How to freeze Chillies
The end of the Chilli growing season for 2022 is fast approaching. If your Chillies are ripe or at least a mature green, now is the time to pick them. If you have a big harvest , besides drying Chillies, pickling them or turning them into hot sauces, relishes, jams or chutneys, a great way of preserving Chillis to freeze them. Alternatively, it might be better to bring them in doors as if the first frost arrives. Otherwise, you will have to throw them away. They will become mushy, and they will not be able to be stored
Freezing Chillies can be done in two ways. The first method is to freeze them with their stalks intact; the second is to chop them finely and place them in ice trays. When freezing in ice- trays fill the individual cavities as much as possible and then fill the cavity with a little water. Once the trays have been frozen, remove the Chilli cubes and place them in a resealable plastic bag and place them in your freezer. Then when cooking, it simply becomes a matter of removing a cube from the bag and popping it into whatever ever you are making.
When freezing them whole place the Chillies in resealable bag and remove as much air as possible before resealing the bag . Once they have been frozen whole they can be chopped into pieces and added into food. They can also be grated while still frozen into any dish you are preparing.
Preparation for freezing
Wash and dry them.
In either of the two methods mentioned above, the Chillies should first be washed in clean water and dried with an absorbent kitchen paper towel. This is advisable to do as you never know what they might have come into contact with before they are harvested. It is also best to ensure that none of the Chillies show any signs of rotting
Ensure that the bag that is used for freezing the Chillies is medium to large. This will make separating the Chillies if they have frozen together when in the freezer easier. If the bag is too small the Chillies will freeze together in a clump, making separation difficult.
If you want to reduce the heat of the Chillies, slice them in half and remove the white membrane before freezing them This inner pith contains most of the compound that makes Chillies hot – capsaicin.
Most people mistakenly believe that the seeds make Chillies hot. This is in fact not the case. If you remove the placenta ( white membrane ) the spiciness of Chillies will be reduced substantially. Not totally, but quite a bit all the same.
Some great dishes that lend themselves towards being made with frozen Chillies include curries, stews, soups and goulashes. They can also be grated onto pizzas, or used to make jams etc. There is no need to thaw them when doing this as the cooking process will do that for you
To get the best flavour from frozen Chillies, use them within six months of freezing them. Any longer and they will begin to lose flavour and run the risk of getting freezer burn