You Need To Know Jamie Oliver's Top Tip For Storing Leftover Chilies

For anyone who likes a bit of heat in their meals, chili peppers are an absolute kitchen staple. There are a wide variety of dried varieties that can keep in your pantry or spice cabinet for quite some time — anywhere from 2 to 4 years depending on the specific type and style or chili pepper, according to Magic Plant Farms. However, anyone who loves cooking with heat knows that there's nothing like the bold, vibrant flavor that comes from fresh chili peppers.

The only problem is that for many palates, chili peppers are quite potent. A little will go a long way in your dish, which means you'll likely have some leftover peppers on hand after making whatever meal you bought them for. You don't want to waste them, and it would be handy to have some available for the next dish where you'll need them so you don't have to make another run to the grocery store. 

Luckily, cookbook author and television personality Jamie Oliver has a quick and easy tip for how to store those leftover chili peppers so they stay fresh. As Oliver shared on Instagram, he simply freezes whole chili peppers. Then, when he needs them, he uses a fine grater or microplane to grate some of what he calls "gorgeous chilli dust" onto whatever he's making, adding some flavor and heat with no extra chopping needed.

How to freeze chili peppers

In Jamie Oliver's April 20 Instagram post, he paired his tip-packed caption with a shot of various frozen chili peppers in a container, along with a microplane to illustrate how the pepper will look when it's been grated. However, for best results, you'll want to keep a few things in mind when freezing chili peppers.

First of all, as Chili Pepper Madness advises, ensure your peppers are truly good to store and have no signs of rot. Then, wash and dry them completely — the drying part is important so the peppers don't stick together. And if you really want to make sure they don't clump together, take Pure Grace Farms's tip and flash-freeze them. For this, you'll want to line a baking sheet with wax paper or parchment paper, lay out all your peppers so they're not touching, and freeze them like that. Once they're frozen, you can toss them all together in one bag or container.

Be mindful that you don't just toss them in the back of the freezer and keep them there indefinitely. According to Epicurious, though frozen chili peppers will last for up to a year, the flavor and heat will be diminished if you wait that long. For best results, use them within three to six months of freezing.