Green peppers, more frequently referred to as bell peppers, are in fact botanically considered fruits, contrary to popular belief1. Green peppers originated in South American lands now known as Mexico and its geographically nearby countries.
Just like most other forms of organic produce, green peppers are prime targets for microorganisms as well as certain species of insects. Apart from these factors, enzymes present within the vegetable itself eventually break it down if storage procedures are not adhered to.
Green peppers, if simply kept on the counter-top with no other attempts at extending its shelf-life, will only last up to five days. This number only applies to peppers that have not been cut, and in an environment free of excess moisture, heat or insects.
What are the Ideal Temperature and Humidity Conditions for Green Peppers?
Green pepper, being a fruit grown in warm and humid climates, possesses a relatively high internal water content in comparison to other species of pepper.
Because of this, the best way to avoid dehydration and the subsequent loss of flavor and texture in green pepper is to store it in an environment with a relative humidity of 85 to 90%.
On the temperature side of things, ensure that the average temperature does not reach the freezing point of water at 32°F, as the rapid crystallization of water within the green pepper’s cells will rupture them. This is why, once frozen, most organic produce lose the quality of their texture.
Ideally, store green peppers at a temperature of 45°F instead.
How Long Does Green Pepper Last in the Pantry?
As was previously mentioned in this article, green peppers stored in the pantry will only last up to a maximum of five days due to the fact that they are organic produce.
Most organic produce share the same liability factors when storage longevity is called into question, namely that of moisture and temperature levels.
While the exact levels differ between different types of produce, green peppers in particular have specific humidity requirements in order to preserve the quality of their texture.
To store green peppers in the pantry, it is best to wrap them lightly in plastic cling film or a paper bag. Keep them in a cool and dark corner of your pantry or kitchen, ensuring that they are sufficiently insulated from any insects that may be present in the room.
Keep in mind that green pepper, being approximately 92.2% water by mass2, is very prone to being colonized by bacteria and fungi, as well as becoming dehydrated in the wrong conditions.
In order to avoid this, it is best to keep the fruit stored in an air-tight wrapping and to a safe distance away from direct sunlight.
How Long Does Green Pepper Last in the Fridge?
A far more advisable option than storing the green peppers in your pantry, storing the fruit in the crisper drawer will allow it to last for up to two weeks, so long as your fridge is capable of reaching the ideal temperature of 45°F or slightly lower.
In order to do so, first wash the surfaces of the green peppers, removing any dirt or packaging residue left over from the store. Once washed, pat the surface dry with a cloth towel.
Give the peppers one final inspection for any signs of spoilage, as the enzymes and toxins released from a spoiled pepper can spoil any adjacent fruits.
Leave in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator for a maximum of two weeks, though the peppers may expire sooner than this if they have been purchased too late from the market.
Can You Freeze Green Peppers?
Yes, green peppers may be kept in the freezer for some amount of time, though the texture will be altered somewhat as previously mentioned in this article.
Choosing to freeze your green peppers begins by selecting the appropriate produce. Pick green peppers that have no markings or dents along the skin and a stem that is still well-hydrated and attached to the rest of the fruit.
Apart from picking the best possible produce for freezing, you will need a parchment-lined baking sheet as well as several resealable plastic pouches.
Preparing Green Peppers for Freezing
First, wash the peppers thoroughly, dislodging any dirt or debris that may be clinging to the skin of the fruit.
Once washed, rub the green peppers dry with a cloth towel, as excess moisture on the surface of the fruit will hasten the degradation of their texture.
Place the now-clean peppers on your parchment or wax paper lined baking sheet, leaving enough space between the peppers so they do not freeze together. Place the baking sheet with the peppers in the freezer for two hours or until ice crystals have formed.
Freezing Green Peppers
After several hours have passed, remove the baking sheet with the green peppers and prepare your plastic pouches. Fill with the green peppers, taking care not to force too many into a single bag, as this will cause the skin to rupture and hasten their spoilage.
Squeeze out as much air as possible from between the fruit and within the bag. Place in the freezer away from any area where they may be crushed beneath other foods being stored.
Freezing green peppers in this manner will allow it to remain edible for as long as twelve months, though degradation of texture and flavor will begin far before this time.
Can You Store Sliced Green Peppers?
Yes, all of the above methods will also apply to green peppers that have already been sliced or otherwise processed into smaller pieces.
The only caveat to this, however, is that once the green pepper’s skin has been compromised and the flesh has been exposed to the open air, it will begin to spoil more quickly in comparison to whole green peppers.
1. “Capsicum annuum (bell pepper)”. CABI. 28 November 2017
2. Unknown Author. (January 2019) “Peppers, sweet, red, raw” U.S. Department of Agriculture FoodData Central