Pueblo Chile 101 – Freezing and storing Pueblo Chile
Getting a bushel of freshly roasted Pueblo Green Chiles is an annual tradition for many families in Colorado and beyond. For folks who haven’t experienced the smell and sight of roasting Pueblo Green Chiles, it is not to be missed! However, bringing home an entire bushel of Pueblo Green Chiles can be intimidating, so we’re giving you tips from folks who do it every year.
Watch 1 Minute Video About Chile Storage Safety
Before you go:
- Stock up on quart and gallon-size zip bags. Make sure that bags are specifically for the freezer.
- Bring a cooler to put your Pueblo Green Chiles in your car.
- Make sure you have enough room for Pueblo Green Chiles and ice.
- Get ice right before going to the farmer’s market.
When you get your bag of roasted Pueblo Green Chiles:
- Put Pueblo Green Chiles in cooler between layers of ice.
- Chiles need to be 70° F or lower within 2 hours.
- Use, refrigerate, or freeze Pueblo Green Chiles within 4 hours of roasting,
At home: Freezing the Pueblo Green Chiles:
- Keep Pueblo Green Chiles on ice while you work, to ensure that they aren’t susceptible to growing foodborne pathogens.
- Label bags with permanent marker BEFORE you fill them. It’s much easier to write on the bags when they are empty.
- DO NOT simply freeze the large bag of your roasted Pueblo Green Chiles came in- you will end up with a giant block of icy chiles that is difficult to thaw and work with later.
- Using freezer bags will allow you to break the bushel of Pueblo Green Chiles into manageable batches that can be used throughout the year.
- Gallon size batches allow you to store enough chiles to make a batch of Green Chile or other sauces (1-2 dozen)
- Quart-size bags allow you to freeze 5-10 Pueblo Green Chiles together, so you can use them throughout the week.
At home: Cleaning the Pueblo Green Chiles
- It is highly recommended to wear gloves when processing chiles. Capsaicin, an oil-based constituent that makes chiles spicy, can build up on your skin as you clean a large amount of chiles, causing a burning sensation hours after exposure. Make sure to use gloves that are safe for food preparation.
- You can clean your Pueblo Green Chiles before or after you freeze them. *PRO-TIP: cleaning after freshly roasted is generally easier than after frozen
- After cleaning the chiles, you can chop them or leave them whole in order to freeze.
- DO NOT clean Pueblo Green Chiles under running water- this will wash the flavor away!
- Seeds are edible and carry most of the heat. Some folks like to keep them, some folks like to remove them. It’s totally up to you.
- Charred skin can easily be removed by slipping off the chile. This is the ideal technique if you want to keep the chiles whole.
- If you want to remove skin and seeds- lay the chile flat on a cutting board. Cut a slit from stem to tip if chile. Pull off stem head. Using the back of your knife, or a plastic scraper, gently scrape seeds off, but don’t scrape so hard that the vein is removed. Flip chile over and gently scrape off the skin.
- Lay your freezer bag flat and place chiles inside in a single layer. This will allow them to freeze and thaw quickly and easily.
- Frozen Chile can be kept for approximately 1 year, until the next season. Check bag for freezer burn and other signs of food safety concerns before you consume your chile.
Thawing and using your Pueblo Green Chiles:
- To thaw, allow freezer bag to sit in sink and thaw naturally over time is best or on a plate in the refrigerator. If time does not allow use you microwave to thaw, keeping care not to begin cooking the chile
- Thawed chile can stay in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, depending on the way you store them. If you coat them with a little oil they will stay fresher. Watch for slight gray discoloration and slimy texture when they are going bad.
- Store cooked leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a 5 – 6 days.
- Check out Pueblochile.org for recipe ideas and share your spicy dishes with us on facebook @pueblochile #pueblochile
Mo Montgomery Director of Hospitality & Culinary Arts
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