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How to freeze Chillies

Black slate with red and green chillies on top

We love spicy food, and if you’re a spicy food enthusiast too, I thought I’d share an effective way to preserve your chillies. We think this is the perfect solution: freezing chillies!

By freezing these fiery gems, you can enjoy their vibrant flavours in your favourite dishes all year round. In this post, we’ll explore the benefits of freezing chillies, the best methods for preserving their taste and texture, and how to use them in your recipes for delicious, spicy meal prep.

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The Benefits of Freezing Chillies:

  1. Long-lasting freshness: Freezing chillies help preserve their natural flavours, ensuring you can enjoy their zesty taste in your dishes for months.
  2. Easy storage: Frozen chillies take up minimal space in your freezer and are readily available for use in a variety of recipes.
  3. Versatility: Whether you’re using fresh or frozen chillies, their bold flavours will add depth and spice to any dish.
A wicker plate with a pile of green chillies on top.

The Best Method for Freezing Chillies:

  1. Wash and dry: Before freezing your chillies, make sure they are thoroughly washed and dried to prevent freezer burn and ensure optimal flavour preservation.
  2. Whole or chopped: Depending on your preference, you can either freeze chillies whole or chop them into smaller pieces.
  3. Flash-freeze: To prevent the chillies from sticking together, lay them on a tray or baking sheet and place them in the freezer for a few hours. Once they’re frozen, transfer them to an airtight container or ziplock bag for long-term storage.
  4. Label and date: To keep track of the “freshness” of your chillies, don’t forget to label your container or bag with the type of chilli and the date they were frozen.

Using Frozen Chillies in Your Recipes:

  1. No thawing is required: In most cases, you can use frozen chillies directly in your recipes without thawing them, as their texture and flavour will not be compromised.
  2. Adjust to taste: Remember that the heat level of chillies can vary. So start with a small amount and adjust according to your desired spiciness.
  3. Perfect for meal prep: Frozen chillies are a fantastic addition to your meal prep arsenal. They can be used in a variety of dishes, from curries and stir-fries to soups and salsas.
Red birds eye chillies on a black slate with salt, pepper and garlic.

Freezing chillies is an excellent way to ensure a constant supply of spice in your kitchen. By following our freezing guide, you’ll have a stash of versatile and flavorful chillies ready to add a kick to your favourite recipes. Never be without that extra touch of spice in your meals.

Why does the heat of chillies vary?

A Thai chef friend explained that chilli heat is determined by sun exposure. Intrigued, I investigated further.

Chilli heat primarily comes from capsaicin, a spicy compound, and the chilli variety. There’s no direct link between sunlight intensity and chilli heat.

Still, factors like temperature, humidity, and soil conditions do affect chilli plant growth, indirectly influencing their heat. Stress conditions like high heat or water scarcity can make chilli plants produce more capsaicin, increasing their spiciness.

Chillies grown in hot, dry summers may be slightly spicier than those from cooler or humid conditions. So, there’s some truth in my friend’s words. However, the sun’s intensity isn’t the direct cause of a chilli’s heat, but rather its variety and capsaicin content. Spiciness can greatly vary even among long chillies, from mild to extremely hot.

Birds eye chillies growing on bush.

2 Comments

  1. Bec, thanks for the info. My question is, some recipes suggest the seeds be removed from the chilli to reduce the heat. If freezing the chilli until you need them, when is are the seeds addressed?

    1. Hey Wayne, I always keep them in. I really enjoy the heat. However, if a recipe asks for 3, I might just use one if my husband is going to eat it too, as he doesn’t mind some heat he isn’t as big a fan as I am. I usually only freeze the small bird’s eye chilies, sometimes I chop and throw in the whole thing or half. If you’re using them in a curry, you could wait 5-10 minutes, they defrost quickly enough to slice in half and remove the seeds. Just be careful with sharp knives and partially frozen food.. 😉

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