Hatch Chili Pepper
Hatch Chili Peppers are a variety of chili pepper grown in Hatch Valley, New Mexico, the area where they were first cultivated. As production expanded, growers moved to other sections of New Mexico, specifically the Mesilla Valley.
This pepper has a short season of only six weeks, harvested during late July and August. Some chili pepper experts consider the Hatch chili to be the best peppers grown in the United States. The fruit looks long and curvy like Anaheim chili peppers, but they are firmer and have a greater range of flavor, usually mild to medium. They have a wonderful smell in their raw state and are wonderful when roasted. Great for stuffing chili rellenos among other dishes.
Hatch chili is similar to Anaheim peppers, but has a much wider variety of flavors. Pods range from four inches all the way to eleven or twelve in some sub-varieties such as Big Jim. Slightly curved or crooked pods are common.
Selecting and Buying
Preparation and Use
The chiles can be purchased uncooked, roasted or dried. The uncooked chiles are best roasted, then peeled, and seeded. The roasted chiles are usually sold peeled and are ready for use and the dried chiles can be ground in to a powder or paste for use or reconstituted and used in soups, chilis or sauces.
Conserving and Storing
Roasted chiles can be stored in the freezer either whole or cut into strips. The chiles can be canned or jarred after roasting or made into a sauce that can be canned or frozen.