Steps To Take After Harvesting Garden Peppers
A successful garden can be rewarding, satisfying, and fulfilling. But sometimes, we grow more than we’re prepared to use, and finding ways to use the overabundant harvest in a timely fashion can be challenging. Let’s look at some steps to take after you harvest your garden peppers so that you can maximize your efforts and reduce waste.
This year, our garden is bursting with peppers. We have peppers of all shapes and sizes, from sweet to fiery hot. We are busy in the kitchen finding ways to keep our peppery bounty all year long. Here are a few of our favorite ways to preserve your peppers.
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Properly Store Them
Storing peppers properly is critical. Not every pepper is usable straight after picking, and that’s okay. As long as you know the different storage methods available, you can preserve your pickings and eliminate wastefulness.
A short-term storage solution is placing them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This is good for up to 10 days, but you should also consider using them in that time frame for optimal freshness.
You can also place your peppers on a baking sheet in the freezer. You’ll want to julienne the peppers into strips first to allow for an even freeze; otherwise, they’ll freeze in a clump. Once the strips are frozen, you can throw them in a freezer-friendly storage bag and let them be. It’s crucial to remember that if you remove the peppers from the freezer and they begin thawing out, you must use them right away.
Turn Them Into Something Yummy
If you harvested just enough peppers to utilize, turn them into something yummy. One of the best ideas is salsa macha. Salsa macha is incredibly simple to make, and unlike regular salsa, it doesn’t require tomatoes, so you don’t have to preserve it any further once it’s ready. Salsa macha is a versatile, valuable household condiment that’s suitable as an ingredient, a topping, or a marinade.
Another fantastic, delicious idea for using your garden peppers right away is making a fresh batch of pico de gallo. You can harvest the other necessary ingredients from your garden—including tomato, onion, and cilantro—and give guests a farm-to-table experience at home.
One preservation idea that many people forget about is drying. Drying is a long-term solution for freshly harvested garden peppers because it allows you to keep the intense flavors intact while using the pepper in its entirety.
You’ll want to clean your peppers thoroughly first. Then, grab a thin string (preferably hemp, if available) and thread each pepper onto it. Place the strand of peppers in a well-lit, dry place. The best location is usually near a window. Once the peppers take on a wrinkly texture, you’re free to begin placing them in canning jars for preservation. Dried peppers are excellent additions to seasonal chilis and stews, or you can grind them up into spices and seasonings. If you go the latter route, simply dehydrate the peppers to reduce their moisture content, place them in a blender, and grind until you reach the desired consistency.
A garden with a flourishing harvest is usually hit-or-miss from season to season. And depending on your climate, predicting how viable the garden will be is even more challenging. But if you end up with an overabundance of peppers, consider taking some of these steps after harvesting them from your garden.