Peppers – Eating Fresh from the Garden through December

In my last post on peppers I listed about 6 things frequently promoted online about peppers, the exact opposite of which I find to be true.

I would think by now that I wouldn’t be amazed by anything I read that is incorrect, but I am.  And I can’t help but wonder where they come up with all this “incorrect” information.

Some weeks ago I was writing two articles on peppers for Out Here magazine.  Before I started to write I did a little looking around for what was being written on the subject.   (I always prefer to take a fresh approach — rather than one that’s been done already.)

I was amazed at the number of articles that informed the reader that “peppers won’t keep in the refrigerator” and “will keep just a few days on the kitchen counter.”  I’m not sure how these writers come to their conclusions, but I certainly have found both things to be false.

The Refrigerator

When I have an abundance of fresh peppers — which I often do — I keep them in an open plastic bag (like the ones that come from the grocery store) in the crisper bin of the refrigerator.  They keep absolutely beautifully at least 3 weeks and often 4 weeks.

Open Air – on the Porch

Sometimes I’ll bring in a pepper that is not fully red. If I were to place it in the refrigerator it would not continue to ripen. I would never leave it on my kitchen counter because even though I keep my house cooler than most, the kitchen is still not cool enough to “store” vegetables.  A warm place can cause vegetables to rot very quickly.

I place the peppers on our enclosed porch which is cooler and where I store my onions and  fresh tomatoes.  The peppers will continue to turn red and keep about 5 days without showing any decline.

Then they’ll start to turn a bit soft.  Just enough so you know they’re not perfect anymore.  They’ll still continue to ripen and the taste will still be good for a week or more —- but they are no longer the crisp fresh peppers that their counterparts in the refrigerator would be.

On the Plant

I extended my pepper season at least a month by leaving them on the plants until December 13th.

We had quite a few nights of frost in November. We had some below freezing nights too.

The crisper bins in my refrigerator were filled with  peppers and I knew if I could keep the ones on the plants in the garden safe from the cold, I’d have fresh peppers that much longer.  Not to mention — having a better chance of having more red peppers the longer they stayed on the plant.

I wrapped the plants with row cover cloth and fastened it together with clothespins.  They remained that way for more than a month!

When I removed the fabric on December 13th, not a leaf remained alive.  All leaves were dry and dead from the freezes.  But the peppers looked fabulous!  And it was perfect timing because the peppers in my crisper bins were almost depleted.

If I ration us to no more than two peppers a day, I’ll have enough fresh peppers to get through at least the first week in January.

Final Thought

Of course I have peppers for cooking in the freezer along with tomato sauce, blueberries, raspberries, some spinach, a bag or two of chopped onions, strawberries, and few other things.  But when that second week in January arrives and I’ve used all my fresh tomatoes, onions and peppers — I know from past years I’ll feel like there’s nothing to eat.

Short of moving to a warmer climate, I wonder if I could figure out how to get those tomatoes and peppers to last even longer?? 😉


Related Posts:

Peppers – It Ain’t Necessarily So


Organic gardening is easy, effective, efficient — and it’s a lot heathier.


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  • I had peppers (and tomatoes) on my counter top up until just last week with the same results Theresa. However, mine stubbornly refused to get any redder either indoors or out. Still, it is nice to have anything fresh from the garden, especially peppers and tomatoes, at this time of year.

    I still can’t quite believe everything I learned about tomatoes this year from reading here, but the fact that I just put a fresh tomato on a sandwich last week is proof.

  • I’ve pretty much decided from what I’ve seen this season that it just takes bell-type peppers longer to turn red than I’m willing to wait. I’ll still grow them of course, but next year I’ll have a lot more sheep nose and bull-horn type peppers.

    Of course, it could have to do with all kinds of slight variables that we’ve not been aware of — but time will tell — and in the meantime I’m growing with my best chance for red peppers in mind.

    Sandra, I am as pleased with your tomatoes as you are! Everyone who loves tomatoes should have them through December at least! Now if I could just find a way through the first 6 months of the year with fresh tomatoes. 🙂

  • Theresa,

    If anyone can come up with a solution to a tomato-less spring, you will!

    I sure look forward to that day.


  • I dug my pepper plants and put them in spackle buckets in the basement. Here in western mass we expect 4 nights of mid twenties and I can’t bear to loose these productive Carmens. I wonder it will work

  • Hope you’ll have good luck with that Neal.
    My guess is that the peppers themselves will probably last a little while and not shrivel immediately.
    Let me know what happens.
    For future reference here are 3 post to help extend the season.
    #1 –
    #2 –
    #3 –

    Good luck!

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