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Freezing Bell Peppers

I thought I’d share this super helpful tip I learned recently. I’ve been trying once a week to do the prep for several meals and have been trying to even do the whole homemade freezer meals thing.  I’ve been using bell peppers a bit more than usual due to the meal preps (and because I’m suddenly not intolerant of them like I was, although I so far can only eat green ones). The worst part was that several of the peppers would go bad before the coordinating meals were fixed. I decided to see if it’s possible to freeze them and found tons of variations, so I’m not including any links this time. There are just so many versions and I have no idea who actually figured it out, so I don’t know who to credit. I’m very thankful to everyone else that knew how to freeze bell peppers though! Now I can just pull out the portion I need from the bag and fry them for a few minutes with meat for quick fajitas. 

Basically you just prep your peppers, cut in the way you want, flash freeze them, and then you can bag them. There are some handy details I put together from all of the versions, though. First, make sure to dry your peppers after you wash them, before you cut them. You don’t want extra water during the flash freezing. Second (and this I actually learned from Top Chef), you can trim from a pepper in four to five cuts. The key is to start at the top and curve your knife to follow the flesh as you cut down, until you cut through the bottom. Third, try to keep the peppers from touching much, especially if you end up dicing them. That flash freeze will freeze them in clumps and it won’t be so easy to just grab a few. Last, this doesn’t work for raw usage. Once frozen the bell peppers must be cooked. They will be nasty once they thaw if they’re not cooked, so don’t try it.  Bonus tip (although I’m still on the fence on this one): supposedly the bell peppers with three points on the bottom instead of four (or more) are sweeter and have a little less acid. 

Instructions are basic, but at least I can provide pictures so that you know you’re doing it right. I started off by washing and drying the bell peppers, and then cut them off of the core as described. 

Next I sliced mine into thin strips, since I knew that cut would work for my household. They are just the way we like them for fajitas and easy to dice if I want to add into some rice or something. 

Cover a cookie sheet with wax paper and lay the sliced/diced peppers out on the paper, touching as little as possible. (This cut is more forgiving, so if they touch it’s not as big of a deal thankfully.) 

If needed you can put another sheet of wax paper right on top of those peppers and repeat the process. Keep in mind that it’ll take a lot longer to flash freeze like this. It’s recommended that if you have the room, then lay everything out in a single level for quick and even flash freezing. I don’t have much space to dedicate to whole sheets all laying flat, especially with all of the freezer items I now have, so I had to try stacking. It works for us, but it definitely does take longer, so if you have room, stick to a single layer. 

I have no real clue how long it takes to flash freeze. I’ve done this in single layers all the way up to three stacks deep and still haven’t really figured out the right time frame. My recommendation is that if you have the space and don’t mind a little bell pepper aroma for a day, make it easy and then just freeze them (exposed) overnight.  Check on them and see if they are frozen through. If you have stacked them, you’ll probably package the stacks at different times, since the bottom ones will need some exposure to flash freeze. Here they are frozen. If you look closely you can see the little frost where the flesh was moist. 

Peel them off of the wax paper (they’ll have a little cling) and put them in a freezer zipper bag. I did a whole bag of bell peppers from Sam’s Club, at a super great price, and ended up with three layers. They all fit in a gallon zip bag and I put a pop can beside it so you can see how much frozen bell pepper I have on hand now. 

When I make fajitas tomorrow all I’ll have to do is pull out a handful and warm them in a skillet with the cooked, sliced meat for just a few minutes. Easy as can be and no need to cook all of your bell pepper dishes one after the other so that your peppers don’t go bad. *big grin* It’s such a small thing, but it has been a huge help!  

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask, and I’d love to hear about your way if you all ready are a pro at this. 🙂 I’m hoping to discover more tips for meal prep as I get better at the freezer meals. 

Freezer Space

I thought I’d share a little tip today that’s been a huge help after we binge shop at Sam’s Club. Have you ever bought that big package of hamburger there, or at Costco, because you realized how much cheaper per pound it was than you’ve been paying at the regular grocery store, but then start to hate all of that ground beef because it’s taken up half of your freezer? Could just be a quirk of mine, but the tip works, so I’m still sharing it. Figure out your own situation that it might apply in. *teasing grin*

We actually bought a smaller bulk package of lean ground beef this time, but fitting over five pounds of it into my freezer while I still have leftover buckets of ice cream from the 4th of July was still going to be a challenge. If you think about how you’re packaging your meat before you freeze it, you can get it all to fit so easily and it’ll make you look like the new Martha Stewart. Who doesn’t want to look all organized and on top of everything?!

Instead of taking a handful of the meat, dropping it into your bag, pushing all the air out, and zipping it up, you’ll want to take one more little step. Just flatten the meat out. Seriously. Yeah, I smacked myself in the forehead over that too. *grin* If you gently push the meat into the corners (hey, if you’re having a rough day you can even slap it around a bit, no harm no foul, just don’t break the bag) and try to get the whole package pretty level, and then zip, this is how nice they can look.


The best part is that you can stack your packages and you’ll be able to actually get more food in your freezer, since you’re not having to try to play food Tetris or balance things so no one gets knocked out by a frozen meatloaf when they open the freezer door. You can easily see what you have and they freeze so much faster, so then you can stand them up, stack them on top of the tater tots, or whatever. So simple and so incredibly handy!


(Sorry about mottled pictures, by the way. All of the packages at the store had gotten a little air. Please don’t worry though, the meat was fine. Larry used to be a butcher, so if he says it’s just affecting the looks, then it’s true. One of the few times I’ll admit to him being right about something…*laugh*)

I find myself putting cooked leftovers into bags like this too. Apparently it just becomes a habit. I let my fried ground beef cool a bit, spoon it into a zip bag, get it all flat, and stack my leftovers. Lol. Our freezer looks like a card catalog sometimes. I start flipping through frozen cards of meat trying to decide what meals to plan. *grin* This works great for shredded (cooked) chicken and beef, too. I also have a few “cards” of frozen watermelon and even bell pepper, too. (There are a few steps to freezing bell pepper, so please research before you try it. It’s seriously handy when you don’t live in the city though and can’t just pop in to a grocery store or market for a pepper!) Another great benefit to packaging this way, I massively cut back on the amount of freezer burn we would find. We all know I’m too prone to bad luck to think I suddenly developed a knack for handling foods (I mean, don’t you remember when I had whipped soap on my glasses and in my hair, or the lotion that splattered the wall?! *laugh*). Mostly it’s because you won’t have much air in that package to expose the meat. I think it also has to do with the fact that there aren’t any mystery meats anymore, so you’ll use it before it can go bad. When they’re packaged flat it’s easy to see what in the world it is, because you won’t have crystals or warm air splotches on the bag from breathing heavily because you’re juggling that frozen meatloaf on top of the round ice cream carton, while the Popsicles are trying to dive bomb onto your shoulder. 🙂

Hopefully you’ll give this simple tip a try (and hopefully it helps you as much as it has us, of course). If you have any other freezer tips, I’d love to hear them. Happy pampering!

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