How to preserve your own roasted sweet peppers.

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We use a lot of sweet peppers in our house.  They are our go-to vegetable, as they are prolific in the summer months, of fairly good quality in the winter months, easy to add to almost anything we eat, and are among the class of vegetables that my husband adores. Despite being vegetarian, let’s just say that there are lots of vegetables that he is not exactly in love with, and others that will bring about speedy divorce should I ever put them to table (brussel sprouts, I’m looking at you).  He is still suffering post traumatic stress from his mother’s preparations of vegetables growing up- including the infamous spaghetti squash incident, where his mom told him that it tasted “just like pumpkin pie”.  He will not eat squash to this day.  But, I digress, back to sweet peppers.

Roasting sweet peppers really enhances their sweetness, but also adds a meaty texture to them that goes well on salads, in pasta or on crusty bread.  You can also use them to make sauces, soups and spreads, such as this Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Spread, an amazing take on muhammara taken from August’s Gourmet magazine (I swear, I made most of the recipes in that issue).

You can purchase pre-roasted sweet peppers, particularly red peppers, or you can save some money and make your own!  Flavored olive-oil is a by-product of the process, so there’s no waste.

Preserved Roasted Sweet Peppers

Sweet peppers

Olive oil

Herbs (optional)

Equipment: A cookie sheet, silicone baking mat, kitchen tongs, freezer bag, Mason jar or other tight-filling container.

1. Pre-heat your oven to 425º.  If your oven has a roast setting, use it.  If not, the bake setting is fine.

2. Clean the peppers using a vegetable brush.  Place them upright on a cutting board, and cut them vertically in sections (there should be roughly four per pepper).  Wash off any seeds and cut away any of the placenta (the white bits).

3. Place a silicone baking mat (such as Sil-pat) on a cookie sheet.  If you don’t have a silicone mat, grease the cookie sheet liberally with oil. The peppers become very sticky when heated.

4. Put the peppers on the baking mat, outer side up, a few inches apart.

5. Roast 2 inches from the broiler for 12-15 minutes, depending on your oven’s settings.  You’ll know they are done when the skins are mostly black and blistery.

6. Remove from oven and immediately transfer, using kitchen tongs, to a freezer bag with a zipper seal.  Seal the bag.  This will steam the peppers, allowing the skins to be more easily peeled.

7. When the peppers are cool to the touch, peel the skin away with your fingers.  Don’t worry if some of it won’t come up, just be sure to get the blackened, blistery parts.  Put the skinless peppers in a clean Mason jar.

8. After all your peppers have been skinned, submerge them in olive oil and add  snipped fresh or dried herbs (I used rosemary, oregano, basil and thyme) to taste.  Seal the jar and shake.  Refrigerate- do not store at room temperature!

The peppers will last roughly 2 weeks in your fridge.  The flavored olive oil left over can then be repurposed!  The olive oil thicken as it chills, so take it out of the fridge approximately an hour before use to clarify.

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