I recently realized roasted red peppers make so many of my dishes pop, but it's a pretty pricey ingredient. A small jar costs three bucks and a big jar is seven. At my local grocer I can get red peppers for two dollars a pound. Does anyone have experience roasting their own and, if so, do you save cost and how do I store them?
I roast them "fresh" as I need them, but my method scales up easily.
I use a gas grill and turn it to high. Set the whole peppers on the grill, and turn them when the skin is black on the hot side. When they're black all over (after maybe 2-3 minutes per side for all 4 sides of the typical ones in my local supermarket), I put them into a large disposable plastic container with a tight fitting lid and let them cool in it. The skin peels off quite easily, and they can be seeded and de-stemmed quite easily.
If I were going to preserve them, I'd probably chuck them into a plastic container or zip-top bag and freeze them.
in my culture we make so called AJVAR (and it is usable for whole winter) it is usually made in late summer when red peppers come to season (and are cheapest too). We prefer it home made rather than buying it ready. It is not all about the money :) And we do it big scale operation (whole day or weekend event). This is recipe with notes:
in bulgaria, they make "ljutenica" which is similar to this, but they also add grilled eggplant and in some cases tomato paste (makes amazing taste).
some folks here like "ajvar" to be hot, so they add hot chilli peppers to mix, or buy hot red peppers.
amounts: 10kg of peppers will make 1-3 1kg jars, but, it is worth the works, the most important thing is that YOU EXACTLY KNOW WHAT IS IN THAT JAR!!! Calculate number of jars you will consume during winter, you may actually save money on amount. And, do an experiment - compare what you have made, and what you can buy, as this makes the point where money is not everything :)
AJVAR can be used as is, also it can be roasted, toasted or cooked additionally - examples: - as "winter salad" (on its own) e.g. acompanioned with pickles (decorative too: red ajvar and green or white pickles), - can be used as spread on bread, with some good cheese, or prosciutto, also try all of this toasted! - can be added to pastas or mixed/cooked in pasta sauce with tomatoes or other ingredients, - also it makes even better and tastier pizza spread than tomatoes, - can be added to soups and stews
Kick your imagination off - it is versatile ingredient! Enjoy!
I halve them, smear with oil and roast them cut side down for about 30 - 40 mins at 200 deg, then cover with foil (or put in a plastic bag) to cool. Peel off skin, usually easy, then use straight away or freeze
Once you roast your own you will never go back!
Mine keep for around 1 month in the fridge. That is not conclusive however! Cost depends on season (when peppers are cheap, it is worth it. When they are out of season, maybe not), and the quality of the olive oil you use.
Method - slice them into large, fairly flat pieces - about 4 per pepper. Lay them flat on an oven-proof tray, skin side up. Grill them for about 10 minutes on fairly high heat, or until the skins are blistered and dark. This will depend on your oven. Put the pieces (while hot) into a plastic or paper bag and let them sit in there for about 10 minutes until they are cool enough to handle. This allows them to sweat a little to make it easier to remove the skin.
Remove the skin with your fingers. It should lift off easily. The bits around the cut edges will be more difficult. This is why I try to minimise the number of pieces from each pepper.
Slice the pieces and pack into a jar. Cover with olive oil. Personally, I like to add garlic slivers, 1 clove per small jar, but that is up to you.
The peppers should be covered with oil at all times, otherwise the bits sticking out may go mouldy.
I generally buy/cook organic, and my local co-op sells roasted red peppers in the bulk section. Per pound, the roasted peppers are half the price of the fresh red peppers.
Yes, by the jar they're crazy expensive, but if you can get it in the bulk section you'll save money.
And, of course, freshly roasted is very yummy, so if that's what you want, there's no comparison.