Hot but not stomach burning hot! This perfectly describes your serrano peppers. The medium hot chili surprises you with a tinge that slowly creeps up your tongue and lingers on.
Whether you add these green, red, and orange peppers to your favorite bean chili and salsa verde or infuse them in your tequila, you get an unexpected flavor boost. No wonder, it’s one of the three favorite chili peppers in Mexican cuisine along with habanero and jalapeno.
Spice and heat aside, serrano pepper is prone to spoiling when not stored properly. If you’ve been on a chili buying or growing spree, chances are you find yourself with more chilis than you can handle.
We at BetterFood have found ways to make your serrano last a long time. 6-8 months long.
Here’s how you do that – Freezing the serrano peppers.
With this guide, we show storing methods easy enough for anyone who is unfamiliar with the kitchen.
But before that, let’s find out:
Shelf Life Of Fresh Serrano Peppers
At room temperature, whole chilies last for 3-4 days. This, of course, depends on whether the weather is cool or hot. On hot days, these chilis will wilt or dry up faster.
Sliced or cut serrano peppers have a much shorter window for going from fresh to rotten. If you leave cut pieces on the countertop for more than 2-3 hours, throw them away to be on the safe side.
This applies to your roasted and cooked chilies as well.
You can extend this short shelf life of fresh serrano peppers by storing them in the fridge.
How Long Does Serrano Last In The Fridge?
Uncut chili stays fresh in the fridge for 1-2 weeks. Store it in the vegetable tray or the crisper. Beyond that, they may get moldy or develop white fungal spots, and you have no choice but to dump them in the garbage bin.
Chopped, roasted and cooked chilis have a much shorter fridge life than whole ones. These stay fresh for 3-4 days. Use within this time limit or discard.
For the ultimate method of storing your spicy chilis, freeze them.
Tip: You can also add stale or wrinkled ones to compost.
You may also be interested in this related article: Is raw chicken okay in fridge for 7 days?
How Long Does Serrano Pepper Last In The Freezer?
You can freeze whole serrano peppers. If you want to make the maximum use of your chili, store them in the freezer. You can extend their lifespan from 6-8 months, even longer months by storing them in the freezer.
How about sliced or cooked serrano chili?
If packed and stored properly, these should last for 3-4 months in the freezer. You can always store them for longer, but they will lose their nutritional value and flavor with time.
Things to remember:
Wear gloves when handling hot peppers as the capsaicin in chili can cause a burning sensation when it comes in contact with your skin.
Avoid using regular jars to prevent them from cracking and opt for freeze bag containers or bags.
To reduce heat in cut chili, remove the seeds and white membrane before cooking and/or freezing it.
Can you freeze green serrano peppers?
Yes! you can freeze green, red and even orange serrano peppers. Follow the steps we discuss below.
How Do I Freeze Serrano Peppers?
Now that we know how long they last, there are some techniques you should follow to make preserving your chili peppers worth it. This will ensure that they freeze well and are safe to consume after thawing.
Wash Your Serrano Peppers
You’ll find contradicting advice online leaving you wondering whether you should wash the chili or not.
In the fridge, your ingredients will only remain cold, and can be easily washed before chopping and cooking.
The freezer is a different beast.
Your food item may release moisture when being thawed. Sometimes, they will end up mushy which makes rinsing with water nearly impossible.
It is always a prudent practice to wash your vegetables and fruits before storing them in the freezer.
Towel Dry Serrano Peppers
Wipe them down with paper towels or napkins to remove the excess water. Better still would be to let them air dry for an hour, so that all the moisture evaporates. This process of drying will be quicker on hotter or warmer days.
By completing drying the chili peppers before you place them in the freezer, you prevent wet spots and freezer burn.
Pack in freezer safe bag or container
To ensure your peppers stay fresh in the freezer, pack them properly. Take a large and clean ziploc or freeze safe bag and put the chilis in it. Squeeze as much air you can from the bag before sealing it tight.
If you’re planning on dry freezing fruits and vegetables, then invest in freeze sage and air containers made of glass or silicone. We recommend a vacuum sealer as well for regular or bulk freezing.
Store Serrano Peppers In The Freezer
Place the peppers in the freezer until you need them. Your frozen chili will remain fresh for 6 months. You can stretch this to 8-10 months, but there will be a slight loss in heat and increased risk of freezer burn.Planning to freeze cooked or salad meals? Check out this article: Can you freeze chicken salad?
How to Freeze Sliced and Cooked Serrano Chili
The method of freezing cut and cooked serrano is the same as for whole chili. It requires nothing other than cooked, roasted or cut serrano pepper.
Slice each serrano and remove the white membrane and seeds, if desired. Remember the heat mainly comes from the seeds, and removing them will make your serrano almost as mild as your jalapeno.
Place the sliced or chopped pieces on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Place this sheet in the freezer until the slices are frozen.
Remove and add frozen pieces to freezer bags or containers Label and store for up to 4 months. Any longer and the chili pepper will lose heat and flavor, and may get freezer burn.
Use them directly in the required recipe.
Follow the above steps for freezing cooked or roasted serrano peppers.
Another method of freezing chopped chili pepper is cold packing.
In this, you simply add chopped slices to warm or salted water. Add this to sterilized containers (leaving a ¼ inch gap at the top). You can mix in other spices, if desired.
How does cold packing help? This prevents the vegetable from turning mushy. You can then use the sliced serrano peppers in salads or as pizza topping.
Tip: The cold pack method won't work well with cooked or roasted serrano as they are soft to begin with.Did you know you can freeze fruits too? Check out this complete guide on How to Freeze Pears?
How To Thaw and Refreeze Serrano Peppers
Use them directly in any raw food recipe as you would use fresh serrano like salsa, sauces or dips.
For other dishes, remove the required amount of chili from the bag and bring it to room temperature. As they will be softer, thawed serrano is suitable for stews, soups, stir-fries.
You can even dehydrate them for making powders and seasoning blends.
Refreezing partially thawed chili is possible. You may find a loss of flavor, but it’s perfectly safe to consume. FoodSafety.gov suggests that thawed food which still has ice crystals on it or has been kept in the fridge can be safely frozen again.
You don’t have to wonder anymore about storing and freezing serrano peppers.
You can freeze them by using the simple technique we discussed in this guide. Both whole and sliced chili can be frozen to make them last longer.
The best part is you can use the chili directly in certain recipes without thawing them on the countertop.
Have you frozen serrano or other chili peppers? Let us know in your comments.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Freeze Other Chili Peppers?
You can use this guide to store any cut, uncut or cooked chili pepper. This includes everything from bell pepper to your scotch bonnet.
How To Know Whether Serrano Peppers Are Rotting?
If you’ve kept the serrano pepper in the pantry or fridge beyond the best by date, chances are they will start to spoil. Wrinkled and dry skin is a sign of serrano losing moisture and going bad.
Mold or dark spots are a clear indication of active rot and it is better to throw it away. Soft texture is another sign that your chili is past its best state.
Can You Use Old Or Shriveled Serranos?
If there are no external signs of rot, then bite into a chili. If you don’t feel a tinge, then your chili is losing its flavor and getting old. Old and wrinkled serrano can still be salvaged and used in recipes which only need a little heat.
What Happens When You Eat Spoiled Serrano Pepper?
If you’ve eaten one or two pieces, you will likely be alright. People with sensitive stomachs may experience very mild effects of food poisoning that goes away without medication.
Mold in rotten serrano could cause allergic reactions in some people. Play safe and avoid consuming chili that has gone bad.