Looking for a way to save money, eat well, and make a difference to your community? Cook real food from scratch and pick local, sustainable ingredients whenever possible. This month, I’m joining people across the country as we try to see how local we can go.
It’s easy to eat healthy, local food in the summer. In fact, fresh produce is so abundant that your grocery bill may be at its yearly low. One of the best investments you can make is to take to stock your freezer with frozen peppers. Peppers that cost 50 cents each now will cost three dollars in February … and will be weary from a long journey. Freeze some peppers for later and and use others in the the recipe for Beany Gazpacho, along with ripe tomatoes.
Freezing peppers without frustration
Getting rid of pepper seeds always slowed me down before. They cling to the inside of the peppers and seem as slippery as a wet two-year-old. Now I cut each pepper in half and cut out the stem, seeds, and white parts. To remove those pesky extra seeds inside of the pepper, I dip the pepper halves into a bowl of water. The seeds rinse away and float to the bottom, so the same bowl of water is good for a big box of peppers. No more tedious picking at the seeds or clogged drain! Toss the seedy water into your compost pile along with all the pepper scraps, so not a shred is wasted.
To finish freezing, spread pepper pieces in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Freeze for several hours until solid. Use a spatula to loosen peppers from sheet, then put in a labeled freezer-strength bag, suck out the extra air with a straw, and seal. Pop bags of peppers in your freezer and make sure to note your harvest on your freezer inventory.
Do you preserve food to enjoy during the winter by freezing, canning, or drying? If not, what holds you back? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Tomorrow, find out how to improve your recipes to meet your goals, whether that’s going more local, being easier, or just tasting better.
Click here for the Zesty Beany Gazpacho Recipe