My Youngest Assistant and I stopped by the incredible St. Jacobs Market (which is still awesome in spite of burning down a month ago!) on Thursday and grabbed a huge bag (1/2 bushel) of sweet yellow peppers. The bag cost $8. Considering that peppers can cost as much as a dollar each at the grocery store in the off-season this seems like a pretty good argument for buying local, seasonal food. I didn’t count the peppers but I’m guessing we came out a bit better than $1 each. However, money saved doesn’t always mean time saved.
In order for these peppers to be useful later we needed to preserve them quickly and in such a way that they would be easily accessible. The key to doing this seems to be having an efficient method of chopping them and then flash freezing them on a cookie sheet so that they don’t freeze into one huge group. Then you can just grab a handful and toss them in whatever your cooking!
To chop a sweet bell pepper quickly, begin by cutting off the top and bottom. Make a slit down the side of the pepper. Remove the core and flatten the pepper. Slice it in long strips and then cut perpendicularly. Freeze the diced peppers on a cookie sheet and transfer to freezer bags once frozen.
Be sure to exercise caution when chopping endless amounts of peppers (or anything else). Keep your fingers parallel to the edge of the knife blade so that it’s not possible to slice them in the process!
A second method is to chop them more finely in a food processor and freeze them in ice cube trays before putting them in freezer bags. This method is good for using them in sauces later.