I was so excited when I walked into the store Saturday and found boxes upon boxes of fresh Hatch chilies for $.99 lb! It’s a great price here. Plus, there’s nothing better than getting produce fresh and in season. We like to buy in bulk when one of our favorite fruit or veggie items are in season and on sale. We use as much as we can while it’s fresh (until we are totally and utterly burned out) and then we preserve the rest to be used throughout the year, usually by way of freezing. It’s a great way to keep your freezer stocked while you save a little in your budget.
Here’s how we prepare several pounds of Hatch chiles for freezing:
Start by washing/rinsing your chilies and gently pat them dry.
Heat your grill on low or about 400F. You can do this in the oven too, but I prefer the grill. Low and slow is my preference in roasting chilies. Slow roasting gives the peppers a caramelization that I, personally, love. You can roast the chilis at a higher heat, which will blister and blacken the skin and the flesh will not be caramelized like the finished pictures below. That’s ok too. This method is simply my preference.
Beware, though, too much heat will cause the skin to stick to the flesh or petrify the pepper like this. You don’t want that. Yeah, I did that. Doh!
The peppers should be nicely browned (err, black-ish) like this and sort of limp and floppy. 🙂
Put the still hot peppers in a freezer bag and seal for about 15 minutes. This step helps with removing the charred skin from the peppers.
As you prepare the peppers, leave the bag sealed to keep the peppers moist. Peel the skin off and discard (gently).
If you have several black flecks and brown marks left, you are doing it right. I’m a little impatient (No! Really?) so I use a knife to scrape the skin off. It works well, IMO.
Cut or pull the tops off and remove the seeds. You can slice the side of the pepper to scrape the seeds out if that makes life easier for you.
Don’t stick a big ‘ol piece in your mouth because you just can’t resist the enticing smell. Yeah, did that, didn’t enjoy it. In fact, sitting here writing this I’m still regretting it. You have been warned. Also, don’t rub your eye, your mouth, your nose, or anything else sensitive until you’ve thoroughly washed your hands…a few times…Yep, did that too. Yep, still regretting it. Sigh. Gloves? Yeah, probably not a bad idea. 🙂
Next, allow the peppers to cool completely. You can freeze them whole or chop them. I like to leave mine whole.
Place in freezer bags and freeze. They will keep for a year in the freezer, which is perfect timing!
I freeze about 4 Hatch chilies to a bag. That way I can take out the amount I need without waste.
P.S. I have some wicked good recipes using these delicious chilies, so stay tuned. I’ll be posting some of them very soon!