How to Preserve Roasted Peppers

Follow these simple steps to make your own preserved roasted red peppers –– a smoky and slightly sweet addition to pastas, sandwiches and more.  

When peppers are at their peak, be sure to pack some away for the cooler months. Roasted red peppers are a versatile ingredient in any kitchen, and we use a technique taught to us by Hank Shaw of Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook.

Red bell peppers will work fine for this, but if you can, try to find piquillo or pimento peppers (pictured), as they have thinner skins, more even shapes and robust pepper flavor. 

Rinse and dry the peppers well. Place them over a hot grill or even a stovetop gas burner on high. Alternatively, this can be done under a broiler. Sear the peppers on all sides until the skin is completely blackened and pulling away from the flesh. Place the peppers in a large paper bag or a deep bowl covered with cling wrap. Allow the heat of the peppers to steam the skins until cool, at least 20 minutes. 

Peel away the charred skins of the peppers and discard them. Keep a bowl of water on hand to rinse clinging skins off your fingers, but do not rinse the peppers; you want to preserve as much flavor as possible. Reserve any liquid that has collected in the bowl. 

The peeled peppers should be nearly completely free of any skin, but don't worry if a few flecks remain. They should be soft and glossy. 

Trim away the top of each pepper, cut a slit down one side and open it up like a book. Scrape out all the seeds and ribs from the interior. Discard the tops, ribs and seeds. Cut the peppers into filets and place them in a bowl with any collected liquid from the steaming bowl.

Add some vinegar to a shallow dish. Apple cider vinegar works well here, as does sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar. Dredge each piece of pepper through the vinegar on each side at least twice, coating well, and place into a new bowl.

Sprinkle a pinch of kosher salt over the peppers and toss lightly with your fingers. Do this twice. 

Pour a small amount of vinegar into the bottom of the jars you will store the peppers in, just enough to cover the base. Pack the peppers into the jars, leaving 1/2 inch of space at the top.

Run a knife or chopstick around the edges of the jar to remove any air bubbles. If the liquid level drops, add more of the pepper-vinegar liquid from the bowl, still leaving 1/2 inch of space at the top.

Pour olive oil over the top of the peppers, completely covering them but leaving 1/4 inch of space. Seal the jar and store in the refrigerator for up to a year. The peppers will soften over time. To use the peppers, remove the jar from the refrigerator and allow them to come to room temperature so you can remove peppers while still leaving the remainder completely covered in oil. Add more oil if needed to maintain complete coverage. 

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