What to do with all those Peppers ~ including some Scrumptious Recipes
If you’re like me, you grow way too many peppers every year. I find that some years, depending on the weather, I don’t end up with a bumper crop, so I just have enough for the basics like salsa (for hubby, I don’t eat peppers!). Other years, like possibly this year, the weather cooperates and I end up with peppers coming out of my ears!
So, what’s a gardener to do with ALL THOSE PEPPERS?
Welcome to the fifth installment of my Abundant Harvest series, where I help you figure out what to do with all those amazing fruits and veggies you’ve been harvesting from your garden (or buying at the farmer’s market!). So far, we’ve covered Garlic Scapes, Egyptian Walking Onions, Zucchini & Peaches. Some of them have bonus recipes included, which you can access by signing up for my FREE Resource Library here. You’ll receive the password in an email, and then a once weekly short & sweet newsletter with happenings around the blog. Also, if you’d like to join a group of fun and supportive gardeners, head on over to my Facebook group, answer a couple of questions, and I’ll get you approved right away.
Freeze your Peppers
First and easiest, you can freeze your peppers. I have to admit I haven’t really liked the results when I froze peppers in the past, but it can be done.
They aren’t appropriate for eating raw once they’ve been frozen as they lose a bit of crispness, but if you’d like to use them in fajitas, soups and such, previously frozen peppers will work just fine. Freezing does not affect the flavor of peppers at all.
Even better, peppers don’t need blanching before freezing, so just slice them in good-sized pieces, pop them in a freezer bag, and away you go!
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Dehydrate your Peppers
According to the Easy Food Dehydrating website, dehydrating peppers is as easy as removing the stems and seeds and slicing them into 1/4″ pieces.
Once you do that, arrange them on your dehydrator trays. If your dehydrator has specific instructions for peppers, follow those. If not, set your dehydrator for 125-135F. You can expect the peppers to take between 4 and 12 hours to dry, depending on variety and size of the slices.
Be sure to check your peppers regularly while they’re dehydrating, and rotate the trays. You’ll know they’re done when they become leathery to the touch.
If you need a dehydrator, you can find an entire page of them here. There are so many price points and types of dehydrators, I don’t want to try to give you a recommendation. Plus, I got my dehydrator for free from a friend and it’s an older model, so I can’t give a good recommendation on these.
Rehydrating for Use
If you’re going to use your dehydrated peppers in a soup or stew, you don’t need to rehydrate them first, as long as they’ll be simmering in the soup for several hours. You will need to check the liquid level, however, to make sure the rehydrating veggies haven’t sucked up all your fluid.
If you’re planning to make something that requires you to rehydrate, remember that your food will require about twice as much water as its own volume to rehydrate. Huh? Don’t worry, it’s really simple.
If you have 1 cup of dehydrated peppers to rehydrate, add 2 cups of water to them. They may take up to 2 hours to rehydrate fully, and if it seems like all the water is gone and they aren’t quite done, just add a bit more water.
Pepper Relish Recipe
My hubby and mother-in-law absolutely LOVE this recipe! I end up making entirely too much of this every summer, but they manage to eat it all by the following summer, so I keep on making it!
If you’d like the easy printable version of this recipe, please head here to sign up for my FREE Resource library. There are lots of free resources and gardening information, plus some recipes and other goodies.
- 20 large bell peppers (I’ve used mixed types of sweet peppers without any problems)
- 1 1/2 lbs onions (maybe even some Egyptian Walking Onions– they give it a nice kick)
- 1/4 cup canning salt
- Scant 5 cups sugar
- 2 cups white vinegar
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 tsp ground mustard
- Wash, chop and mix together the peppers and onions.
- Mix the peppers and onions with the salt and let them stand in a bowl for 3 hours (no need to refrigerate).
- After the 3 hours are up, drain and rinse the peppers, squeezing as much moisture out of the mixture as possible.
- Combine the vinegars, sugar and mustard in a saucepan and stir well.
- Add the pepper mixture and bring it to a boil.
- Reduce your heat to medium-low and let the mixture simmer for 50-60 minutes, stirring it occasionally.
At this point, you can just put it into a container and place it in the fridge. It will keep for several weeks under refrigeration due to the vinegar content. However, if you’d rather preserve it long-term, continue below.
Canning your Pepper Relish
- The above quantity of peppers should fill 4-5 pint jars.
- Prep your jars and equipment as recommended in a good canning book such as the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. (I highly recommend the spiral-bound one as it will make your life that much easier!)
- Fill your jars with the hot pepper mixture and leave 1/2″ headspace.
- Process in a hot water bath canner for 10 minutes.
- Allow to cool completely, check for seal, remove rings and store in a cool, dark place.
- Place any unsealed jars in your refrigerator and use within a couple of weeks or reprocess as per Ball book instructions.
Quick Notes on Pepper Relish Recipe
When you’re boiling the pepper relish recipe, it smells REALLY bad! Like, REALLY BAD!
I’m serious when I say you should keep your face away from the boiling mixture. Otherwise, you’ll have REALLY clear sinuses and a bad headache!
I’ve contemplated making this on the side burner of my grill, but haven’t tried it yet. It might be worth it to keep the smell out of the house though. Apparently, according to those who have tried it, it tastes much better than it smells, LOL!
Second, I’ve not tried this recipe with hot peppers as hubby can’t tolerate them. If you like more of a kick, I imagine you could add some jalapenos or other hot variety if you’d like. I can’t give any recommendations as to how many, so if you do add some, let me know in the comments how it goes.
I wanted to give you some great additional recipes as well, so I’ve included some links below. Enjoy!
- 45 Bell Pepper recipes from Taste of Home (You really can’t go wrong with their recipes, they’re almost always delicious!)
- Parmesan Peppers from Bon Appetit
- 35 Bell Pepper recipes from Happy Healthy Mama
- Mixed Pepper Pasta (this one makes me wish I liked peppers!)
- Mixed Bell Pepper Quesadilla
- Mixed-Pepper Steak with Onions (Hubby LOVES pepper steak, I’ll have to try this one!)
- Wow! I knew I loved Baker Creek Seeds, but now there’s another reason to love them: Pepper Recipe Collection (there are lots of very interesting and unusual ethnic dishes in this collection, at least some of which are vegetarian)
- Chicken & Bell Pepper Saute
- Hot Pepper Mix (for the spicy among us!)
There you have it ~ more than 100 recipes to use up ALL THOSE peppers, along with several ideas for preserving them for later!
I hope this post was helpful and thank you for reading!
You’ll find a couple of pinnable images below. Be sure to pin them to your Preserving the Harvest or Garden Vegetables board for future reference.
Otherwise, as always, smile and have a crazy organic day!
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