Thursday, February 22 2024

Let’s start at the beginning.

When exactly are chilies to be harvested and how do we know if they are ready to be eaten?


Although it may change from variety to variety, there are definitely some telltale signs you should know when assessing the stage of ripeness of your chilies.

Keeping an eye on their color is a fairly safe way to determine whether or not they are for picking.

Some may turn yellow or orange, but most change color from green to red, indicating that they are ready to be plucked from the plant.

Of course, size is also a good indicator of a chile pepper’s stage of maturity.

 

 

Freshly picked chiles can last 1 to 2 weeks out of the refrigerator.

However, the timing can change depending on the variety, with fleshy-fleshed fruits lasting much longer than thin-skinned chiles.

Obviously, if you plan to use them soon, you can store your chiles at room temperature, but for longer storage there are many other options.

If you are trying to keep them fresh for only a few days, be sure to put them in small paper or plastic bags and store them in a cool, dry place, such as a pantry.

Although storing chiles at room temperature might be fine for some varieties, there are many other inexpensive and effective ways to store chiles for the short term.

So if you are looking to store your chiles for less than a month, this is the section for you.

IN THE REFRIGERATOR: 1-2 WEEKS
Similar to room temperature storage, you can easily store fresh chiles in the refrigerator for about a week. Depending on the crop, they should not take up much space. Simply put the chiles in a food bag and close with drawstrings or in an airtight plastic container and keep them in the refrigerator until it is time to use them. This is probably the easiest method of storing chilies in the short term.

IN OIL: 2-3 WEEKS
To extend storage time by a few days, many growers store their chiles in a jar filled with oil. All chiles can be placed in oil to increase their shelf life, from sweet to hot chiles such as Carolina Reapers and all varieties in between.

First, you must wash the chiles to prepare them for storage.

Next, you must sterilize the containers you will use and anything else that will come in contact with the fruits during the storage process.

At this point, you have a few options: bake, toast, or grill the peppers or chilies so that they can be eaten straight from the jar.

Although some people use to soak their peppers or chilies in raw oil, this increases the risk of botulism (a serious health problem caused by bacteria).

Therefore, we do not recommend this method of preservation.

Should the peppers be too large, you can cut them into strips.

Once prepared, simply drop the fresh peppers or chilies into an empty jar and seal it tightly.

Next, add seed or olive oil to proceed with preservation.

Screw the lid on tightly (it should seal tightly) and keep them in a dry, cool place, out of sunlight.

This way, they will be ready when you want to use them.

If you find yourself with a particularly large crop of chilies, have you thought about what to do with them if you don’t want to use them within a few days? Throw them away? Absolutely not! There are several ways to preserve chiles for longer periods.

If you find yourself with a particularly large crop of chilies, have you thought about what to do with them if you don’t want to use them within a few days? Throw them away? Absolutely not! There are several ways to preserve chiles for longer periods.

BRINE: MORE THAN 2-3 MONTHS
It is not uncommon to see jars of pickled jalapenos in your local supermarket, and this is essentially the same principle as pickled chiles. All you need is an appropriately sized jar and a large number of your best chiles. But how do I pickle them? Well, that’s the easy part. By mixing white wine or cider vinegar with water in a 2:1 ratio, you can create your perfect brine for your chiles to use whenever you feel like it.

Start by washing the chiles by slicing them or leaving them whole, depending on their size. If you leave them whole, you’ll need to pierce them with a fork or skewer to prevent them from floating and to allow the brine to seep into them. Once prepared, place them in the jar and dip them in your brine mixture. Note: Pre-packaged spice blends are available, or you can add your own custom blends yourself. Also, the brine must be warm to ensure the lid seals tightly. Close the lid tightly and store the pickled chilies in the refrigerator until you want to use them. We recommend putting them on nachos for a spicy and flavorful boost!

DRYING: MORE THAN 6 MONTHS
Another way to preserve the fruits is by drying them. Although this will change their overall texture, it is definitely an option for those looking to preserve their chilies for a long time. There are several ways to dry chilies. If you live in a warm climate, you can simply hang them on a string outdoors during the day and let the sun dehydrate them over the course of a few days or weeks.

Otherwise, all you’ll have to do is use a food dryer or simply a baking pan to put them in the oven for a couple of hours at a temperature of about 65°C. Once dried, put them in a jar and you will have a selection of dehydrated chiles that you can use as and when you want for more than 6 months. To make sure the chiles do not reabsorb moisture, you can add silica gel packets to the jar.

CAN THE CHILIES BE FROZEN?

Of course! This is definitely the best method of storing chilies for the long term, and their shelf life can be up to a year. There are several ways to freeze chilies. The most common technique is very similar to refrigerated storage. Just take a food bag or container, pour the chilies inside, and freeze. As you can see, it is extremely easy.

However, some people prefer to cut the chilies and put them in ice cube molds, covering them with water. The result is a cube of chilies perfect for dipping into a sauce for cooking. The possibilities are truly endless.

WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO STORE CHILI PEPPERS?

Now that we have covered the basics of both short-term and long-term preservation, what really is the best method of preservation? Ultimately, the “best” is the one that best suits your needs, your settings, and your general preferences. Take all these factors into consideration and you cannot go wrong. So whether you want to enjoy the fruits of your labor today, next week, or 12 months from now, there will always be a correct method for storing chilies so that they are ready the day you feel like using them.

 

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