Roasting Sweet Peppers

Reader Contribution by Judy Delorenzo and Biofield Healing
1 / 6
2 / 6
3 / 6
4 / 6
5 / 6
6 / 6

 

My husband, Jamie, has been growing large gardens for over 30 years and I’ve been putting up the bounty. But somehow the magic of growing and roasting sweet peppers escaped us for most of those seasons, tsk tsk. Now Jamie plants plenty of pepper plants (say that 10 times fast!) specifically for this purpose. We aim to harvest at least a bushel of roasting peppers per season, which provides approximately 16 pints for the freezer.

If I’m busy putting up fragile veggies before they go by, I’ll sometimes leave these sturdy, red jewels hanging around until we can find the time to pick and roast them. They just patiently dangle from their vines, getting sweeter and prettier even into the fall.

Sweet Pepper Varieties for Roasting

The best peppers for roasting have thick skins; thin skinned peppers are hard to peel. For the past few years, Jamie has been growing a variety called ‘Carmen’, a traditional horn-shaped Italian sweet pepper. They are perfect for roasting, as are many horn-shaped sweet peppers. Other types such as ‘Marconi’, ‘Pimentos’, and ‘Bells’ are also wonderful for this use. If growing your own, be sure to leave the peppers on the plant until they ripen into their mature red, orange, yellow, or chocolate color.

Green peppers of all varieties are not yet mature. Yes, those green bell peppers and green Italian fryers that you see at the store are actually not ripe. Fully ripened peppers are sweeter (or hotter depending on the type) and are easier to digest. They also contain more vitamin C, beta-carotene, and anti-oxidants such as capsaicin, lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin when fully ripe.

Methods for Roasting Peppers

You can choose to oven-roast, broil, flame-roast or grill; all methods are similar and straightforward.

Oven-Roasting

Preheat oven to 475°

1. Arrange whole, washed peppers on rimmed baking sheet

2. Place on upper rack in oven and roast for about 30 minutes, turning occasionally with tongs so they become evenly charred

3. Put peppers in a covered casserole dish or covered pot to steam; remove seeds and skins as described below

Broiling

1. Arrange whole, washed peppers on rimmed baking sheet

2. Broil for about 5 minutes, turning often with tongs, until evenly charred (leave adequate space between pepper and heat source)

3. Put peppers in a covered casserole dish or covered pot to steam; remove seeds and skins as described below

Flame-Roasting Over a Gas Stove Burner – only practical if roasting a few

1. Place washed, whole peppers on stove burner directly over the flame; juices will drip onto burner

2. Turn often with tongs until evenly charred, this will take about 4 minutes

3. Put peppers in a covered casserole dish or covered pot to steam; remove seeds and skins as described below

Grill-Roasting On a Charcoal, Wood, or Gas Grill

Hands down my favorite method is gas grill-roasting. The others are messier and/or take longer than the super fast and easy process of cooking peppers on a gas grill. This becomes especially apparent when trying to process a half bushel or more. As far as gas grill-roasted vegetables and carcinogens are concerned, it’s a non issue.

It’s true that grilling meat can create cancer causing heterocyclic amines (HCAs) when the meat is charred. But grilling vegetables does not create HCAs even when charred, and is a healthy way to cook them. Personally I don’t grill with wood or charcoal, but if you do I suggest using a clean product so it doesn’t emit toxins and contaminate your food or air.

Easy Grill-Roasting Process

1. Heat up gas grill on high setting, then turn it down to medium

2. Arrange the washed, whole peppers on grill

3. Close the lid and roast for about five minutes

4. Turn the peppers over with tongs and continue to grill for about five more minutes, turning occasionally in order to char all sides

5. Remove peppers when they are evenly charred

6. Put peppers in a covered casserole dish or covered pot to steam; remove seeds and skins as described below

How and Why You Steam Peppers After Roasting

After roasting, the peppers need to steam while they’re cooling. This makes the skins easier to peel. I use either a covered casserole dish or covered kitchen pot for this step.

Many recipes say to place roasted peppers into a paper bag . . . what’s up with that!? I never used that method because it never made sense to me. First of all, how many roasted peppers can you even fit in a brown paper lunch bag? I’d be reluctant to use a paper grocery bag, because really, how clean is it? Per the University of Illinois Extension, the FDA warns that “ink, glue, and recycled materials in brown paper bags may emit toxic fumes when the bag is heated.”

And then there is the issue of juice. Roasted peppers release juices which I prefer to catch, versus allowing them to absorb into a bag and/or leak through a bag.

How to Remove Seeds and Skins

Here’s how I remove the seeds and skins. I also explain the whole process in a YouTube Video.

1. Once cool enough to handle, place a pepper on your largest cutting board and slice through only the pepper’s top layer lengthwise from stem to tip (if you end up slicing through both layers it’s fine).

2. With the pepper still on the cutting board, hold the stem and cut open the pepper so the whole thing lays flat; remove the seed ball and any stray seeds (watch my YouTube Video if you’re confused)

3. Turn the pepper over and scrape the skin off with a knife using a sweeping motion. Some people peel the skin off with their fingers, but I find that method to be messy and more time consuming.

Ways to Enjoy Roasted Peppers

The peppers are roasted, peeled and ready! At this point you can either eat, refrigerate, or freeze. Eating them of course is ahhhhh-mazing, in fact I always include them “as is” in our Holiday Antipasto which I also wrote a blog post about. But there are so many other ways to enjoy them.

Here are some ideas:

make roasted pepper hummus
use as a pizza topping
blend with olive oil, lemon, herbs and spices to make salad dressing
make roasted pepper pesto
bake into casseroles
include in pasta and stir fry recipes
drape over baked potatoes
make roasted red pepper soup
chop and use as a garnish
blend with cashew cheese
add to potato, pasta or garden salads
make lettuce wraps with roasted pepper, avocado, cucumber, tomato
and more!

Freezing Roasted Peppers

Roasted peppers keep less than a week in the refrigerator, but they freeze really well. I like to freeze them in pint-sized canning jars or seal them in BPA-free bags using a Food Saver vacuum sealer.

This is how I freeze in jars:

1. Place peppers in clean mason jars – 1/2 pint, pint, or 1-1/2 pint jars are rated for freezing

2. The words “fill line” are etched into mason jars so you know how much you can put into them (over-filled jars may crack because the peppers and juice will swell as it freezes)

3. I like to lay a piece of parchment paper on top of the peppers to prevent freezer burn

4. Cap, label, and freeze

I hope you’ve enjoyed this exposé on roasting sweet peppers. Leave a comment below and tell us how you like to include these sweet delights into your recipes and life.

Judy DeLorenzo is a holistic health practitioner, garden foodie, and daycare founder. She has a deep understanding that food is medicine and “we are what we eat” so we should treat our bodies with respect by eating pure, whole, super nutritious foods. She loves to grow and shop for food, create recipes, cook, take food photos, and share the process with clients, her social media audience, family, and friends. You can learn more about Judy’s healing practice at Biofield Healing and enjoy her blog posts at A Life Well Planted. Read all of Judy’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

Need Help? Call 1-800-234-3368