First of all, when deciding what to do with too many green peppers, I guess we need to define how many green peppers are too many! Here, I’m talking about a few, like the windfall of about a dozen green bell peppers (plus a few more the following week) we got in our veggie box.
And of course, I don’t want to let a single one go to waste! I’m focusing in particular on green bell peppers because I think they’re a little trickier to work with than some of the colored bells, the yellow, orange or red. The same principles apply to those peppers.
Now, of course, I’ve used some fresh, some in recipes (and love them for stuffed bell peppers – but the grandkids and my daughter, Jessi, don’t care for them) but I still have an overabundance! So my other solution is to freeze. And I’ve done that several ways, both on their own and in recipe “kits.”
It’s worth noting that Bell Peppers can be pressure canned, and Bell Pepper Pickles can be canned in a water bath. I’m leaving those projects to the National Center for Home Preservation for now. Bell Peppers can also be roasted and then skinned and frozen but typically you’ll find that method used mostly for the red bell peppers or various hot peppers.
What To Do With Too Many Green Peppers? Use Fresh:
- Use your fresh green bell peppers as a dipper for just about anything.
- Use them in salads, green salads and/or pasta salads.
- Use them in bell pepper “nachos” instead of tortilla chips.
What To Do With Too Many Green Peppers? Find Recipes that Use a Lot of Them:
Several recipes come to mind right away that use a good amount of Green Bell Peppers. These days, the colored peppers (yellow, orange, and red) are readily available, but they’re a little sweeter than the green peppers.
While you can usually sub in a green bell pepper for a colored in many recipes, there are some recipes that just shine with Green Bell Peppers. Here are some of the faves on my site:
- One of my fave recipes that are great (or traditional) with green bell peppers is my Old World Stuffed Bell Peppers. They have the most beautiful spicing and of course a bit of cheese. I actually cook them (except the stuffing) in the microwave! I do have several other Stuffed Peppers on my site. Just follow the tags or use the search.
- Another recipe, always popular on my site, is my Old-Fashioned Swiss Steak. It’s the same recipe my Mom used (and probably Grandma, too) and that I’ve been making since I was a kid, over 50 years ago! The tomatoes and peppers practically dissolve into a gravy…so you hafta have mashed potatoes on the side!
- Fajitas are a great way to use a lot of bell peppers. While I do like a mix of colored bells in my fajitas (makes them pretty!) you can always sneak one or two green bells in the mix. I have a few favorite fajita recipes on my site, but lately, I’m all about these Best Sheet Pan Fajitas.
- My super easy Foil Pouch Potato and Peppers are a great recipe (even though the pic is a little sad) and just wouldn’t seem right with anything other than a green bell.
- The Cantonese dish of Beef, Bell Peppers & Tomatoes is a beautiful thing! Again, this is a recipe that shines with green bell peppers. It’s another family recipe and is super simple, super-fast, and healthy.
What To Do With Too Many Green Peppers? Freeze Them!
Green Bell Peppers freeze very well and can be frozen in several ways. They are one of the few vegetables that can be frozen “as is” with little preparation or they can be blanched or cooked. Each method has advantages and disadvantages.
No matter what method you use, wash the Green Peppers first, remove the “innards”: the stem, seeds, and any ribs. They should then be diced, sliced into strips or rings, or cut to your specifications.
- Freeze as Is: Dice or slice and freeze. It’s best to freeze quickly. An easy method is to line a sheet tray, place it in the freezer, and once cold, add the peppers in a single layer. When frozen, bag & tag. These can be thawed and used in place of fresh peppers (in some recipes) or cooked as usual. They will last for two to three months in the freezer; not as long as peppers that have been blanched or treated.
- Blanch & then freeze: For this method, you’ll use halves, strips, or rings. Blanching destroys much of the enzymatic action (enzymes work even at freezer temperatures and spoil food) which means your peppers will remain bright and colorful once frozen. Check out this article from National Center for Home Preservation for more information. Water blanched peppers are best used for cooked preparations because they’ll be softer when thawed but will keep in the freezer for six to nine months.
- Cook & then freeze: This is super easy because the bell peppers can be pulled out of the freezer and they’re ready to toss as is into a recipe. In this case, cut peppers to size, then saute and freeze in Ziplocs.
- Cook with other veggies & then freeze: This is hands down my favorite way to freeze bell peppers. Make “kits” by sauteing the bell peppers with whatever ingredients you’ll use in your favorite recipes. Freeze in Ziplocs and make sure to label properly. When using, simply skip the portion of the recipe that requires you to saute.
How to Make Shortcut “Kits” for Recipes:
Making kits to toss into recipes so you can shortcut whatever you wish to make does require a little planning and some time. Take a look at your favorite recipes and figure out how many bell peppers and other veggies you’ll need for each.
- It helps to know that an average green pepper will dice up to about 3/4 of a cup, a large green pepper, close to a cup. An average onion is about a cup, diced.
- You can prepare the veggies for each recipe (I’ll often double or triple, then divide) or cut all the bell peppers, all the onions, and so on, and then portion out for each recipe.
Cook as directed in your recipe, cool the mixture, divide if needed, and place into labeled Ziplocs. At our house, we freeze Ziplocs flat, then stand them up in bins, envelope style. To use, simply thaw and continue with the recipe, same as if you had started with the fresh veggies.
Above are the pics for vegetables prepared for the following recipes, and note on the Ziplocs I labeled exactly what was in each and what recipe it was for:
- My Daughter’s Spaghetti Sauce (not posted): Sauteed Bell Pepper, Onion & Garlic (2 batches)
- My Daughter’s Chili (not posted): Sauteed Bell Pepper, Onion, Carrot & Celery (2 batches)
- Red Beans & Rice: Sauteed Bell Pepper, Onion, Celery & Garlic (2 batches)
- Rice with a Puerto Rican Flair: Sauteed Bell Pepper, Onion & Garlic (1 batch)
- Easy, Cheesy Chili Mac: Sauteed Bell Pepper, Onion & Garlic (1 batch)
- Best Sheet Pan Fajitas: Fresh (but can be frozen) 3 Bell Peppers (one green) & 1 Onion (1 batch)
- Scraps for Soup
If you make homemade stock, save the veggie scraps from any onion, celery, carrots. Keep a Ziploc in your freezer and keep adding as you have scraps until full. The bell pepper scraps are not good in stock.