I was given a dozen large green bell peppers that I knew I would not be able to use them all up before their shelf life expired. I decided to take eight of them and freeze them in small cooking batches. Last month I was given sweet red peppers and yellow/orange peppers that I also froze. When I was given these peppers many of the people at the food pantry didn’t know you could freeze them. Receiving these peppers are a wonderful gift and making the most out of them for future meals are important.
There is a long learning curve to making meals when you are out of ideas and money. I have said several times that growing up middle class doesn’t prepare you for difficult times. You have to rethink all the possibilities of meal preparation. Basically you have to learn how to cook from scratch and learn food preservation. Do you throw out the bones of a roasted chicken? No you soon learn left over chicken bones can be made into chicken bone broth and use the broth for soup. Chill and freeze it in a container. Do you throw away small amounts of vegetables or meat left over from a meal that is not enough to serve again and let them linger in the refrigerator until they spoil? No you soon learn that you can keep a baggie in the freezer to put those couple of tablespoons of corn, left over meat and other vegetables which you keep adding to in order to save for soup. At the end of the month you can dig out the container of broth and bag of left over vegetables and make vegetable soup. This is how you rethink meals.
Small batch food preservation is another way to rethink meals. You can freeze and can in small batches to use in a few months. If you thrift store shop or go to yard sales you can sometimes find canning jars very inexpensive. I have had mine for many years. There are many videos on the internet that teaches all the techniques to make jams, and canning. Right now it is tomato season where I live and the pantries have been distributing tomatoes. I have had more then I could possible eat before they spoil. So I have canned some juice and whole tomatoes. I also put 4 packages of chopped tomatoes in the freezer for soup. It just how you rethink food.
All I did was cut the peppers into the size of pieces I wanted and put them in a baggie. I didn’t blanch them or lay them out on a tray to freeze. Haphazard Homemaker has a wonderful blog on how to do that here. I didn’t have the space in my freezer for that. but I did freeze them in portion sizes using snack size baggies. You just open up the frozen package and put them in what you are cooking with out thawing. For the finely chopped peppers, you can freeze in larger amount but just be sure not to over fill the bags and lay them out flat while freezing. They should be thin enough when frozen that you can bang the sealed bag on the counter to brake apart some. Open and remove the amount you want. Reseal the bag and return it to the freezer. You can use the chopped frozen peppers in salads without cooking them. They taste fine in potato salad. I use the peppers up rather quickly so I have no idea how long they will last in the freezer. I have been freezing bell peppers like this for decades. This was something my mother did.
Frozen chopper red sweet peppers in quart bags. Freeze them flat so you can bang them on a counter to break them up to remove what you need. Return the rest to freezer.