Chilies are a unique type of fruit that produces a spicy taste in many different cuisines. From Thai food to Mexican food, these fruits can be used to add an interesting flavor. The most common chilies are green bell peppers, jalapenos, serrano peppers, and habaneros. They can be found fresh at most local grocery stores.
Fresh chilies make an excellent addition to any dish. Whether it is a seafood dish or beef stew, chilies will add that extra kick of flavor that you are looking for in your meal. Like other vegetables, chilies don’t last very long once they are harvested. For that reason, there are several options to store chilies. Would freezing chilies be one of the options?
So, can you freeze fresh chilies? Yes, you can freeze fresh chilies. When it comes to freezing chilies, you have a few options. You can freeze them whole, in ice cubes, or chopped up. Fresh chilies that are properly stored can stay fresh in the freezer for up to 4 months.
Does Fresh Chilies Freeze Well?
Fresh chilies freeze very well. You’ll need to keep them in a storage container that’s sealed tightly. This will prevent air from leaking into the container and causing freezer burn to the chilies.
The most important factor for chilies is their flavor. The texture and color of the chili don’t matter much. If air gets to the chilies, it will cause the oil to be drawn out. This will result in the chilies losing their spiciness. As long as the chilies are kept airtight, they will freeze well.
How To Freeze Fresh Chilies
When it comes to freezing chilies, you have several options. You can freeze them whole, chopped up, or in ice cubes.
Below are the three options you have for freezing fresh chilies:
Freezing Whole Chilies
This is the method that requires the least time to prepare. All you need is freezer bags or airtight containers to store them.
Below are the steps to freezing whole chilies:
Step 1: Clean the Chilies
Place the chilies into a colander and rinse them thoroughly. You can remove the stems if you want. It will save space in the container.
Then let them sit to dry, which will take about 10 minutes. If you want to speed up the drying process, use a kitchen towel and gently wipe them until the chilies are dry.
Step 2: Bag Up
Once the chilies are dried, place them into the freezer bag or an airtight container.
If you’re using freezer bags, once all the chilies are in the bag, press on it to remove any excess air before sealing.
Step 3: Label and Freeze
With a marker, write the date of freezing on the bag. Then place the chilies into the freezer.
Freezing Prepared Chilies
If you are unsure how much chilies you need and to avoid leftovers, it’s best to freeze prepared chilies. This way, you will only need a pinch or handful of chilies when you need them.
Step 1: Prepare Chilies
Start by washing the chilies to remove any dirt and other debris that may be on them.
Then you can start to prepare the chilies. You can either dice, slice, or cut them in halves.
Step 2: Flash Freezing
With a tray, lay a sheet of baking or wax paper on it. Then place the chilies onto the tray. Make sure to keep them spaced so that they don’t touch each other. This step is necessary to prevent the chilies from sticking to each other when it’s frozen.
Once all the chilies are on the tray, place them into the freezer. Let it sit for about 2-3 hours to freeze.
Step 3: Place into Freezer Bag
Once the chilies are completely frozen, remove them from the freezer. Immediately, transfer all the chilies from the tray to a freezer bag. Don’t let the chilies thaw or they will stick to each other when frozen.
Then press on the freezer bag to expel air from it before sealing.
Step 4: Label and Freezing
With a marker, write the content and date of freezing on the freezer bag. Then place them into the freezer.
Freezing Chilies in Ice Cubes
This is another method you can try to freeze your chilies. They are great if you just need a small amount of chilies to add to a recipe.
Step 1: Prepare Chilies
Start by preparing the chilies. You can either use just the chilies or mix them with other ingredients. You can add lemongrass, garlic, and herbs to the mix.
Make sure all the ingredients used are the same size.
Step 2: Place Into Ice Tray
Scoop the prepared chilies and place them into each slot on the ice cube tray. Leave just a small space at the top of each to fill with water.
Step 3: Top Up with Water
Once you have all chilies in the ice tray, pour water into each slot until the chilies are submerged. Besides water, you can use olive oil as well.
Step 4: Flash Freezing
Wrap the tray with cling wrap and place it into the freezer. Let it sit for about 1-2 hours until it’s frozen.
Step 5: Place into Freezer Bag
Once the chilies are completely frozen, remove them from the freezer. With the freezer bag, immediately place the chilies into it.
Step 6: Label and Freeze
With a marker, write the date of freezing on the freezer bag. This will help you keep track of when the chilies were stored and when to use them by. Then place the chilies into the freezer for storage.
When Should You Freeze Fresh Chilies?
To ensure the chilies will have their spicy flavor, the peppers should be frozen as soon as you pick them.
If you’re buying them from the grocery stores, buy those that are fresh only. Fresh chilies will have a smooth and shiny texture to them.
Once you get home, those chilies that you are planning to freeze should be done quickly.
How Long Can You Freeze Fresh Chilies?
Fresh chilies can be frozen for up to 4 months. After that time, there is a greater risk that the chilies will degrade in quality. For chilies, the flavor is what most people are after. If it’s stored too long in the freezer, the chilies will be pretty much useless since they will have no flavor to them. However, fresh chilies will still be safe to eat after 4 months.
How Do You Defrost Fresh Chilies?
When it comes to fresh chilies, there’s no need to defrost them. This includes sliced, dice, or chilies stored as ice cubes.
After preparing the meal, simply take the number of frozen chilies you need and toss it into the pan.
If you’re making a sauce, grab some chilies from the freezer and mix it with other ingredients right away.
However, if your recipe calls for whole chilies, you will need to give it some time to thaw. Remove them from the freezer and let them thaw on the countertop for about 10 minutes before using them.
Can You Refreeze Fresh Chilies?
It’s best to avoid refreezing chilies. The oil in the chilies is what gives them their spicy flavor. When you refreeze chilies, there’s a good chance the oils will draw out. This will cause the chilies to become bland, which you will not enjoy very not.
Therefore, it’s best to remove only the amount of chilies you need, so you don’t have to refreeze any.
Can you freeze dried chilies?
Yes, you can freeze dried chilies. In fact, there are a variety of methods to preserve them for future use. Dried chilies have been used throughout the world for centuries, and still, continue to be an important part of many diets today. The drying process helps to preserve the chili peppers, which allows them to keep them for a long period of time without spoiling. For this reason, it is possible to freeze dried chilies in order to have access to them at a later date.
Can you freeze chili paste?
Freezing chili paste is a great way to preserve it for later use. It can be used in various recipes, such as soups and other dishes that call for the strong flavor of chili paste. However, not all chili pastes are suitable for freezing; some varieties become too salty or lose their color when frozen.
Chili paste can be done by placing it in an airtight container and storing it in the freezer. This will keep the product fresh for a longer period of time as long as there is no contamination from moisture or other types of bacteria getting into the jar. Once frozen, the chili paste should remain good for up to six months if stored properly.