Thursday, August 13, 2015

Preserving Bell Peppers & Onions

Last summer was a prolific summer for our green pepper plants! We had several hundred peppers!! We (obviously) couldn't use them all in one summer so I preserved them for use throughout the year - this year we will have many fewer plants. This year the plan is to just have enough plants to enjoy fresh pepper strips during the summer, but not enough to need to preserve! Our upright freezer has an entire drawer full of peppers (still!) from last summer!

To preserve peppers, I simply chopped them into strips, removing the seeds, and packed the pieces of two peppers into a freezer safe bag. I did this so many times during the course of the summer!

Most of the time that we need green peppers in our recipes, we need about two and so that made sense. These peppers are great chopped and thrown in soups of chilis, mixed up in fajitas, etc. Any place where their lack of crispness will not be noticed. It was a simple process and made me feel so good to know that there would be no need to purchase any peppers in the coming year!

I use a similar process to preserve onions. While I don't grow onions (maybe in the future...), I do purchase them in bulk to get the best price. Cole isn't a huge fan of onion and so we include less than what any recipe calls for. If I buy onions as we need them we would waste so much food!

So instead, I purchase them in bulk, chop them into strips and fill gallon bags full to freeze. Then when I need onion, I just pull the amount that I need out of the bag and (if necessary) chop it into smaller pieces. Again, this isn't ideal if you want crunchy onions, but as we always cook ours down, this system works great (and, a bonus, I only cry over onions 1-2 times per year!!).

I have found that having bell peppers and onions in my fridge and ready to go like this is an easy way to save money (by growing or buying in bulk), save trips to the store (when an ingredient is forgotten), and save significant time on the night that I am making dinner. I love all three of those things! :)

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