure the lid.
Process the jars in a pressure canner at 11 pounds of pressure for 35 minutes. Add 1 pound of pressure for every 2,000 feet of altitude above 2,001 feet.
Vent the pressure canner until it stops releasing steam. Remove the lid carefully so any escaping steam or heat doesn't burn you. Lift the jars out of the canner with a pair of jar tongs and allow them to cool for 24 hours before storing them in the pantry. The center portion of the lid, called a button, is completely depressed if the jar seals properly.
Peck of Pickled Peppers
Wash and remove the stems from the pimentos. Cut the pimentos into strips or leave them whole, as desired.
Mix 3 ½ cups of sugar, 3 cups 5 percent vinegar and 3 cups water in a large pot for every 7 pounds of raw pimentos. Bring the pickling brine to a boil and let it boil for 1 minute. Bring the water in a waterbath canner to a boil while preparing the brine.
Add the prepared pimentos to the boiling brine and return the liquid to a boil. Wash and prepare the jars and lids while the brine is coming to a boil.
Place one peeled garlic clove and 1 teaspoon of pickling salt in each jar. Fill the jars with the pimentos; then add the brine to within ½ inch of the rim. Wipe each rim with a towel after filling them; then lid the jars.
Place each jar in the waterbath canner, using jar tongs. Add more water to the canner, if necessary, so the top of the jars is submerged to a 2-inch depth. Boil the jars for 5 minutes up to 1,000 feet, or add 5 minutes onto the process time for each additional 5,000 feet of altitude at your location.
- Follow canning and pickling recipes exactly and only use recipes from trusted sources, such as extension offices, to ensure the final product is safe to consume.
- Dispose of canned pimentos immediately if they develop mold or off-odors or if the liquid in the jar begins to foam, bubble or leak.