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Last week I bought a packet of green chilli from an Asian store, the really hot ones. I only used 5 of those and had about 20-25 still left in the little plastic bag (with holes). I just kept it refrigerated but within 4 days, there was mold growing on the stem of the chillies. So, I took the stem off and froze the rest. But then I read that the chilli goes mushy in the freezer.

What can I do to prolong the shelf life of chilli so they stay fresh for longer in the refrigerator (but not frozen)?

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I don't understand the distinction you are making between "chili" and "chillies." Is this something other than capsicum chili peppers of some sort? – SAJ14SAJ Dec 28 '13 at 3:28
@SAJ14SAJ: Sorry, maybe I didn't explain myself correctly. But its not the cooked chili, which I think is Mexican or South American. Its just the fresh green chillies that the question is referring to. – Divi Dec 28 '13 at 3:36

Per Still Tasty, the shelf life of chili peppers is only going to be about a week. You were probably simply unlucky in having them turn more quickly than that.

In general, this type of chili is not eaten raw, and featured for its texture, so freezing should in fact be a very good option, despite slight degradation in texture that may occur.

Depending on your planned use, you may also consider making refrigerator pickles which will allow them to last several weeks or more refrigerated, but will give them of course and acidic and pickled flavor.

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+1 Chili peppers, especially vere hot ones, are nearly always used finely minced, so freezing them is perfect - keeps them fresh, they're easy to chop while frozen, and yes, their texture changes, but it doesn't matter because they are minced and the texture is undetectable in the final product. – TJ Ellis Dec 29 '13 at 0:27
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I asked the grocer at the Asian store and she gave me a great tip. She said that its the stem that is the main problem and removing it before refrigerating would help keep the chillis fresh for longer. So, she asked me to:

  1. Wash the chillies and let them air dry or pat dry with a paper towel.
  2. Gently pull out the stem from the chillies but not to use a knife. A gentle pull should be enough to pluck out the entire stem.
  3. Discard any spoiled looking chillies so that they don't affect the rest of the chillies.
  4. Store them in an air tight bag or container in the refrigerator.
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I've had good luck wrapping them in a paper towel, then putting the towel in an open plastic bag.

They'll end up drying out slightly with time, but it'll reduce the liklihood of them molding.

If you're going to be using them whole, where you drop a few into a dish but don't actually chop them up, this works very well.

If you're going to be chopping them up, the freezing works well, too. (my neighbor just tosses 'em in the freezer in a zip-top bag, and pulls them out as he needs them ... generally just takes scissors to 'em while they're still frozen for the smaller ones like thai bird peppers)

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We normally remove the stems from the chillies before storing them in the refrigerator. This certainly helps prolonging the shelf life.

As these kind of chillies are essentially for the flavouring/spicing and not for eating as a "vegetable", it is also a common habit to grind them into a paste (preferably with a little salt) and storing this paste in the fridge - this practically lasts forever...and also occupies a lot lesser space... ! !

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I don't think pulling out the stem of any vegetable prolongs its longevity. The only thing you should keep in mind while storing any vegetable is that they aren't wet. They should be completely dried. If you choose to wash them (which in case of green leafy vegetables, especially) you should make sure you "dried" them. Drying them doesn't mean you need to dry them under the sun on a hot afternoon, simply keep them under the fan. The best way to keep the vegetables last long is not to buy them in bulk ;)

Some tips:

Leafy vegetables should never be washed before storing in the fridge. They should be washed before they are cooked.

Potatoes/onions should never come in contact with water

Tomatoes can be washed and stored in fridge.

Chilly stems should never be removed before storing. The same thing goes for cherries, dried raisins. Etc.

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Putting tomatoes in the refrigerator can ruin their flavor. However, pre-washing leafy lettuce (red leaf, Boston, etc.), and spinning it in a salad spinner works just fine. The spinner itself makes a great storage container in the refrigerator, and it's easy to take out just what you need to make a salad when desired. – ElmerCat Dec 12 '15 at 17:25

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