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How To Store Cut and Whole Fresh Bell Peppers Longer

by Heather

Wondering how to store bell peppers? You’ve come to the right place! In this comprehensive guide, I’ll show you multiple different ways to store whole bell peppers and cut bell peppers so you can reduce food waste and get a jump on meal prep.

how to cut and store fresh bell peppers

How To Store Cut and Whole Fresh Bell Peppers Longer

Bright, sweet bell peppers are a favorite in our house, thanks to their sweet taste and rich nutritional value.

Whether we’re snacking on raw cut peppers, roasting them for veggie sandwiches, or adding them to soups, sauces, and other family favorite recipes, they’re a fresh produce staple I can’t live without. 

I’ll show you the easiest ways to keep your fresh peppers truly fresh using simple steps. I’ll also show you a freezer storage method that I think is the best way to store peppers for later use.

So, are you ready to put up your farmer’s market haul in a way the USDA’s food safety team would approve of? Let’s get to it! 

How To Store Cut and Whole Fresh Bell Peppers Longer

First step: picking your bell peppers

How long your peppers lasts depends on the condition they are in when you purchase them. Look for firm, smooth skin with blemishes. If you see wrinkles, you’ll know it is not the freshest bell peppers.

If the bell peppers you’re considering buying don’t look great, it’s always a good idea to ask someone in the produce area if they have any more fresh-looking options n their back room.

I find they are more than willing to help a customer get the produce they need and then you are left with better produce that will last long!

As we head into summertime, maybe you’re growing your own fruit and can pick directly from the vine. Use this guide to make your summer bounty last longer!

How long do bell peppers last in the fridge?

How long do bell peppers last in the fridge?

It depends on how fresh they are when you get them, but you can often store them in the crisper drawer for up to two weeks! 

First things first: ensuring your peppers last a while starts at the grocery store. As with most fresh food, you want to look out for any signs of spoilage — black spots, holes, and shriveled skin are all dead giveaways that your peppers only have a short time before being inedible. 

The freshest bell peppers boast vibrant colors and have taut, smooth skin with no bad spots or blemishes. (This is not the only pepper variety this applies to — same goes for hot peppers, too!)

In addition, make sure you’re storing them properly, i.e. in the low-humidity drawer. Why? Peppers are a fruit that emits ethylene gas (same as melons, apples, and mangoes). 

While this gas is great for speeding along the ripening process (put a hard avocado or stone fruit next to a bunch of bananas and they’ll be ready in a day or so), it can also push already-ripe fruit past the brink.

To create a dry environment, the slider setting opens a window for the ethylene to escape, thus helping preserve your peppers. 

Also, weird but fun fact: your produce drawers (much like your gas tank) work better if they’re at least ⅔ full. Apparently, if there’s too much air in the drawer, they can’t do their job!

fresh and vibrant sweet bell peppers

Should you use a vinegar wash, rinse, or produce spray?

I typically find that using cold running water and a bit of friction from my hands is usually sufficient to clean most produce.

That said, using a vinegar wash is an easy, cheap way to remove bacteria, pesticides, and other impurities on the surface of your fruits and veggies.

Plus, vinegar’s preservative qualities (helloooo pickles!) may help to extend the shelf-life of your bell peppers.

If you’d like to do a vinegar rinse, mix 1 part distilled white vinegar (or ACV, but that’s more expensive) with 4 parts water.

You can then either spray the solution onto your peppers or submerge them in it. Leave the solution on for about 5 minutes for it to do its work, then thoroughly rinse and dry the peppers before storing.  

I don’t recommend store-bought produce sprays or washes — they’re much more expensive than the vinegar solution, and some of the ingredients can cause gastrointestinal distress. 

chopped and sliced bell peppers

Do bell peppers need to be refrigerated?

Again, it depends. First, are they fresh, whole peppers? If so, you have options. If you only plan on storing them for a little bit (i.e. a day or two), keeping them in a fruit bowl in a dark, dry place at room temperature is perfectly fine.

If you plan on storing them for longer, the refrigerator is the better option. 

However, if you’re working with cut peppers or cooked bell peppers, they need to be kept under refrigeration for food safety.

how to prep and store fresh bell peppers

What you’ll need for bell pepper prep and storage

You don’t need a ton of gear to keep your peppers fresh. For whole fresh bell peppers (or whole hot chili peppers) all you’ll need is a fridge and clean kitchen towel or paper towel to wick away any excess moisture.

For cut or cooked peppers you’ll need:

  • A sharp knife (for cutting/prepping)
  • An airtight container or zip-top plastic bag
  • A parchment-lined baking sheet or cookie sheet (if you’re freezing them)

How to prep and store fresh peppers — 4 easy steps!

Step 1: Remove peppers from your produce bag. They need air! I like to store my whole peppers in the fridge in reusable produce bags, that let air circulate in, while also not trapping moisture. Definitely don’t keep them in plastic produce bags.

Step 2: Rinse peppers using the method of your choice (i.e. water or a vinegar solution).

Step 3: Dry peppers thoroughly. Bacteria loves moisture, so wick away as much as possible — especially if you want them to stay fresh in the fridge for a long time.

Step 4: Cut peppers (optional). Remove the stem side first, then pull out the seeds and white membranes. From here, you can cut the peppers into long strips, then go a step further and dice them if you like. (It’s all about personal preference and what you’re using them for.) Make sure to cut up the top part that is attached to the stem side, too.

how I like to prep and store bell peppers for less food waste

How to freeze bell peppers

Freezing bell peppers is considered the best practice to keep them nice and fresh for an extended period. Here’s how to save your peppers for way-in-the-future use: 

Step 1: Prep. Follow the steps outlined above to prep and store fresh peppers. Once they’re in strips or diced, you can proceed to the next step.

Step 2: Spread the peppers out in a single layer on a parchment-lined cookie sheet or plate. Keep the pieces as separate as possible so they don’t clump up.

Step 3: Pop the peppers in the freezer. Leave them for about an hour or two, or until they’ve frozen solid.

Step 4: Transfer the frozen peppers into freezer bags. To prevent freezer burn, you want to remove as much air as possible. I like using the water in a large pot trick, but pressing out the air with your fingers is a decent alternative method. 

Step 5: Label & date your bags. While they will be safe to eat after a year in the freezer, a year is a long time. Eating them within 3-6 months is a great way to ensure your peppers taste their best. I recommend adding a “best by” or “expiration date” rather than the date they were cut.

storing bell peppers to make them last longer

Favorite bell pepper recipes

Now that you have peppers that lasts in your fridge ready to eat and use, here are some favorite ways to use them!

bell pepper prepare and storage

Waste less food! Here are more produce prep and storage guides:

how to cut and store fresh bell peppers
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How To Store Cut and Whole Fresh Bell Peppers Longer

Wondering how to store bell peppers? You’ve come to the right place! In this comprehensive guide, I’ll show you multiple different ways to store whole bell peppers and cut bell peppers so you can reduce food waste and get a jump on meal prep.
Prep Time0 minutes
Active Time5 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bell pepper, food storage
Author: Heather

Materials

  • A sharp knife (for cutting/prepping)
  • An airtight container or zip-top plastic bag
  • A parchment-lined baking sheet or cookie sheet if you're freezing them

Instructions

  • Remove peppers from your produce bag. They need air! I like to store my whole peppers in the fridge in reusable produce bags, that let air circulate in, while also not trapping moisture. Definitely don’t keep them in plastic produce bags.
  • Rinse peppers using the method of your choice (i.e. water or a vinegar solution).
  • Dry peppers thoroughly. Bacteria loves moisture, so wick away as much as possible — especially if you want them to stay fresh in the fridge for a long time.
  • Cut peppers (optional). Remove the stem side first, then pull out the seeds and white membranes. From here, you can cut the peppers into long strips, then go a step further and dice them if you like. (It’s all about personal preference and what you’re using them for.) Make sure to cut up the top part that is attached to the stem side, too.

If you try my method for prepping and storing fresh cut bell peppers, I’d love it if you left a star rating and comment below letting me know how it goes for you!

XO

Heather

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