How To Freeze Chili In Three Simple Ways
Originating from Mexico, the Chili pepper (or Chile pepper) has since made its way to every corner of the globe and is undoubtedly one of, if not the most popular spice in the world, used in almost every known cuisine.
The fruit owes this popularity to capsaicinoids, a compound of Capsaicin and several related chemicals. These chemicals create the distinctive burning sensation we get when ingesting chili. Chili can come in many colors, but the most recognized are red and green chilies.
Chili is used mainly to add more “heat” (or Piquancy) into a suitable dish and can be used as a substitute for many spices, such as cumin seeds. The fruit is also used to make sauces for cooking and eating. I believe we are all familiar with the sight of chili sauce at restaurants and fast food chains.
The reason chili is enjoyed by so many is that the burning sensation makes your body think the little red fruit is a threat and release endorphins, thus giving us a pleasant feeling. Chili also boasts a huge amount of vitamin C, so it is undoubtedly a healthy addition to your everyday meals.
How To Freeze Chili
Before venturing any further, make sure to wash your chili with salt water thoroughly. This helps remove some of the bacteria and prevents further growth. The next step should be removing the stalks, as they are of no use at all.
Depending on your eating preference, you can either remove the seeds or membranes inside the chili or leave them be. Once you have finished preparation, there can be three methods to preserve your Chili with the use of a freezer.
Remember that freezing chili means putting the fruit in a temperature of fewer than 0 degrees Celcius. There are some ways to freeze Chili you need to know:
Method 1. Freezing Whole Chilies
This is the simplest and most popular way to preserve your Chili, as there is no need for further processing with the fruits. All you need to do is waiting for the chili to dry and put them in a container.
Remember to stay away from aluminum containers or foil tin, as they will react with the acid in the fruit, resulting in degradation and some metal may seep into the Chili themselves. It is advised that you use moisture and vapor-resistant containers or bags specialized for freezing.
Because most of the time you will need to store quite a small amount of chili compared to the usually large plastic containers, the best way is to put them in plastic bags in the meal- proportions so they can be easily stacked up to save space.
Even though freezing whole chilies doesn’t make them last as long as other methods, especially if you decide to keep the seeds and membranes, it is undoubtedly a very quick and simple way of preserving the fruit that would be useful for a busy man/woman.
Frozen whole chilies last about 1-2 months in the freezer.
Method 2. Freezing Sliced Chili
To begin with this method of freezing chili, you will have to chop your chilies into small pieces. Once you have left them to dry, you can put them into plastic bags for later use, and as mentioned above, you should divide the chili into small portions that can be used completely in one meal.
As they come completely processed, you can use the sliced chilies right away after reheating. What a piece of cake!
A disadvantage of this method is that the chili pieces tend to stick to each other during preservation. You can counter this by putting them into your ice tray and let them freeze.
Once they are completely frozen, you can, once again, put them into sealed plastic bags to save up space and ice for your drinks. You will have to dry the chili before usage though.
Freezing sliced pieces of chili will help them last longer than the usual method, provided that you have plenty of time to do the chopping. Remember to wash your hands carefully once you have finished as the capsaicinoids can be quite sticky and may affect other parts of the body you put your hands on.
Frozen sliced chilies last for around 2-3 months in the freezer.
Method 3. Freezing Roasted Chili
You can roast fresh chili or buy already roasted ones from the market. YouTube user Stephanie Manley has provided us with an excellent video guide on roasting chili on your own. While roasted chili is much easier to preserve, they can still develop mold and bacteria growth and will still need to be put into the freezer.
Roasted chili can be frozen in the same way as freezing fresh chilies, either frozen whole or in pieces. Roasted chili lasts much longer than its fresh counterpart, especially in the freezer, but loses a part of the strong, burning taste, so you can consider it a trade.
Roasted chilies last about 3-5 months in the freezer.
Important Tips when Freezing Chili
Compared to some other spices, fresh Chili is quite fragile and can be greatly affected by bacterial growth if left outside for long periods of time, creating quite a big health hazard.
Preserving Chili incorrectly can also make the fruit lose a lot of its taste and attractiveness, so if you are having some problems with preserving chili in your fridge, this is the perfect place for you. The methods I have compiled are sure to make your Chili as good as new. Now, let us tune in on how to freeze chili.
You should never keep your Chili for more than 4 or 5 months, as that is when the flavor and taste of the chili decline greatly, even in a sealed environment. When chili is needed, take out the oldest portion for reheating and save the fresher ones for later consumption.
The first thing you should do is waiting for your chili pack to thaw out in a spot in your fridge with higher temperatures, usually the vegetable drawer. Once the ice has melted, you can reheat your chili with a cooking pot or something else of your choice. You can also reheat chili in ways similar to our guide for reheating tamales and fried chicken.
If you were previously having issues with freezing chili, I hope our article has answered most of your questions and issues. Personally, I usually freeze whole chilies, with no roasting or chopping beforehand, as it is quick, simple and I don’t keep chili that long in my freezer anyway.
So what about yours? Do you have a better method of freezing chili? Do you have other questions that need answering? Please let us know by commenting in the discussion section.