Learn how and where to store peppers in order to keep them fresher for longer throughout the year and prolong them during the growing season.
Whether your garden is exploding with chili peppers, or you've purchased a large quantity of them from the local farmer's market or grocer, you're likely faced with a conundrum.
What should I do with all the hot peppers from my garden?
No one likes to see food go to waste. If you don't properly store your peppers, they will eventually rot and you'll then have to throw them away. So unfortunate.
Properly storing them will extend their life by many days, so let's discuss the best way to store them.
How to Store Peppers (Bell Peppers or Any Other Peppers)
The best place to store fresh peppers is in the refrigerator. Simply place the peppers into a plastic bag and keep them in your refrigerator vegetable drawer. Optimal temperature is between 40-45°F.
You do not need to wash the peppers before storing. It is best for them to be dry, as water can speed up the rotting process.
This works for both hot peppers and sweet peppers.
How Long Will My Peppers Last?
If you store your peppers at the proper temperature, they will keep for up to 2 to 3 weeks. Thicker walled peppers will last longer than thin walled peppers. Also, whole peppers will last longer than cut or sliced peppers.
If you notice any signs of rotting, including soft or dark spots, you should throw them out. It is always best to cook with fresher peppers.
Fresh peppers should be shiny and firm to the touch. There should be no wrinkles or discolorations before storing.
The Brine Method
Another option for storing peppers is in a brine. To do this, slice the peppers in half the place them into a sealable jar.
Add enough water to cover, after measuring the number of cups used. Add 1 tablespoon of salt per cup of water. Give it a stir.
Seal, then refrigerate. When ready to use, remove a pepper and rinse off the salt. Use as you would fresh peppers.
Peppers should last about a month this way.
Can I Store Peppers at Room Temperature?
Peppers kept at room temperature can last 1-2 weeks, depending on the age of the peppers at time of purchase and on the thickness of the peppers. Thicker walled peppers will last longer than thin walled peppers.
However, keeping peppers at room temperature isn't the best way to go. The peppers start to rot more quickly, so refrigeration is best. They will stay fresh longer this way.
If you must store your peppers at room temperature, place them into paper bags and keep them in a cool dark place, such as your pantry.
You can also freeze your peppers. A simple method is to slice them, place them on a baking sheet on a single layer and freeze them. Just set them into the freezer.
When they are firm, transfer to them bags, seal them, and return to the freezer. A vacuum sealer will ensure better storage.
Frozen peppers will last many months.
See more about how to freeze chili peppers here.
How to Store Chopped Peppers
If you've chopped your peppers and have some of them left, you can save them in a plastic baggie in the refrigerator. I like to include a small paper towel in the bag to draw away moisture and keep the chopped peppers dry.
A sealable container works just as well for storing fresh chopped peppers.
They will last a few days this way and you can use them as you would use any chopped pepper. Again, if you see any signs of rot, such as black spots or mold, throw them away.
How to Store Cooked Peppers
Looking for a time saver? Pre-cook your peppers then freeze them. You don't want to cook them all the way through, though. Slice them, then cook them with a bit of oil only a couple minutes, until the peppers are cooked about half way through.
This will help to maintain some of the original crispness.
Next, spread them out onto a baking sheet and freeze them about 1 hour, until they are nice and firm.
Seal them up in a freezer bag or with a vacuum sealer and store in the freezer. They will easily last 6 months this way. When you are ready to use them, simply thaw and use them per your recipe.
Further Pepper Preservation and Information
See below for other information to help you with your chili pepper harvest. There are answers to some of the most common questions I receive on the site.
- Dehydrating Chili Peppers
- How to Pickle Chili Peppers - a Guide
- How to Ripen Unripe Peppers
- How to Ferment Peppers
- Saving Pepper Seeds for Growing Later
- How to Freeze Peppers
- How to Can Peppers
About Mike Hultquist, the Author
Mike Hultquist is the author of "The Spicy Food Lovers' Cookbook" and "The Spicy Dehydrator Cookbook". He has been blogging and writing about chili peppers of all types for many years, and loves cooking with them at any heat level. He loves gardening and grows a huge variety of peppers every year.