Blistering Hatch Chile Peppers – Freezing Hatch Chile Peppers
Hatch Chile Peppers are available fresh for a short time in well-stocked local markets from late August to early September. Check with your local store to find out their availability. Because of their short season, I roast them for storage in the freezer throughout the year. Following is how I process 10 pounds of these flavorful peppers each year.
Hatch Chile Peppers Tutorial, comments, and photos on roasting and prepared the chiles for freezing were shared with my by Karen Calanchini, Food Stylist and Photographer, of Redding, CA.
Karen’s recipes using Hatch Chile Peppers:
Beef and Bean Burritos with Hatch Chiles
Beef Braised In Barolo Wine
Beef Short Ribs with Lime and Chile Sauce
Breakfast Burritos with Chorizo
Huevos Rancheros in Tortilla Cups
Pork Stew with Green Chiles
Smoked Turkey, Bean and Kale Soup
Blistering Hatch Chile Peppers – Preparing Hatch Chile Peppers for Freezing:
10 pounds Hatch Chile Peppers*
1 box of quart-size and 1 box of gallon-size freezer bags with the slider seal (zipper seal). This type of seal is much easier on your hands.
Long pair of tongs
Large sheet pan
* Select large, firm, meaty Hatch chile peppers with no signs of wilting. Wash the chiles before proceeding. When you bring your Hatch Chile Peppers home, refrigerate them 1 or 2 days until you are ready to process.
This entire process took one (1) hour with my husband blistering them on his grill and myself in the kitchen prepping them for freezing. So, if two of you work together, here is how it works:
(1) Heat your barbecue grill to high heat.
Place as many fresh chile peppers on your grill as it will hold.
Working with gloves on and a long pair of tongs, watch them closely. When they are blistered on the heat side and beginning to brown, flip them over and repeat the blistering on the other side.
NOTE: Some will cook faster than others, so you need to be there to watch and move them around.
(2) It is now time to start the freezing process with the blistered chile peppers.
While my husband continues to blister the remaining Hatch chile peppers, I place the already blistered chile peppers in my clean kitchen sink to cool a little before handling. After removing the stems, discard them. Shake each chile pepper over your drain outlet to remove any loose seeds. Some seeds or even the entire seed pods may remain inside the chile pepper. This is all right, just freeze them anyway.
NOTE: I now just find it easier to freeze as soon as they are cool from the grill. When I want to use them, I gently pulled on the stem while they were till frosty, and out comes the main part of the seed pod. The peppers have seeds down further inside, so you still have to do some cleaning.
(3) Place 3 to 4 prepared chile peppers in your quart-size freezer bag, lay it down on a flat surface, press with your hand to remove the air, and then close the slider. Your want the bags to be air tight.
When you have finished bagging into the quart-size bags, place about 4 to 5 hatch chile pepper into the gallon-size bags. Again press to remove the air and close the slider.
Be sure to mark your gallon bags with the date of processing. Also mark the bags that contains “hot” or “medium hot” chile pepper. Your chile peppers are now ready for the freezer.
NOTE: Some of the chile peppers were very long this year and did not fit into the quart-size plastic bags. So, I used my Food Saver and made custom bags to fit them and then sealed.
If you have a Food Saver, you can also use it to seal all your peppers, but be aware that the Food Saver needs to cool down after sealing several bags.
I fount that it was easier and quicker for me to use the slider-type bags because of the cooling down time for the Food Saver.
Thaw and use the frozen Hatch Chile Peppers:
As the Hatch chile peppers thaw, you can easily remove the blistered skin and take out any remaining seeds on the inside of the chiles. They are now ready for you to chop and add to a multitude of dishes.
Cooking Ideas for Hatch Chile Peppers:
Use in Chile Con Queso, Chiles Rellenos, and Chile Verde. Use in salads, soups, stews, dips, salsas, and sandwiches. They can also be infused in chocolate. Be creative with these wonderful roasted chile peppers.