Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Taking care of (pepper) business

Did I mention that my gardening skills are somewhat less than advanced?  In the last 6 years they have improved dramatically, but are still nowhere near stellar.  In actuality, they are so bad that apparantly the garden can do better without me.
A week before Labor Day I canned my last jar of salsa and froze my last bag of bell peppers.  I did a little happy dance as I took the canning supplies to the basement.  On Labor Day I went to the garden to get the last of the watermelon, and I hadn't been back since, until this afternoon.
All of the big kids went with my hubby to a college soccer game after school, so that left me and the little kids to do all of the chores.  As I was walking to the compost pile, I had to walk by the garden.  Much to my surprise there were tomatoes ripening on every single plant.  Mouth hanging open, I waded through the weeds to get a better look.  Yup, at least 50 tomatoes ranging from green to beautiful red.  And that doesn't count the ones that were ripe many days ago.  A little farther down the row, I saw that there were green peppers everywhere.  Each plant had at least five peppers hanging off of it.  Huh.  Who knew veggie plants had second winds?
Well, since I was off-line through all of gardening season, this is my opportunity to note how to freeze peppers.

First, obviously, pick the peppers.  My kids prefer green peppers, so we pick most of them before they turn red. 
Secondly, cut the peppers the way you will be using them.  We use most of our peppers in fajitas, so I slice ours into strips.  The kids do like peppers in their breakfast burritos, so I chop a few, too.  Put the cut peppers on cookie sheets and stick in the freezer.

Don't be surprised if some of those peppers get "lost" on the way to the freezer.

Once the pepper strips are frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag.  My romantic hubby gave me a Vacu-Seal for Christmas last year, and it does make things easier.  However, a regular freezer bag will work, too. Zip it mostly closed, then use a straw to suck out the last of the air. 

Throw it in the freezer, and thaw as needed.
Have a lovely day full of wonderful surprises!

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