Banana peppers are one of the mildest chili peppers you can grow or buy, and they have the added benefit of adding a sweet, tangy flavor to any dish.
Banana peppers are perfect for people who don’t like very hot chilies, but still want to add a small amount of heat to a dish, while enjoying the health benefits of eating a chili pepper or a crisp texture.
Maybe some are on sale in your local store or grocer, and you want to know if it’s worth taking advantage of the opportunity.
Or, you grow banana peppers yourself, and this year you’ve got far more than you can reasonably expect to eat before they’ll go off.
Maybe you just want to have them available year round, and that’s not possible where you live, or not without paying a lot of money for it, anyway.
Read on to discover how long banana peppers last, if you can freeze them, and the best way of doing so.
The Shelf Life Of Banana Peppers
Provided that the raw banana peppers are as fresh as possible when you get them, they will usually last about a week in the fridge, and to keep them fresh, get them into the fridge as soon as possible.
To extend the shelf life of banana peppers, you can freeze them, where they’ll last about 10 months before they start to lose their quality and flavor.
Can You Freeze Banana Peppers?
You can absolutely freeze banana peppers. Freezing any kind of chili pepper (see also Freezing Jalapenos) shouldn’t affect the flavor or the heat, but any chili will lose its crisp texture.
Because peppers contain a lot of water, the freezing process alters the structure of the pepper. The water expands as it freezes, and this breaks the cell walls.
Once the banana peppers are defrosted, the cell walls squeeze, causing the fruits to lose their crisp texture.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t freeze banana peppers, this just means that you need to use them in dishes which are cooked, roasted, or fried.
Contrary to popular belief, freezing chili (see also ‘Can You Freeze Fresh Chilies?‘) peppers does not make them any hotter.
What makes chili peppers hot is capsaicin levels, and when you freeze them, the cell walls are damaged, which makes the capsaicin spread into the rest of the chili.
It means that the heat is spread across the chili, making it seem as though it’s hotter, but you’re just experiencing it quicker.
How Do You Freeze Banana Peppers?
How To Prepare Banana Peppers For Freezing
Wash the banana peppers, making sure to get rid of any soil or dirt. Even if they’re store bought, you shouldn’t skip this step, as it gets rid of any chemicals or any pests.
Dry them thoroughly.
You can now either freeze them whole, or slice them. Freezing them whole does mean that you’ll be able to use them nearly any way you want when you thaw them.
Freezing them in slices is best if you want to use them in side dishes, as a stronger flavoring in dishes, or if you’re not sure exactly how much you’ll need to thaw.
If you’re freezing them whole, simply put the whole peppers into a freezer bag, making sure to get rid of any surplus air before sealing. Label the bag, and freeze.
If you’re freezing slices of banana peppers, put them into a single layer on a lined baking tray.
Put the tray into the freezer. Once frozen, decant the slices into a freezer bag, and freeze.
How To Defrost Banana Peppers
To thaw the peppers, either add directly to cooking dishes, or let them defrost in the fridge beforehand.