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Can You Freeze Bird’s Eye Chillies?

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By Lewis Brindley

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Bird’s eye chillies are exceptionally potent, skinny chillies native to Thailand. To make sure that you get the most out of them, it’s worth buying them in bulk and keeping them fresh. But, how is that possible?

Can You Freeze Bird’s Eye Chillies?

Yes, you can freeze birds’ eye chillies for around 4 months. Beyond that, they will likely start to lose their potency. The best option is to finely seed and dice the chillies, before freezing them in a small freezer bag.

Do Bird's Eye Chillies Freeze Well? Yes

Can You Refreeze Bird's Eye Chillies? Yes

How to Freeze Bird’s Eye Chillies

When freezing bird’s eye chillies, you have two approaches to consider. The first is the quickest but the second is the most useful:

How to Freeze Whole Bird’s Eye Chillies

If you tend to use bird’s eye chillies whole to infuse into soups, stews and curries (or are simply pushed for time) then this is the method to go for:

  1. Bag Up: Begin by washing and drying them, before gently, but firmly, packing them into a freezer bag.
  2. Seal: At that point, press as much air out of the bag as possible, allowing for the bag to be a little fitted around the chillies themselves. This will lead to minimal air being frozen, leading to less condensation and, in turn, less freezer burn.
  3. Wrap: Once the bag is sealed, wrap it in a layer of foil to prevent any ice from directly touching the bag. This will prevent freezer burn in the long run, as the ice would ‘spread’ through the thin plastic and to the food.
  4. Freeze: Once wrapped, label the package and place it in the freezer to freeze for up to four months.

How to Freeze Diced Bird’s Eye Chillies

If you don’t want to be stuck using whole chillies and want bird’s eyes for their flavour alone then this is the freezing method to stick with:

  1. Prep: Begin by deseeding and removing the stems from the chillies that you’ll be using. Once those things are done, finely mince the chillies until they almost form a paste. You could mix with a little salt to help break the chillies down.
  2. Portion Into an Ice Cube Tray: Put individual scoops of this paste into the individual slots of an ice cube tray, before wrapping the tray in a layer of foil. Wrapping the tray in this way reduces the risk of freezer burn.
  3. Freeze: Transfer the wrapped tray to the freezer, where it will freeze and store for up to three months.
  4. Optionally Bag Up: If you want to free up the ice cube tray then pop the frozen cubes out of the tray and into a freezer bag.

3 Tips for Freezing Bird’s Eye Chillies

Now you know how to freeze them, we’ve got our 3 top tips which we strongly recommend following when freezing bird’s eye chillies to have the best results:

Add Extra Flavourings
We’d suggest adding some finely minced garlic or ginger to your birds’ eye chilli paste when you’re mincing, this will add some interesting flavours! 

Add Liquid to Ice Cubes
If you have mixed results with the ice cube trays, try adding less chilli to each slot, and topping the tray up with water or oil. This will freeze in your freezer and will lead to the chilli coming out of the tray more easily. 

Create Heat Blends
You could consider mixing the birds’ eye chillies with other types of chilli to create a blend of different spice levels. We would suggest some roasted ancho chillies to balance out the extreme heat of the birds’ eye chillies with some toasty, smoky notes. 

How Long Can You Freeze Bird’s Eye Chillies?

You can freeze birds’ eye chillies for up to 4 months. Over time, these chillies will oxidize, which can affect their overall potency, decreasing their effectiveness in your cooking.

For that reason, we would suggest keeping the birds’ eye chillies in your freezer for no more than 4 months – this will be a good length of time, as it will allow you to use them before they lose their spiciness.

How Do You Defrost Bird’s Eye Chillies?

The defrosting method differs depending on how you have frozen the chillies. Here are the two defrosting options you’ll need:

How to Defrost Whole Bird’s Eye Chillies

Due to the water content of the cells throughout the whole chillies, they will need to be thawed quite slowly. If they are not thawed slowly, their texture will be affected, as will their flavour.

To thaw whole birds’ eye chillies in your cooking, we would suggest thawing them overnight, in the fridge. This will bring them to a temperature perfect for use in your cooking.

How to Defrost Diced Bird’s Eye Chillies

Diced portions do not need to be defrosted! Instead, you can simply throw an ice-cube-sized portion directly into a pan, allow the ice to melt, and the chilli will begin to cook.

The reason for this is that the individual diced flakes defrost almost immediately in contact with heat, thanks to how small they are.

Can You Refreeze Bird’s Eye Chillies?

Yes, you can refreeze birds’ eye chillies – we would advise against it, however.

Technically, you can take chillies out of the freezer and replace them as many times as you like, since they’re only going to be diced and fried – the physical structure that you’re losing is fairly unimportant.

However, since the spice of a chilli resides within the oils around the seeds, those oils are drawn out from the seeds more and more with each freezing. To that end, repeated freezing will decrease their spiciness, leading to less efficient chillies.

Do Bird’s Eye Chillies Freeze Well?

Bird’s eye chillies do freeze well in the short term, but not in the long term.

Birds’ eye chillies don’t have much in the way of colour or texture, so there’s not much to be lost there in the freezing process. However, beyond a few months, the freezing process will cut down on their spice, which is the entire point of using hot chillies.

For that reason, we would suggest avoiding keeping them in your freezer for longer than four months, as well as advising against refreezing them several times over.

If you’ve still got questions about freezing bird’s eye chillies or chillies in general, then these may help:

How Long Do Bird’s Eye Chillies Keep in the Fridge?

Compared to a lot of vegetables, bird’s eye chillies will keep for a fairly long time. You can keep them in the fridge for between 2 and 3 weeks. They will begin to lose their spiciness over this time, however.

Can You Freeze Thai Bird Chillies?

Yes, Thai bird chillies can be frozen as you would freeze other chillies. You can either freeze them whole, cut in half lengthways or diced into a paste and frozen into cubes with some oil.

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