Are these nine pounds of frozen ghost peppers still good?
September 29, 2019 10:44 AM   Subscribe

I've had a nine-pound bucket of cleaned and processed ghost peppers (Bhut jolokia) in my freezer for five years. It's time to either use them or throw them out. Are they still good for cooking and canning? How could I tell?

In the past, I've chipped away at the frozen bulk to get a couple of teaspoons a a time. But now, under the lid, the top crusted over with a thick layer of ice. They've been through a move (in a cooler) and a day-long power outage (we didn't open the freezer door). Has the freezer burn and the passage of time made them unusable or undesirable? Given their potency, I can't really do a taste test.

I'm currently thawing them in the fridge. There's enough there that I could toss out the first few inches and only use the center of the bucket. Next weekend would be a good time to can some hot sauce and pepper jelly, since my wife will be out of town.
posted by hydrophonic to Food & Drink (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: They’re fine for any processing purposes. Frozen food doesn’t really ever go bad, just slowly changes texture, but that won’t matter for sauce or jelly.
posted by SaltySalticid at 10:50 AM on September 29, 2019 [4 favorites]

I have frozen ghost peppers that have lived in my freezer for years, they taste just as good in chili as they did fresh.
posted by lydhre at 1:18 PM on September 29, 2019

I just wanna know how you ended up with 9 pounds of ghost peppers in the first place????
posted by kathrynm at 1:23 PM on September 29, 2019 [2 favorites]

Five years? I'm kind of thinking no but would love to hear an update that I am wrong. At that point, between the thawing and the age and the accumulated freezer smells and freezer burn....not so great?

I can't save tomatoes in a Ziploc without them getting gross in six months. However I do have dried cannabis in the freezer since 2016 and bay leaves since 2017 and they're fine but I sort of feel like the moisture content might be the deciding factor here.

Interested to hear how it goes.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 3:04 PM on September 29, 2019

Best answer: The ziploc is far more permeable than the thick bucket wall. The surface area to volume ratio is also far more favorable in the bucket. Also even if they can pick up some freezer odor, it’s pretty hard to imagine what could be detected over the flavor of pure ghost peppers, whereas lots of things are easily detected over the taste of tomatoes.

Lastly, as OP mentions, only the top surface layer would be freezer burned. Freezer burn does not make the food unsafe; it merely causes dry spots in foods.
posted by SaltySalticid at 4:30 PM on September 29, 2019

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers. I'm going to go for it. So little goes into the product that any freezer odors would be minimal. As long as it's safe to can.

I just wanna know how you ended up with 9 pounds of ghost peppers in the first place????

We bought a CSA share in a startup farm that had terrible luck. The only thing they really grew successfully was ghost peppers, and then they couldn't get rid of them.

My canning date got pushed back a week, so I'm going to discard that top layer and move what should be a still-frozen center chunk back to the freezer. This might be my M.O. going forward.
posted by hydrophonic at 12:58 PM on September 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

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