August 14, 2014

It is indeed possible to freeze a cube of fire...and save your sanity while preserving a huge summer harvest. We're not practicing sorcery over here -- simply roasting and freezing hot peppers for quick recipe starters. In my own garden patch, I'm outdone with just how many jalapeño, serrano, Lemon Drop, and spicy bell peppers I have picked this week. Our August issue comes to the rescue with test kitchen recommendations for using

Here's a quick tip for "freezing fire": wash and dry several pounds of peppers. With the oven broiler pre-heating, you may choose to cut them in half and remove the seeds. A shortcut, since I like the extra heat and seeds, is to roast them whole. Place on a sheet pan in a single layer under the broiler, roasting quickly on both sides until skins are blistered and blackened. Stems pop off much easier after roasting. Throw the blistered peppers in a deep bowl to cool, then blur quickly into a paste with a handheld stick blender. Using a spoon (and not your unprotected fingers!), put the chopped peppers into cube trays, cover, and freeze. (The cubes in the tray I tested are 3 tablespoons in size, so I filled two-thirds full, or the equivalent of three jalapeño peppers for recipes.) Pop out and put into vacuum-sealed freezer bags or freezer-quality zipped bags for long-term storage. When the mood for spicy roasted salsa strikes, I simply defrost these with a block of my frozen roasted tomatoes, add garlic, onion, cilantro, lime and cumin. This also works well with de-seeded sweet peppers, frozen with a light layer of olive oil.

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