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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Preserving Hatch Chiles

It's that time of year again!  Hatch Chile season!!  If you don't know about Hatch Chiles, they are a very flavorful chile from New Mexico.  There's literally festivals built around this rather unassuming vegetable!  Here's a post I did on them last time: Hatch Chiles.

Well Hatch Chile season technically started a month ago.  I've just been drowning in other produce to tackle the chile issue.  People have asked me, "where have you been?" and "you haven't posted much on your blog".  I know.  I apologize.  I've been busy picking, canning and trying to enjoy what's left of summer.  I'll post the canning stuff later (peaches, plums, apples, pears, blackberries, oh my!!).  

On to the chiles.....  Freezing is the best method for preserving Hatch chiles for use all year long.  Last time I split a case of Hatch's with a friend.  I got lazy after peeling all the chiles and I froze them whole (seeds and all).  It wasn't a big deal.  When I was ready to use them, I defrosted them but had to take out the seeds before using them.  

This time I actually took the time to pre-prep so that when I pull them out of the freezer, I can just pop them into my recipes.  After the peppers had been roasted and allowed to cool, I peeled the skins off (Wear gloves!!  You'll thank me later!).  Then chopped the chiles up.  I flash froze them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper into 1/2 c. servings.  These are about the size of a can of chiles they sell in the store and believe me when I say they are much tastier!!  These are a mix of medium and mild chiles. 
You can see they freeze in a nice disk or puck shape.  After a few hours, take them out of t he freezer and place them in a large freezer bag.  You can take out pre-measured portion sizes as you need them.  For this method, they will likely last about 3-6 months or so.  
I was, however, looking for a more long term storage method.  I like to keep them for up to a year or until I use up my stash.  I placed each individual disk or puck into a Food Saver bag.  As you can see, with the air sucked out, there's less chance of freezer burn and my precious Hatch chiles will last longer!
I also froze the pre-prepped chiles whole.  I placed about 6 chiles per bag and Food Saver'ed them also.  This will keep them nice and happy in the freezer!
Anyone have some tried and true Hatch chile recipes?  My favorite is this Hatch Chile Verde.  Yummy!!

3 comments:

Rowena said...

Where's the like button? I have never heard of Hatch chiles but what a great idea to freeze them in this way for future use. You are amazing!

~Holly~ said...

Rowena: Haha! Hatch chiles are similar to the California Anaheim pepper but are generally hotter and have a nice depth of flavor when roasted. They're delicious!!

Margaret said...

So these are the chilies that you purchased as "canned green chilies" in the store? Can you grow them or are they one of those finicky crops that need hot weather or a super long growing season?