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Freezing jalapenos guarantees warmth for winter meals with jalapeno cornbread

We have enjoyed a great crop of jalapeno peppers this season. I love putting fresh jalapenos in salsa, in bean dishes like chili or refried beans, and on pizza. I thought we were making progress on eating them up until we pulled up the plants on Sunday evening due to the frost warning and harvested all the remaining jalapenos. When we finished cleaning all the peppers off the plants, we had quite a haul.

So begins the preservation season. In the past, I’ve canned, pickled and made jalapeno jam. I hope to do some of each this year as well, but I’m also freezing jalapenos for cooking.

Preparing jalapenos and other peppers for freezing is a speedy task that is well worth the effort. It’s convenient to pull frozen peppers from the freezer and then use when making spaghetti, chili or any other cooked recipe that calls for peppers. Recipes that call for cooking the peppers will have the most satisfactory results.

To begin, wash and completely dry the peppers. Then remove stems and caps, and slice into 1/ 2 inch strips. For jalapenos, quartering the peppers lengthwise works well.

Spread the peppers on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer until frozen solid. Bag up the strips in ziplock bags and store in the freezer for use in cooking recipes.

Jalapeno cornbread is a favorite accompaniment to winter meals in our house. The “hotness” can be controlled by cutting down on the number of peppers if desired. Our favorite cornbread recipe is adapted from the More with Less Cookbook by Doris Janzen Longacre.

Jalapeno Cornbread

Ingredients:
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/ 2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 beaten eggs
1 cup milk
1/ 4 cup oil
2-3 chopped jalapenos

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 400 F.

2. Mix together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt and brown sugar.

3. Make a well and add eggs, milk, oil, and jalapenos. Stir just until smooth

4. Pour into a greased 9 x 9 pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

A meal of chili with jalapeno cornbread warms winter days with a little heat and a lingering memory of summer.

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