So you just purchased your groceries and are wondering if you need to place your bell peppers and jalapenos in the fridge. After all, things seem to last longer and stay fresher in the fridge so why not your peppers?
So do peppers need to be refrigerated or can they be left out on the kitchen countertop?
Peppers do not have to be refrigerated but will last longer in the fridge versus the kitchen countertop. Peppers can last up to 3 weeks if properly stored whole, dry, and in a plastic bag within the crisper drawer. You can leave a pepper on your kitchen countertop for a few days before it goes bad.
How long a pepper lasts on the countertop depends on your room temperature and humidity levels.
Let’s cover why you should and should not refrigerate your peppers so you can decide which option is best for you.
Why Should I Refrigerate My Peppers?
Peppers will still be edible and usable for a few days if left on the countertop. In fact, it can even be helpful to let your peppers ripen a bit from the store since peppers are picked prematurely.
So why should we even consider refrigerating peppers if you don’t have to?
Unless you plan on using all of your peppers in the next few days, you should refrigerate your peppers so they will last longer. This will give you more time to use all of your peppers before they go bad.
In fact, a study published in the Journal of Food Protection found that whole jalapeno peppers stored at 44°F did not grow any foodborne pathogens like salmonella. This only emphasizes the importance of storing your jalapenos properly in the fridge.
As a rule of thumb – you need to refrigerate produce that is being refrigerated or cooled at the grocery store. Produce purchased at room temperature can be left out although food tends to last longer in the refrigerator.
How To Store Whole Peppers
Storing whole peppers in the refrigerator is the best way to ensure you have fresh peppers ready at a moments notice.
Firm produce, such as peppers, prefer to be stored in a dry, high humidity environment like the crisper drawer. So it’s best to make sure your peppers are dry from the store and leave them wrapped in a plastic bag or place them straight into the crisper drawer.
Make sure that your peppers do not have any cuts or breaks in the skin. Mold will grow and spread quickly in a high humidity environment so this storage method only works for uncut, whole peppers.
How To Store Cut Or Diced Peppers
Diced peppers are very different than whole peppers when it comes to storage. Whole peppers can be left on the countertop for a few days while cut or diced peppers will only be good for a few hours.
The reason why cut or diced peppers go bad so quickly is that the soft inside parts of the pepper are now exposed to the air. These areas can quickly dry out which means the pepper’s flavor dries out as well.
In order to store diced peppers, you need to place them in a bag or container and place them in the refrigerator. You can also tightly wrap the diced peppers in aluminum foil or plastic. Just make sure that these diced peppers are not exposed to air.
Diced or cut peppers will last about 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator once they’re properly stored in an air tight container.
What To Do With Old Wrinkled Peppers?
You’ll notice that even a properly stored pepper will get old in the refrigerator is given enough time.
So what do you do when you see an old wrinkled pepper in the fridge?
Thankfully wrinkled peppers that do not have any mold growing are still edible. In fact, the flavor should still be completely fine although the pepper itself might feel rubbery.
Here are some articles on how you can still use wrinkled peppers:
Peppers do not have to be stored in the refrigerator although it does help preserve the pepper’s freshness for a longer time.
If you plan on using peppers in the next few days then you can either leave them on the countertop or place them in the fridge.
However, if you want to keep your peppers fresh for as long as possible then you need to place your peppers in the refrigerator in a high humidity and dry drawer.
Peppers do not have to be refrigerated. However, a pepper will last longer in the refrigerator than on the kitchen countertop. Peppers can last up to 3 weeks if properly stored whole, dry, and in a plastic bag within the crisper drawer. You can leave a pepper on your kitchen countertop for a few days before it goes bad. How long a pepper lasts on the countertop depends on your room temperature and humidity levels.