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What do you do when you have a lot of jalapenos? You preserve them by freezing, of course! There are times when we want to add some spice to our dishes so they will have some kick. But will freezing these spicy chili peppers make them hotter? We've asked the experts and here's what they say.
Freezing jalapenos won't make them hotter. Their enzymes become inactive in the frozen environment; that's why there's no loss of flavor, color, and nutrients. If stored properly, they will be able to retain their heat and spice for up to 12 months.
Continue reading to learn more about what happens to these hot chili peppers when frozen. We'll also share with you tips on how to freeze whole and sliced jalapenos properly. We'll also tell you how you can lessen the heat of your peppers if you want a milder flavor.
What happens to jalapenos when they freeze?
There's more to jalapenos than just spice. They are low in calories and rich in nutrients such as Vitamin C and B6. The alkaloid capsaicin gives these peppers their unique spicy flavor and it's also responsible for making them beneficial to our body. Experts say that jalapenos are good for the heart and weight loss. They also help fight cancer, stomach ulcers, and infections.
So, when you find yourself with a lot of jalapenos, don't let them go to waste. One good way to preserve them is through freezing and it is by far the easiest preservation method too!
As long as you store them in a freezer bag and remove the excess air inside before sealing it tightly, they'll be able to retain their nutritional value, vibrant color, and flavor for up to 1 year. This is because the enzymes causing the chemical changes in this vegetable are inactivated during freezing.
That's why your jalapenos won't get hotter when frozen. Jalapeno's texture might change a little once thawed but it maintains the heat and spiciness that people have come to love. Use them for your Mexican dishes such as chicken and rice casserole, black bean and cheese stuffed peppers, or a big batch of salsa verde. You'll surely make your family and guests drool with these irresistible dishes with the distinct zingy flavor of these hot chili peppers.
How do you make jalapenos milder?
If some members of your family have a low tolerance for spicy food, there's no need to remove jalapenos from your list of ingredients and sacrifice their flavor. You can make these peppers milder so that everyone can enjoy your sweet and tangy chicken wings and jalapeno chicken enchiladas.
Here are some ways to make your chili pepper less spicy:
- Choose your peppers carefully. In general, the younger and smoother jalapenos have a milder flavor than the older ones.
- Pull out the seeds, veins, and pith. While you're at it, you can also scrape off the innermost layer of the pepper's flesh. By doing this, you will be able to remove some of the capsaicin. As we mentioned earlier, this is what makes your pepper really spicy.
- Rinse fresh and uncut chili peppers under running tap water to lessen the heat.
- Soak the seeded and cooked jalapenos in a solution of vinegar and water for 1 hour or more. The ratio should be 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water.
- You can also soak your peppers in lemon-lime soda or lime juice and water solution. The citrus flavor will be able to absorb the heat.
Just a friendly reminder. Make sure you use gloves when handling jalapenos and don't touch your eyes to avoid getting burned by the heat.
Can I freeze whole jalapenos?
Whole jalapenos are great for making bacon-wrapped smoky jalapenos. These are a sure hit for appetizers. You can also stuff them with ground beef, ham, sausage, and cheese for the perfect party food. It is for this reason that it's always nice to have whole jalapenos in the freezer.
Yes, you can freeze jalapenos whole. They really do well in the frozen environment. And the best part about it is that it's so easy to do! You can just put them straight in a freezer bag and off to the freezer they go. They'll be good for up to 12 months in cold storage so you have a supply of jalapenos all year round!
But make sure your whole jalapenos are dry before you put them inside the airtight container to prevent ice build up.
Do I need to blanch jalapenos before freezing?
The good thing about jalapenos is that there's no need for any fussy preparations before you put them in the freezer. There's no need to blanch these peppers prior to freezing.
If you want to freeze whole peppers, simply put them in a freezer bag or have them vacuum sealed. That's it. Just label and they're good to go to the freezer.
But if you need sliced jalapenos for your dishes, then it's best to cut them into pieces before freezing. Here's how to do it step by step:
- Cut off the top stem of the jalapeno.
- Scoop out the seeds, veins, and pith using a spoon.
- Proceed to slice it according to your desired cut. It can be in halves, rounds, or diced.
- Lay the sliced jalapenos on a baking sheet. Arrange them in a single layer with some space in between each cut.
- Flash freeze for about 2 hours.
- Remove from the freezer when they're completely frozen.
- Transfer them to a freezer bag or vacuum seal the frozen cuts of pepper.
- Label and put them back in the freezer.
How long do jalapenos last after picking?
Fresh and newly harvested jalapenos can last for 2 to 3 days when stored at room temperature. To extend their shelf life, you can keep them in the crisp drawer of your fridge where they'll stay fresh for about a week.
Over time, the chili peppers will have brown spots in them. These are still safe to eat but the level of spiciness will diminish. Once molds appear on your jalapenos, you should discard them already.
How do you store fresh jalapenos long-term?
There are two ways to make your fresh jalapenos last longer. You can keep them in the fridge or in the freezer.
To keep them in the refrigerator, just put your chili peppers in a plastic bag and place them in the crisper drawer. Make sure you use them within a week.
If you have no immediate need for your jalapenos, it's best to keep them in the freezer. If stored properly, they'll last for 10 to 12 months. You can freeze them whole. Just put them in a freezer bag and drop them in the freezer. You can also have them sliced. Remove the inner membrane then cut as desired. Flash freeze for a couple of hours before putting them inside a zip-top bag, then you can place them again inside the freezer.
Freezing jalapenos will not make them any hotter than they were when you stored them in the freezer. This is why you should choose the peppers that you'll freeze carefully. If you want the really spicy ones, pick the older jalapenos with some fine lines on the surface. This would definitely level up the heat and spiciness of your dishes for a different kind of kick.