You’re unpacking groceries, and bell peppers are next in line.
How to store bell peppers? Do you need to refrigerate them or not?
If those questions pop up in your head right now, you’re in the right place. Read on to learn about:
- how long sweet peppers can sit in storage
- storage options for bell peppers
- how to tell if your old bell peppers are still okay to eat
How To Store Bell Peppers
To get the longest storage time, keep bell peppers in the crisper drawer in the fridge in a resealable bag.
Cut bell peppers should sit in an airtight container in the refrigerator, possibly lined with a paper towel to capture moisture.
Cooked bell peppers belong in an airtight container in the fridge.
Bell peppers, like radishes or carrots, like cool and humid conditions ([FSI]).
To prevent them from losing moisture content too soon, we can do two things:
- store bell peppers in the veggie drawer, where it’s usually quite humid
- put the veggies in a plastic bag, which slows down moisture loss
Bell peppers like humidity, but washing them before putting in the fridge isn’t a good idea. Postpone that until you’re ready to use them.
How To Store Cut Bell Peppers?
Once you cut open the veggie, it starts to lose water much faster. That water ends up on the bottom of the container, which speeds up the loss of quality.
To slow that down, consider putting a paper towel in the container. It will capture any water and prevent the peppers from getting slimy too soon.
The paper towel trick only makes sense if you plan on storing bell peppers for more than 2 or 3 days. For shorter periods, it doesn’t make much of a difference.
Do Whole Bell Peppers Need To Be Refrigerated?
Technically, not really. I mean, they don’t keep bell peppers in the refrigerated section in the supermarket, do they?
If you plan on using fresh bell peppers the next day, you can leave them on the countertop. The quality will degrade a bit overnight, but that’s about it.
Nevertheless, cold storage is preferred and a must if you want to store bell peppers for more than a couple of days.
How Long Do Bell Peppers Last?
Whole bell peppers last up to two weeks if stored properly, while cut ones about five days. Any cooked dish with bell peppers most likely won’t keep for more than five days.
No matter if you have red, yellow, green, or even orange bell peppers on hand, they all last about the same period. Depending on the source, that’s between a week ([UTIA]) and two weeks ([FSI]).
I had bell peppers in storage for more than a week multiple times, so I’d argue that two weeks is a more precise assessment.
Green peppers might store longer than others ([UTIA]), but only for a couple of days. That’s because most often, green peppers are simply not fully matured peppers.
Cut peppers lose moisture much faster; hence their storage time is limited to about five days. Remember to use the paper towel trick to get those full five or even six days.
When it comes to cooked dishes, I pretty much always recommend finishing the leftovers in 3 to 4 days. If they sit in the fridge for more than five days, it’s time for them to go.
How Do You Know If a Bell Pepper Is Bad?
Your bell pepper is spoiled when:
- It’s rotten or moldy. As usual, you can cut off small areas, but if they’re big enough, it’s time to throw out the veggie.
- It’s wrinkled, soft, slimy, or feels hollow. All of those are caused by loss of moisture. Again, small sunken spots are okay, but if the pepper is soft to the touch, it’s gone.
- There’s something wrong smell- or appearance-wise. If you don’t feel like the veggie is perfectly okay for consumption, trust your gut, and discard it.
- It sits for too long in storage. That means more than three weeks for whole peppers and more than a week for cut or cooked ones. Technically they might not be bad, but it’s better to err on the side of caution.
Like most other veggies, fresh good quality peppers are firm, feel heavy, and their skin is smooth ([UTIA]).
After a couple of days in storage, the quality starts to degrade. Typical changes include:
- small soft spots
- loss of weight or size
Either of those is normal as long as the symptoms are mild. But when the quality drops below a certain threshold, it’s time to let go of the peppers.
As usual, it’s impossible to tell when that happens. In the end, it’s up to you to decide if your bell peppers are still good enough to eat. When in doubt, throw them out.
- Store bell peppers in the veggie drawer in the fridge for best results. Room temperaturare is okay only for a day or two.
- Bell peppers last up to two weeks. Green bell peppers often keep for a couple of days more.
- Discard rotten, moldy, or soft bell peppers. If the damaged area is small, cut it out and use the rest.