How to Freeze Poblano Peppers

Poblano peppers represent one the greatest joys of the pepper world.

Stuffed with a savory mix of summer ingredients and roasted over a scorching griddle, arrayed in a froth of whipped egg white and tanned inside a pan of vexing oil, or dried and grounded into a powder consistency useful as a flavoring for turkey parts and lamb chops, poblano peppers definitely represent July more than any vegetable out there.

If you have tons of poblano peppers lingering around the house (after a harvest) and you’re wondering exactly how to store them for long, you can always dehydrate and then soak them for a few minutes to revive them, pickle and stuff them inside a can, can them unpickled, and of course store them inside a refrigerator, or better still, freeze em’!

The later method is exactly what we’re discussing today!

How to Freeze fresh poblano peppers

Poblano peppers, like any other pepper out there, do not need to be blanched prior to freezing.

Peppers normally keep for a decent amount of time when stored at room temperature (the thicker the pepper the longer the storage time), and would definitely last much longer when put inside a medium like the refrigerator that naturally slows down their rate of deterioration by virtue of its cold nature.

Thick peppers like poblano normally keep for about 1 week at room temperature, and the refrigerator would definitely extend that by about a week or so. The freezer? Months on end.

So we’re not blanching, but in order to make sure the peppers come out nice and safe after their chilling time in the fridge, the following steps should be observed.

  • Step 1: Wash the pepper to rid it of dirt and stem it.
  • Step 2: Cut the pepper into dice or thin strips or leave it whole. 
  • Step 3: Stuff in a moisture and vapor proof packaging and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or tray freeze, package in a moisture proof seal and store in the freezer for up to 8 months. 

The Steps in Details

1) Wash the pepper and stem it: 

Washing the pepper is crucial to eliminate dirt on the surface. To wash run under cold water and work your hands into the ridges near the stem and around the body to remove lingering dirt and soil. Alternatively, you can use a clean vegetable brush for the purpose. Next, stem the pepper by pulling on it with your index and thumb fingers.

2) Slice or dice it, or leave it whole

After stemming, you want to cut the pepper in half and remove the seeds and membrane inside. Use the tip of a spoon for this purpose and avoid suing your hand so you don’t accidently touch your face with it.  You can also use a melon baller for a quicker result.

Next, cut each pepper halve exactly the way you intend using it. You can make it into strips or dice it. You can also leave the stemmed pepper whole if you intend using it whole. Whatever you’re doing, make sure you don’t exceed two hour before performing the next step otherwise they may become susceptible to spoilage.

3) Package and refrigerate

Put the cut pepper or whole pepper in an airtight packaging (moisture proof and vapor proof) and store in the crisper of bottom part of the cabinet in refrigerator for no more than 2 weeks.

4) Tray freeze, and then package and freeze

After dicing, cutting into strips, you want to transfer the pepper in a single layer onto a clean cookie sheet and place in the freezer until frozen. This should take about an hour depending on your fridge, and after freezing, you should have individual pieces of strips or dice and not a lumped mass. After freezing, transfer the individual strips or dice into a freezer bag and extract as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn which will affect the flavor for the pepper. Seal properly, label container with item name and date, and then put in the freezer indefinitely, but for best results, use within 8 months, by taking out the bag, opening the seal and pouring out the exact amount of pepper you need and then retuning the remaining portion into the freezer.

With freezing, especially for a long time, you’re definitely going to lose on most of the structure (crispness) of the pepper, but the flavor should at least remain to a manageable extent. Because of this constraint, frozen peppers are best used in dishes that don’t prioritize texture over anything else. For those, use fresh poblano peppers.

Best packaging for poblano peppers

When it comes to packaging, not all are the same in terms of their freezing capacity. Some are definitely better than other for your poblano pepper and here they are according to a pepper freezing guide published by the University of Nebraska -Lincoln.

Suitable for extended storage:

  • Plastic freezer bag
  • Heavy duty aluminum foil
  • Plastic container having snow flake symbol.
  • Freezer wrap or paper.

Not suitable for extended storage:

  • Diary containers i.e butter container, milk carton or whipped cream packaging.
  • Bread bags.
  • Plastic food storage bags.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to freeze roasted poblano peppers

Roasted poblano peppers can be prepared in advance and frozen. To do that, follow the instructions below:

  • First roast the poblano pepper as per recipe instructions.
  • Remove the stem and seeds.
  • Cut the pepper into strips or into any shape you would like to use it later, or leave the pepper whole if desired but ensure to flatten it to remove as much air as possible which can cause deterioration in quality during freezer storage.
  • Package the pepper into the storage container outlined above and remove as much air as possible.
  • Label container with date and item name and store in the freezer for up to 8 months. For best results however, use earlier.

Can you freeze stuffed poblano pepper?

A successful freezing of stuffed poblano pepper for quality would depend on the items stuffed inside the pepper, since we know the poblano itself would keep its quality for a very long time. A pablano pepper stuffed with food items that quickly loose quality inside fridge would not last a long time, and it would be better to prepare it when needed.

The best solution would be to test your favorite stuffed poblano recipe. Keep the prepared peppers inside the fridge for no more than a week and thaw to see how you like it. I bet you wouldn’t be a fan since the pepper and all of its stuffed ingredients would lose some of their water and restructure a bit.

Can you freeze fresh poblano peppers?

Absolutely, fresh poblano peppers are perfectly safe to store in the freezer, and they would keep for solid nine months on a stretch, although their maximum quality is best reaped when they are used earlier.

Can you freeze poblano peppers whole?

If you prefer to use your peppers whole, you can skip the dicing step and freeze the poblano peppers whole. They would lose a chunk in their overall structure but would still preserve their flavors and heat well. To freeze poblano peppers whole, follow the steps outlined above.

Final verdict

The harvest season can be overwhelming with everything ripening at the same time and at a scary volume.

And whenever you have poblano peppers as part of the mix, you can always avoid their mass spoilage by storing them in the freezer.

To do that, first clean the peppers to rid them off surface dirt and them stem them. Next, cut them into strips or dice and then tray freeze in one layer on a cookie sheet for one hour. Then, transfer them into freezer bags and store in the freezer for up to 8 months.

Alternatively, you can store them whole, they just loose structure more. After washing them, stem and then stuff inside a freezer safe bag at moisture and vapor proof conditions for up to 8 months.