I got a good crop of habaneros with my first effort growing them this year (and more on the way!). I decided on freezing them for long-term storage. As I’m concerned about the possibility of freezer burn, I have 2 questions for you:
1. Once I start using my habaneros, how would I tell if they have been affected by freezer burn?
2. Would pickling them be an effective way to turn around any loss of heat and flavor caused by improper freezing? Thanks!
Congrats on your hab crop.
1. Freezer burn is simply dessication–loss of moisture from whatever’s being frozen. Shriveled pods and discoloration are the signs. The best way to delay freezer burn is to vacuum seal the package to remove air. Double bagging is also useful, but over time, freezer burn is inevitable.
2. There will be no loss of heat–capsaicin is impervious to freezing. If anything, the heat will increase as the moisture decreases. Pickling will not help–in fact, it will change the flavor of the habaneros.
A good way to avoid freezer burn is to turn the pods into a hot sauce rather than freezing them.