Fall signs. Last Hatch chiles. Freeze ‘em!

Green chile is a fall tradition, there’s still time to hit the road looking for chile stands. In the Denver area try Federal Blvd, about anywhere from Thornton south, just follow your nose. The less adventurous can consult Denver Green Chili, a great listing of chile stands in the Denver metro area. I’ve always been partial to Hatch Medium chiles, so I was happy to pick up one of the last half bushels of the season from Hilltop Gardens at Federal & 96th.

After selection, the chiles were roasted on the spot then sealed in a plastic bag. Chilies are generally peeled before use, about 30 minutes steaming in the bag leaves them in optimum peeling condition.  Apparently some purists freeze without peeling, but I prefer to get the hard work out of the way by peeling and portioning the harvest up front. As in all things, your mileage may vary, but it certainly saves time later.

Peeling a half bushel is nothing to an aficionado, but it’s a daunting task if you do it only once or twice a year. I recommend using a sharp knife to scrape off the charred skin, then cut off the stem end but leave the chile whole. Chiles freeze well in any size Ziploc bag, but for maximum flexibility I put about half in 8 oz. portions in quart bags and the remaining half with 4 oz. portions in sandwich-sized bags. For best results use freezer bags and squeeze out any excess air before sealing.

Sources

Hilltop Gardens

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