How to Freeze Hot Chili Peppers
Why I Freeze Chillies
The first question you may have is why freeze them. My answer to that would be, as a means of preserving them. You see where I live in Brazil, I am not able to buy chilies locally. I have one plant which at the moment looks to be on its way out. It is becoming scraggly. It is now producing what I assume will be its last flurry of chilies so I will remove them and freeze them for use at a later time.
The type of plant I am growing is called a malagueta. It is a popular variety here in Brazil that is bottled into a sauce. I prefer to cut them up and use them in my cooking than using bottled sauce. Unlike some chilies, the skin of this variety is quite thin and fragile.
When I bought the seeds for the pepper a couple of years ago, the packet said the malagueta ranks as a 9, I am assuming this is on a scale of 10. I have included a table below listing some of the popular chilies with the Scofield rating.
For those who love it hot, these are just the ticket. They're scorchers!
Preparing chilies for freezing
I first cut the chilies off using a pair of kitchen scissors. Because the skins are thin, I don't want the chili to come in contact with my skin. Gloves could also be worn for his procedure.
Once in a bowl, it is into the kitchen.
At this point you can wash them if you wish. If you have used any type of insecticide or live in an area with pollution I would suggest this. I personally don't for a few reasons. One is I don't use anything to kill bugs plus our air is about as clean as it gets living so close to the beach. Another reason is if I try to wash these chilies they will disintegrate as I have mentioned before they are fragile. I do wipe them and check for insects, or any damaged ones.
If concerned you can wash and dry them or simply wipe them.
Use an ice cube tray
Next, place in an ice cube tray. Depending on the size of the chilies you should be able to get a few in each section. Remember if they are wet or damp, they will freeze together which you don't want. A bit of patience now will pay off later. This is a good time to inspect each chili. I like to leave the stem attached because when it comes time to use them, I can hold the stem and cut the chilies using kitchen scissors into my curries, burgers or salsa.
Once you are satisfied, carefully place in the freezer. Leave until frozen. Depending on the size of your freezer you can use multiple trays for the entire harvest.
The next step is simply to place them in a freezer bag. Squeeze out any remaining air and return to the freezer. They will now be ready for you to use whenever you need fresh chillies. According to these can be kept frozen for 10 months. The Old Farmer's Almanac 2013
Some people recommend blanching before freezing. This is something I personally don't do and have seen no degradation in them by not doing so.
Once they're frozen in the ice tray, simply transfer into a Ziploc bag. They will stay separate and easy to use when you need them.
The Scoville Scale
The Scoville scale named after its creator, Wilbur Scoville in 1912 is a method for determining the heat of chillies. Although this method has been used for many years, it is thought to be flawed as it is based on human opinion. Taste testers try a prepared sample and give it a rating. The problem arises that there is often a huge variation on the results in different laboratories.
The American Spice Trade Association use their own rating system resulting in pungency units. This measures the amount of heat producing chemical in the various varieties.
Scoville rating of peppers
Law enforcement pepper spray, Trinidad Moruga Scorpian
Naga Viper Pepper, Infinity Chili,Bhut Jolokia chili pepper, Trinidad Scorpion Butch T pepper, Bedfordshire Super Naga, 7 Pod's Chili
Red Savina habanero
habanero chili,Scoth bonnet pepper,Datil Pepper,Rocoto,Piri Piri Nudungu,Madame Jeanette,Peruvian White habanero,Jamacian hot pepper,Guyana Wiri Wiri,Fatalii,
Byadgi chilli, Bird's eye chili (aka. Thai Chili Pepper), Malagueta pepper,Chiltepin pepper, Piri piri (African bird's eye),Pequin pepper
Guntur chilli,Cayenne pepper, Ají pepper,Tabasco pepper, Cumari pepper (Capsicum Chinese),Katara (spicy)
Serrano pepper,Peter pepper, Aleppo pepper
Espelette pepper,Jalapeño pepper,Chipotle,Guajillo pepper,New Mexican varieties of Anaheim pepper,Hungarian wax pepper,Tabasco sauce
Anaheim pepper,,Poblano pepper,Rocotillo pepper,Peppadew,Sriracha sauce
Pimento, Peperoncini,Banana pepper
No significant heat
Bell pepper,Cubanelle, Aji dulce
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