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Bill Klapp

New Mexico Green and Red Chilies By Mail

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I have a real hankering for some classic New Mexico green AND red-driven food.  I have the cookbooks (Rancho Chimayo, Pasqual's, Coyote Cafe and others) and recipes here in Italy, and will be coming stateside this fall and in position to schlep back some chilies.  In the past, I have traveled to the Albuquerque/Santa Fe/Taos area many times to eat the food and did a little cooking at home with red chilies, but never shipped in and used green chilies.  Several questions:  

 

1.  What is the typical beginning and end of the green and red seasons?

 

2.  I will use dried red chilies, but do fresh green chilies require refrigeration or other special treatment? (My plan is to ship them to Boston via UPS/FedEx, then hand-carry back to Italy.)   I assume that roasted green chilies would be out of the question (and I can always roast my own, if need be.)

 

3.  How long will fresh green chilies last?  Should I freeze some once back in Italy, or just use what I have and wait 'til next year?

 

4.  Is there any reason why I might prefer frozen, dried or canned green chilies?  I presume that there is an invariable drop-off in quality from fresh to preserved, but I am interested in the views of those who regularly use green chilies in New Mexico cooking.  (I can get canned green chilies in Italy.)

 

5.  MOST IMPORTANTLY:  anybody have a reliable mail-order source for buying green and red chilies?

 

Thanks in advance!


Bill Klapp

bklapp@egullet.com

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My wife spent many years in ABQ, and still has family there - though most of them have fled.

 

They always cook (roast) and freeze.

 

Here are a couple of sites:

 

http://www.hatchchilefest.com/chile_facts.php

 

http://www.hatch-chile.com/

 

Don't forget our own Rob Connoley or gfron1...he's probably an expert.

 

http://curiouskumquat.com/


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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I won't claim expertise but Hatch is just down the road from me.  To answer your questions as best I can.  Green is pretty much done although you'll still find them for another month before we switch back to Aneheims.  Red are already with every street corner ristra dealer.  Dried reds are now til they run out - I can usually buy bushel bags through early April.  Like any produce refigeration will be good for greens but not necessary.  Air circulation is probably more important.  And a pack of dry ice and some pre-packed frozen roasted might be your best option.  Fresh will last maybe 3 weeks but start to wilt a bit after a week or so.  As far as freezing fresh there's another thread going on.  I have a different approach so I'm not in full agreement, but others say that you can freeze them just fine.

 

 

4.  Is there any reason why I might prefer frozen, dried or canned green chilies?  I presume that there is an invariable drop-off in quality from fresh to preserved, but I am interested in the views of those who regularly use green chilies in New Mexico cooking.  (I can get canned green chilies in Italy.)

>>The big question.  Canned sucks.  Frozen isn't too bad under the circumstances.  Getting enough fresh back to Italy to make it worth your time seems daunting.

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Thanks, Rob, but bummer that the hatch season is already over.  I had it in my mind that it started and ended later.  My first choice would be to rent a place in the Santa Fe/Taos neighborhood for 6 months, but too late for this year!


Bill Klapp

bklapp@egullet.com

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Hi Bill,

 

See this thread for a bit more info

 

http://forums.egullet.org/topic/125941-hatch-chili-peppers-merged-topic/page-3

 

I order every year from http://www.hatch-chile.com  I couldn't recommend them more highly.  Great folks.

 

I usually order around the last week of August, first week of September.  I get the fresh ones.  They are all green when they arrive.  At around 14 days they mostly all have started turning red.  I leave the box sitting in my kitchen and eat the heck out of them during that time.  Then, I begin roasting and freezing them.  Right now I'm down to 3-4 gallon ziplock bags full of them in the fridge that are still fresh and doing fine.

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I think that both ice packs and dry ice (the latter in a sharply limited quantity) are possible in the cabin, but timing is everything, since if your ice packs thaw in transit prior to your final security check, they will be thrown out as an impermissible quantity of gel.  Just slipped in under the melting wire on a recent trip back to Italy, toting North Carolina BBQ, Lebanon bologna and corned beef!  On the other hand, Italian customs seems to have none of the insane bans on the importation of foodstuffs that the USDA perpetuates.  The EU may have bizarre regulations, but Italy being Italy, it has little use for EU regulation...

 

Since it appears that I have pretty much missed the fresh season this year, it seems that frozen, roasted, in-the-skin green chiles will probably be my best shot, so let me raise THIS question:  if I buy said chiles and they partially thaw in transit, is there likely to be a profound health risk in refreezing them?

 

Thanks to Weinoo, Shelby, Rob et al. for the input...

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Bill Klapp

bklapp@egullet.com

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hot off the press.  as of today we are 75% harvested, compared to 92% at this point last year.  This is bad because weather is the cause of the delays in harvesting which is resulting in a few different diseases.  More rain is expected so this year may not be so good.

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