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A Guide to Buying, Roasting and Storing Hatch Chile Peppers

A Guide to Buying, Roasting and Storing Hatch Chile Peppers

The following information was provided by Melissa’s Produce

Hatch Chile Peppers are one of the most highly anticipated seasonal items in Heinen’s Produce Department. To ensure the best Hatch Chile experience during their short harvest window, it’s important to understand why these peppers are so beloved and how to cook them.  Read on for all of the need-to-know Hatch Chile information. 


All About Hatch Chile Peppers


One of the reasons Hatch peppers have gained notoriety is their highly specific growing location. They are only planted and harvested in the Mesilla Valley of New Mexico, and their name comes from the town in which they’re grown – Hatch, New Mexico. Since their initial 1937 planting, the versatility and taste of Hatch Chiles have made them recognizable far beyond New Mexico.


The taste of these Chiles is also worth recognizing. When first harvested, they are green and smoky, especially when roasted. As the peppers mature and turn red, this smokiness evolves into a sweeter flavor. What does all of this mean? Hatch can bring the sweet and the heat!


The Hatch Valley in Hatch New Mexico



The Scoville Scoop


Hatch Chiles are known for varying on the Scoville scale (a measurement that conveys the spiciness of food). This means that a wide range of heat preferences can be accommodated. The majority of Hatch Chile peppers range from mild to hot.


Similar to most chile peppers, Hatch varieties become hotter as they mature. This means that even if someone were to freeze their peppers for a few years, they would end up being higher on the Scoville scale than after harvest.


No matter what Scoville level you prefer, it’s important to know that all Hatch Chile peppers taste equally great and heat level only matters when accounting for personal preferences.


Raw Hatch Chile Peppers on a Cutting Board


Roasting Tips

While Hatch Chiles can be enjoyed raw, most people enjoy them roasted. You can have your Heinen’s Hatch Chiles roasted for you at an in-store roasting event, or you can roast them at home using any of the following methods. 

  • Stove: On a stove, Hatch Chile peppers can be roasted over an open, medium flame. During the eight minutes (or less/more depending on the size of the pepper) it takes to char the chiles, be sure to rotate them with tongs so that the sides are evenly cooked.
  • Grill: Cooking Hatch Chiles the authentic way requires only one thing: a grill! This process is similar to the steps required when roasting over a stove. Just make sure the grill is heated to a high temperature. After that, simply turn them regularly until they have prominent blisters and a blackened exterior.
  • Broiler: The third way to roast Hatch chiles is under a broiler. For an ideal char, use a grated pan. Lay the peppers in a row and place them under the broiler, making sure the temperature is set to high heat. This appearance may make your peppers look overly burnt, but we assure you that they’re anything but that – this ensures that that they will have the best flavor possible, so don’t stop until they look like the outside of an overdone s’more!


Hatch Chile Peppers on a Grill


Peeling and Storing

After you’ve roasted the chiles and let them cool for several minutes, the malleable skin will be a breeze to remove. Once you’ve done this, remove the stems and seeds if you don’t plan on stuffing the peppers . If stuffing is on the menu, don’t cut off the stems. Instead, make a delicate slit along the length of the pepper. All that’s left is to simply remove the seeds while making sure the stem is still attached to the pepper.


Once the peppers are peeled, it’s up to you whether you want them in your stomach or freezer. Something to keep in mind is that Hatch Chiles can be frozen for up to two years, meaning any peppers that haven’t made their way to your plate can keep you satisfied in between Hatch seasons!

Heinen's Grocery Store

By Heinen's Grocery Store

In 1929, Joe Heinen opened the doors of a small butcher shop on the east side of Cleveland, Ohio, aiming to establish himself as the city’s purveyor of quality meats. As customers came into Heinen’s new shop for their meat purchases, they began asking him to carry groceries as well. Joe added homemade peanut butter, pickles and donuts and by 1933, business had grown enough to include a line of produce and canned goods. Heinen’s Grocery Store was born.

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