Proper Storage and Handling of Chiles
There’s nothing quite like a beautiful, brightly-colored chile, fresh from the garden. These jewel-toned peppers are sure to brighten your meal and your day… so long as you’ve handled and stored them properly! We’d like to share some tips on how to do just that, so that you can enjoy your chiles to their fullest extent.
Protect your skin!
The oils that make chiles so spicy transfer easily from surface to surface, but aren’t quite so simple to remove. If you’ve ever rubbed your eyes after handling hot peppers before, you’ll understand the importance of proper chile handling! As a general rule, try to:
- Use gloves when handling chilis. You could use rubber or plastic disposable gloves, or even two small plastic bags for protection.
- Always remember to wash your cutting boards and knives in hot, soapy water after using them for hot chile peppers. The oils can transfer from your utensils to whatever you next use them for, so thorough washing is important.
- If you forget the gloves or simply end up with chile oil on your hands, try rubbing your hands in olive oil to dissolve the oil, or wash your hands and fingernails thoroughly with a grease-fighting dish soap.
Store the spice!
Let’s say you’ve got more than a handful of hot chiles… what do you do with the ones you don’t need right away?
Chiles will last in the refrigerator crisper in a plastic or paper bag for about a week, but if you’d like to keep them fresh a bit longer, you can try investing in a “green bag.”
Green bags are simply plastic bags made of a substance that absorbs ethylene gas, which is released by produce as it ripens. This gas is said to increase ripening in certain produce, so removing it can prolong the life of the produce inside these bags. Many swear by the effectiveness of the green bags, and have claimed to prolong the life of their fresh produce by weeks.
One of the most popular ways to enjoy green chiles is by roasting them. Once you’ve got a beautiful batch of roasted chiles on your hands, your possibilities are endless! Whether you want to turn the roasted chiles in to chiles rellenos, or make a spicy green salsa to put on top of your green chile enchiladas, you’re absolutely in for a flavorful treat.
The goal of roasting your chiles is to get the the skin to blister, which will loosen the flesh of the pepper from the skin. Once this blistering has occurred, the flavor of the chile takes on a mild, caramelized essence, and add a nice flare to your dish.
While most people associate roasted chiles with the rotating drums often seen at outdoor festivals, there are at-home methods that work just as well. These methods range from oven broiling to charcoal grilling, and even to using the microwave. In any of these approaches, it’s important to remember that the steam the peppers release will be very hot, so be prepared and cautious when peeling the skins off of them.
Get the most out of your chiles!
These methods only scratch the surface of possibilities the green chile possesses, so please check back frequently for more details on working with our favorite spicy produce!