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I bought a pack of about 10 jalapeño peppers and will only use 1-2 of them to make salsa. What can I do with the rest so that I don't have to throw them away. At the price for the whole pack it's wasteful to use so few. Can I, perhaps, preserve them somehow for future use?

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Eat them raw, and enjoy!? –  Noldorin Oct 15 '10 at 20:30
See also this question, which asks: can whole chilli peppers be frozen? cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/5227/…. –  Erik P. Oct 15 '10 at 22:19

7 Answers 7

up vote 10 down vote accepted

What we do in our house is dice them, freeze them on a cookie sheet (one layer deep) and then when frozen, pour them into a ziploc. The cookie sheet step is necessary to keep them from freezing into a clump if you go straight into the ziploc and then the freezer.

You can then easily portion them out from frozen as you need them, and they're so small from the dicing they defrost in whatever you're cooking so you don't really have to plan ahead for them.

I have not frozen jalapenos whole, though I think you probably could. I'd think they'd get slightly mushy upon defrosting, which might make them harder to cut, but should still taste the same.

You could also make a big pot of chili if you have the other necessary ingredients - chili freezes extremely well.

Depending on the size of them, you could also slice them in half and stuff them, making homemade jalapeno poppers. They go fast in our house, so we rarely have an opportunity to freeze them, but they also freeze well.

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+1 for jalapeno poppers! –  Martha F. Oct 15 '10 at 22:19
I like the trick with the cookie sheet. –  VoY Oct 17 '10 at 11:21
Great answer. I usually prewrap them into single-pepper sized little segments using celophane, since they do seem to freeze together some no matter what. –  zanlok Jan 19 '11 at 20:50

I've pickled them in the past.

They lose their texture when you do this, so afterward they are only good in chili or other dished where you cut then small.

Like stephen I've frozen them chopped and had good luck.

Finally, I've cut them into strips, strung the strips on a sting and air dried them. I wasn't terribly happy with the results for jalpenos because the dried strips are tough to process quickly. It worked better with seranos and habaneros because I don' use much and could just grind the strips to a fine powder to mix in evenly.

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How many peppers do you think it is still reasonable to pickle? I love pickled jalapenos, but I'm afraid I don't have enough of them... –  VoY Oct 15 '10 at 21:33
VoY: I got 8-12 into a pint mason jar (i.e a US pint), but mine were a little small to begin with (came from my garden and they didn't do as well s some of the other chillies. I also had trouble getting through that many in reasonable time after opening them. If I do it again I'll try half-pint jars. –  dmckee Oct 15 '10 at 22:13
I use 250 ml jars, cover with hot vinegar with a little turmeric in it. Then I can the jars. Take 'em out and slice 'em and they're just exactly like the jalapenos you get on nachos. –  Kate Gregory Jan 19 '11 at 20:42

Cut them in half lengthwise, stuff the resulting boats (deseeded if you don't want them too hot) with a little cheese and grill them (indoors or on the BBQ). Yum.

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Don't forget about jellies, sauces, and salsas. I sometimes puré extra peppers, onions, and garlic together, and freeze that (or can it). Makes a great addition to soups and stews later, or a starter for fresh salsas and mole sauce.

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If I had set of fresh peppers that I wasn't going to use for a while, I would pack them in ziploc bags and freeze them. Optionally, I would roast them first and then pack them. I do this with green chile (anaheim peppers) all the time and whenever I want chile for pizzas, soups, etc. I just defrost a bag, remove the flayed skin from the peppers and prepare as appropriate (slice, dice, etc.). Chile peppers freeze really well.

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My two favorite things to do with 'leftover' jalapenos are making cheddar-jalapeno biscuits and stuffing them with pepper-jack cheese and wrapping them in bacon. Mmmm....

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Can you give a recipe for those? –  VoY Jan 21 '11 at 9:47

If you've got more than a just a few jalapenos (like three pounds or more), then Candied Jalapenos (aka Cowboy Candy) would be a great way to preserve them.

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