When you have a bounty full of poblanos on your hands, you might not be able to use them all at once. It’s important to know how to freeze your poblanos so none go to waste!
To freeze poblano peppers, prepare them by removing the seeds and stems and slicing them up. Freeze them on a cookie sheet and then transfer them to a bag. This will keep them from sticking together during the freezing process. Feel free to roast your poblanos before freezing them for some extra flavor. You can cook them straight from frozen!
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about freezing, defrosting, and using poblano peppers.
Do poblano peppers freeze well?
Before freezing your poblano peppers, you should probably know whether it’s a good idea or not.
Poblano peppers freeze well, although they lose their texture when frozen. Freezing expands the moisture within their cells which breaks their cell walls, ultimately degrading the structure of the plant tissue and turning it mushy.
Poblano peppers freeze well but will lose most of their texture so they’re best saved for dishes where texture isn’t so important.
Why do poblano peppers get mushy when they’re frozen? It’s the same reason they die when winter frost comes.
Freezing temperatures cause the liquid within the plant tissue cells to expand, eventually bursting open the cell walls.
If you remember from biology class, cell walls create structure within plant tissue. Naturally, busted cell walls will make your peppers lose their crispness because there’s no structure left in their plant tissue!
How do you prepare poblano peppers for freezing?
Okay, so poblano peppers can be frozen. How do you do that?
To prepare poblano peppers for freezing:
- Choose fresh poblano peppers that have ripened to the desired spice level
- Remove seeds and stem
- Remove skin (optional)
- Cut into strips, slices, or dice
Poblano peppers can range from 1,000 to 2,000 SHU depending on how “mature” they are when you pick them. You can also let them ripen off the vine.
Once they’re as ripe as you want them to be, they’re ready to be prepared!
Remove the seeds and stem from your poblano pepper with a sharp knife, following knife safety protocol.
Take off the skin if you want to. Poblanos have tougher skin than sweeter peppers, so some people like the skin removed.
Lastly, cut your poblanos how you desire to use them in the future!
Should you roast poblano peppers before freezing?
Poblano peppers taste great and bring a lot to a meal, but the tough exterior skin can be a little hard to work with. The best way to break through is to roast the pepper.
You don’t have to roast poblano peppers before freezing, but it may make preparation easier for you when it comes time to defrost.
Once the peppers are defrosted, they will be mushy and, while still flavorful, cannot be prepared the same way.
How to freeze poblano peppers properly?
Let’s talk about the best way to freeze poblano peppers.
To freeze poblano peppers properly:
- Place on a cookie sheet in a single layer
- Place in the freezer until frozen (should take about an hour)
- Transfer peppers from the tray to a freezer bag
- Push out as much air as possible to reduce freezer burn
Freezing vegetables on cookie sheets is called “sheet freezing.” It’s an effective way to freeze veggies without all of them sticking together (which would happen if you froze them all in a bag to begin with) and ensures that all the pieces freeze consistently.
That being said, bags are obviously more practical for long-term storage. Once the peppers have frozen separately, combining them into the bag is safe.
To maximize space in your freezer, push the air out of the bag so it’s as compact as possible.
How to defrost poblano peppers?
What about when you want to use your peppers?
To defrost poblano peppers:
- Remove the desired amount of peppers, remembering that they will cook down
- Push the air out of the bag again before resealing
- Eat the remaining frozen peppers within 8 months of freezing
You don’t need to defrost your peppers before cooking with them. Using them straight from frozen works just fine!
Just remember that they’ll cook down when you cook them. They’ve expanded in the freezer since water expands, so cooking them will bring them down in size.
Be sure to remove the excess air and reseal completely!
Eat your frozen poblano peppers within 8 months of freezing them.
Other ways to store poblano peppers
Freezing isn’t the only way to store your poblanos!
Here are some other ways to store poblano peppers:
- Drying – you can sun dry, air dry, or dehydrate your peppers
- Pickle – all you need is pepper, salt, vinegar, and a good recipe
- Can – use a pressure canner
- Relish – perfect for a cheese plate
- Jelly – brings out the poblano peppers’ natural sweetness
Check out this post about storing poblano peppers for the complete rundown on each of these tips!