My tomatoes are straggling in from the garden. I wanted to make salsa, but I didn’t have enough ripe tomatoes. So I left some sitting on the counter, along with the peppers, waiting for more tomatoes to ripen. Unfortunately, a couple tomatoes and one pepper went bad before I had enough tomatoes to make salsa. So I decided to dice and freeze my bell peppers and hot peppers and tomatoes and when more ripen I can thaw the frozen veggies to make salsa.
I froze the peppers in 1 cup containers. I also froze some in an ice-cube tray and then put the pepper cubes in a large plastic bag. Each cube is equal to 2 tablespoons, so it makes it easy to add the right amount to a recipe.
It is hard to tell the difference between bell peppers and hot peppers once they are diced and frozen, so I label my containers using leftover Christmas tags (there are always a few tags that I just won’t use on packages, so this way they don’t go to waste).
And if you are doing a mass cutting of hot peppers you might want to wear rubber gloves. If you don’t and your hands start to feel like they are on fire, soak them in a bowl of milk. The casein has a detergent like effect on the capsaicin. Or so I’ve read, I wouldn’t be so foolish as to chop a dozen hot peppers without wearing gloves.
Last week, I read a post at Hunger and Thirst on using a vacuum sealer to save food. She has an adapter that works on canning jars, so she often saves her leftovers in canning jars, vacuum seals them, and without air they last a few days longer in the refrigerator. I was happy to learn that tip and am adding a handheld vacuum sealer and canning jar adapters to my Christmas list. However, another thought struck me: Canning jars are a frugal, glass storage container for leftovers. So often I receive comments from readers who want to get rid of their plastic containers but can’t afford Pyrex, the answer is canning jars! A 4 cup Pyrex container runs about $5.00, but you can buy a case of 12 quart jars for about $18.00 or $1.50 a piece. You can pick them up for less at garage sales, thrift stores, and grandma’s basement. You can buy replacement lids, both metal and screw on plastic, at Wal-Mart or Target for a couple dollars. So if you want to store food in glass but can’t afford to buy expensive storage containers, consider canning jars.