Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Avoiding the $6 Pepper

I refuse to pay $6 for a pepper. Which means I walk by them wistfully in the winter. But right now, my grocery store is loaded with gorgeous peppers for $1. Red, orange, and yellow and they're positively mouthwatering.

And in the garden, the peppers are growing fast. It won't be long before I have too many peppers. So what to do with them?

Freeze them. It's almost as simple as freezing blueberries. Wash the peppers and dry them thoroughly. I sometimes leave them on a towel to air dry for a couple of hours.

Next, slice or dice them. I tend to use peppers in strips a lot, so I usually leave them in generous half-inch strips. Slide the strips into a quart-size freezer bag, press out the air and seal. Freeze.

When you're ready to use them in the winter, if they were really dry when you froze them, and if you didn't pack too many into one bag, you'll find you can sort of break off the amount you need, or just put the entire package into your stir fry or dish. I don't even bother thawing them. I have been able to thaw a few pieces for a decorative touch of red on top of a salad, but they're not the same as fresh. However, in a pasta sauce or other cooked dish and they're just as flavorful as fresh peppers. And you can turn your nose up at the $6 peppers.

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