How To Store Fresh Peppers (Step-By-Step Instructions for 6 Methods)

You’ve harvested all your peppers. Good job, that’s what gardening is all about! But…now what?

To store fresh peppers, start by harvesting them early or shortly before use. Either way, after harvest, they can be stored in a cloth or mesh bag in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator for up to two weeks. Cut peppers should be stored in a sealed container. Keeping the seeds and stems attached to a stored pepper will extend its lifespan.

Read on to learn about how to store fresh peppers!

Do fresh peppers need to be refrigerated?

So you can just throw your fresh peppers on your countertop until you’re ready to use them…right?

It’s best to refrigerate fresh peppers. While you can leave them on the counter, they’ll only last one week and lose their crispness quickly. Peppers in the fridge last two weeks and remain crisper.

Although leaving your peppers on the counter might seem the most convenient, it won’t be as convenient as you once thought when your peppers go bad!

That being said, storing your peppers in the fridge slows down the ripening process. So if you’re looking to ripen your peppers off the vine, take that into consideration. 

Some peppers – like poblanos – can go so far as doubling in spiciness when they go from “immature” to fully mature. To be exact, they can go from 1,000 SHU to 2,000 SHU!

So the countertop method might be a welcomed exception if you’re looking to ripen your peppers a lot.

Or perhaps you don’t want your peppers to ripen much further, in which case the fridge is even better!

Do peppers last longer in the fridge or on the counter?

Peppers last longer in the fridge than on the counter.

Peppers can last up to a week on the counter and up to two weeks in the fridge. They also stay “fresher” in the fridge.

If you’re not planning to use your peppers immediately, your best bet is to stash them in the fridge.

The 6 best ways to store fresh peppers

Depending on your individual needs, there are multiple ways to store fresh peppers, along with some useful tips and tricks.

You’ll notice that storing your fresh peppers on the counter didn’t make the cut. It’s just not worth the drastically shorter storage time, in our opinion.

The only time storing peppers on the countertop is worth it is if you’re really looking to ripen your peppers quickly.

The 6 best ways to store fresh peppers are:

  1. Harvest early
  2. Harvest right before use
  3. Use the crisper drawer
  4. Use a cloth bag for organization
  5. Use a sealed container
  6. Keep the seeds and stems attached

Keep reading for more details!

Harvest early

One way to ensure that you don’t let your bounty go to waste is to harvest your peppers early.

If you’re forgetful, harvesting your peppers early is a good idea. This will give them plenty of time in storage and help prevent them from going bad on the vine. For some people, out of sight means out of mind- so keeping your peppers indoors is a good solution!

bell peppers can be harvest when they are green and "immature"

Your pepper bounty might not be at the forefront of your mind if you’re not out in the garden every day. (Which you should be! Spending time in the garden is similar to forest bathing, which can greatly improve your mental health.)

Who is it best for?

Harvesting early is best for people who can lose track of the peppers in their garden and frequently let them go bad.

Step-by-step how to

While harvesting may sound simple, it’s actually a fine art!

Harvest your peppers when they turn dark green and are still immature. This will give them time to continue to ripen, whereas harvesting them fully ripe will increase the chances of them spoiling in storage.

First, you need to harvest your peppers.

Use sharp shears and gently hold the branch of your pepper plant. Keep your hands out of the way and snip your pepper off as close to the stem as possible.

Once you’ve harvested your peppers, use one of the below methods to keep them fresh!

Harvest right before use

On the other hand, harvesting right before use might be best for you.

Harvesting your peppers right before use will result in the most flavorful peppers and you can avoid storage completely.

To minimize storage time, wait to harvest ripe peppers when you're ready to use them.

There’s nothing fresher than a pepper right off the vine!

Just stroll into your garden and harvest some peppers when you need to use them. You can skip storage altogether this way.

Who is it best for?

Harvesting right before use is best for someone who keeps track of the peppers in their garden and wants the freshest pepper possible when cooking.

There’s also something incredibly satisfying about going into the garden, harvesting a pepper, and using it right away. Garden to table, baby!

Step-by-step how to

What’s the difference between harvesting early and harvesting right before use?

Allow your pepper to ripen on the vine as far as desired. Then use sharp shears to cut your pepper close to its stem in order to harvest!

Follow the above steps to harvest your peppers. This time around you can wait for your peppers to fully mature if you want them to be spicier.

Meanwhile, bell peppers will simply be more flavorful when fully ripe.

Now that your peppers are off the vine, enjoy them however you’d like!

Use the crisper drawer

It’s called the crisper drawer for a reason!

Use the crisper drawer of your fridge to keep your peppers fresh and crisp and fresh for up to two weeks.

Store fresh peppers in the crisper drawer to keep them crisp for up to two weeks.

Using the crisper drawer is the best way to store peppers and keep them, well, crisp!

If you’re going to take a couple of days before using your peppers, using the crisper drawer is your best bet.

Who is it best for?

Using the crisper drawer is the best for people who need to harvest their peppers but won’t use them for a little while – for up to 2 weeks, in fact!

Step-by-step how to

Using the crisper drawer is pretty straightforward, but there are still some tips and tricks you should be aware of.

Avoid washing your peppers before storing them in the fridge because moisture can quickly make them go bad. Now simply put them in the crisper drawer and you’re good to go!

Check out our next tip to up your crisper drawer game.

Use a cloth bag for organization

Are you disorganized? Or, on the other hand, a neat freak? We have a solution for you!

Use a cloth or mesh bag to increase organization when storing your peppers in your crisper drawer. A mesh bag is better than plastic because it allows the drawer to function without trapping moisture around the peppers.

A cloth or mesh bag can help keep your peppers organized in the crisper without sealing in moisture.

Never seem to be able to find your veggies when you need them?

A cloth/mesh bag is the perfect way to keep your peppers organized in the fridge so they’re right there when you’re looking. Plus, this way you can keep them together and make sure you follow the FIFO rule – first in, first out!

Who is it best for?

A cloth bag is useful for those who have several rounds of harvests at a time, or just those who need a little more organization.

Step-by-step how to

So what’s the rundown on mesh bags?

Don’t wash your peppers before storage. Put the peppers in your cloth or mesh bag and then place them in your crisper drawer. They will last up to two weeks and you’ll know exactly where to find them!

Simply place your peppers in your cloth bag and put them in the crisper drawer. This way everything will be nice and organized.

Use a sealed container

You mean you can’t just put cut-up peppers straight in the fridge? Nope!

When storing fresh peppers that you’ve cut up, it’s vital to put them in a sealed container so they’re not just openly exposed to the air in the fridge. A sealed container will protect them from moisture and keep them crisper.

Storing cut peppers in a sealed bag or container will keep them crisp for longer than leaving them exposed to the open air in the refrigerator.

Nothing says “college frat” quite like cut-up peppers just chilling in the fridge in no container!

Who is it best for?

A sealed container is best for people who like to cut up peppers for a snack throughout the day or who don’t need the whole pepper while cooking.

Step-by-step how to

There’s a reason why you need such a specific type of container.

Use a waterproof, airtight container to store cut-up peppers in your fridge.

This will keep the air and moisture out, maintaining your pepper’s freshness for longer.

Our final tip will make your sealed peppers stay fresh even longer!

Keep the seeds and stems attached

This is perhaps the best trick we have to offer you!

If you’re only cutting up half of a pepper, keeping the seeds and stems attached will tell your pepper that it’s still “alive” and will help it stay crisp for longer!

Leaving the stem and seeds in a cut pepper helps it stay fresh and crisp for longer.

How to keep peppers fresh after cutting?

Keep the seeds and stems attached if you’re not going to use the whole pepper right away!

Similar to how keeping the pit in an avocado helps it stay fresh, leaving the seeds and stems attached to your pepper will keep it from going bad as quickly.

Who is it best for?

Keeping the seeds and stems attached is best for people who haven’t used their whole pepper and want the rest of the pepper to stay fresh and crisp for as long as possible.

Step-by-step how to

So, how to store peppers in the fridge?

To store half a pepper in the fridge, cut it in half but don’t remove the stem or seeds from the remaining half. The stem and seeds will keep the second half fresh and crisp. Put the unused half in an airtight, waterproof container.

Cut half of the pepper off with a sharp knife, leaving the second half still attached to the stem and seeds.

Store the unused half in an airtight, waterproof container.