Learn how to save a wrinkled pepper from ending up in the trash.
No one likes wrinkles.
Well maybe if your an elephant you are cool with it, but us humans hope to avoid wrinkles in our lives as much as possible.
One of the foods that often fall victim to wrinkles is the pepper or chile, if you like. Does that mean that pepper is destine for the trash or does it still have culinary usefulness?
Why Do Pepper Winkle?
The reason peppers wrinkle is moisture loss. It's the same reason raisins are wrinkly, they are grapes that have been dried out. Despite our best efforts, just like our faces, with time wrinkles are going to develop.
Some peppers actually look more naturally wrinkled. I have looked through seed catalogs at peppers and seen some hot peppers that appeared like they already had wrinkles - they weren't really wrinkles though.
Cook Wrinkled Peppers
I never, ever throw out any pepper because it is wrinkly. That isn't enough. They are still very much edible. Time to make some fajitas!
If you are look to eat them raw, and have that crisp pepper experience, then wrinkly peppers won't be for you. I would recommend a fresh pepper.
Save the wrinkled peppers for cooking. I doubt you will even be able to tell as the pepper softens when cooked anyway. When I worked at a grocery store we would pull the wrinkled peppers from the displays and give them to the kitchen to use in their prepared dishes. No reason to waste.
What About Jalapenos?
This applies to Jalapenos and other hot peppers are well. People don't dip jalapeno peppers into ranch dressing and bite into them - although if you do, I admire you, I never could!
If you go to a grocery store that sells reduced priced produce and there is a big bag of jalapenos that look a little wrinkly, buy them up and freeze them in a reusable freezer bag for later use in any dish you want to add some heat to.
Cut Off the Wrinkled Part
Peppers don't wrinkle all over at once either. You could cut part of the pepper off that is wrinkly and save the rest for cooking. If you don't have enough, just freeze them. I would slice them up how you would for cooking, so that they are ready to go. You can throw them right into the pan frozen, they will heat up fast.
What if Pepper is Black Inside?
Sometimes you will open up the pepper and find that is it black inside. This is usually the seeds have gone bad for whatever reason. If the rest of the pepper looks fine and you don't see any mold, then remove the seeds and cut the pepper up to use as normal.
You see any mold, anywhere on the pepper that I would caution to throw it out.
What if It's Slimy or Soggy?
If a pepper is feeling slimy on the outside, I would be hesitate to save them. If you wash them off and they feel normal still, then go ahead and use them, but if they are slimy that they are getting mushy, it's time to toss them.
When peppers really go, they become soggy and deflate. That's a point of no return for me.
How Long Do Peppers Last?
After you buy them from the store, you might get a week or two out of them before wrinkling starts to happen. It really depends on how fresh they were at the store to begin with. Ones I have grown myself lasted for several weeks in the fridge without any blemish.
In my experience the smaller, sweet snacking peppers that have become popular can last longer in the fridge without wrinkling.
If you cut the peppers, you need to use them up or freeze them within 3 days or quality will begin to diminish.
Green bell peppers tend to last longer than peppers of other colors. The reason for that? Keep on reading.
If you find that your pepper is changing colors that isn't a reason to be alarmed. If the skin of pepper is green it could turn colors, although it's not a guarantee. Many peppers start out green on the vine before turning colors.
It's possible that you can buy a green pepper that is actually a red pepper that was picked unripe. I believe this is why green bell peppers seem to last longer than other colors.
Don't use color alone as a determining factor in if you are going to keep or toss a pepper.
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