It can be pretty disappointing to reach into your fridge for a fresh, crisp bell pepper to snack on and find a soft, crinkled veggie staring back at you. It also probably makes you wonder, are wrinkled bell peppers OK to eat?
We understand if your first instinct is to simply toss out any slightly off-looking bell peppers, but not so fast — there’s a good chance you can still enjoy it! According to the experts at Double Diamond Farms, it’s perfectly fine to eat wrinkled bell peppers as long as they don’t show any other signs of going bad, like a slimy texture or mold (ick).
The only catch is that they probably won’t be as nice to munch on raw at this point. Although that puts a damper on any plans to dip them into hummus, you can sauté wrinkly bell peppers on the stove or roast them in the oven. The flavor won’t be quite as strong as when they were at peak freshness, but will still add a yummy taste to your meal.
But how long do bell peppers last, anyway? There are a few different factors. Green peppers have a longer shelf life because they’re plucked before they’re fully ripe. This is also why they tend to have a more bitter taste than brighter varieties. Whether or not you slice them up before storing in your fridge crisper (which is the ideal spot for them) will make a big difference in their longevity, too. Here’s how Eat By Date breaks down the freshness timeline of bell peppers:
- Whole green bell peppers: 2 to 3 weeks
- Whole red, orange, or yellow bell peppers: 1 to 2 weeks
- Cut bell peppers of any color: 1 to 3 days
If you want to make your bell peppers last even longer, Eat By Date says you can chop them up and store in freezer bags for four to six months. Like most other frozen veggies, they’ll probably form a few ice crystals while they chill out, but they’ll still taste good when you cook them.
Double Diamond Farms also lists pitting (small, circular dents) and discoloration as common problems with bell peppers. Pitting is usually a sign that the pepper has started to decay. If you notice it on ones you bought recently, you might not be storing them correctly. They list the ideal temperature for these veggies at 45 degrees Fahrenheit, which is another reason to keep them in the fridge crisper. Just make sure not to put your apples in the same spot, as that can cause discoloration from the ethylene gas they emit.
Now you can avoid food waste and chow down on wrinkled bell peppers worry-free!