Thursday, July 30, 2009

Green Chile--How to Process It

Waiting in line at the chile roaster

In New Mexico, you can go to the farmers' markets and buy a big sack of fresh green chiles, which they will roast for you. When you get home with your bag of chiles, still hot from the roaster, you can dump a couple of pounds at a time into ice water to cool them down, then drain them and pack them into quart freezer bags and pop them into the freezer. Some people like to peel them before freezing, but we just peel them when we are ready to use them. The skins slip off nicely when the chiles are partially thawed.

When we lived in New Hampshire we used to have a couple of boxes of chiles shipped out from Hatch, NM every fall. It was a lovely September tradition to work out on the deck on a sunny afternoon, under the big umbrella, roasting the chiles on the gas grill. Then, we continued as above with the ice water bath, etc.

It is a wonderful feeling to face winter with a freezer-full of green chiles, just waiting to go into all those wonderful New Mexican recipes. In New Mexico, many people say they have an extra freezer just for the chiles because they put up so many pounds, but that just might be what they tell the newcomers. Who knows?

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