Spring Cleaning the Freezer: Hatch ChilesCSA
Hatch Chiles come into season in the fall, around September or October. It is now Spring and I’m just getting around to clearing the last of my fall haul from the freezer because Spring is about new beginnings and I have other items I’d like to stuff in there.
About two and a half years ago I was officially introduced to the Hatch Chile (or New Mexico Chile) by my friend Manisha who grew up in New Mexico where these chiles are a signature crop. I had heard of them before from other friends who would circle their calendars and make plans to drive out, first thing, to the local grocer who was sponsoring the seasonal chile roasting. I hadn’t ever eaten one so I didn’t know what all the fuss was about but fast forward two years and I have the local chile roasting circled on my calendar too. Part of it is that they are delicious and have a distinct flavor. Just spread some salted butter on them and you have a delicious snack. They also add a roasty zing to other more traditional recipes and they make the BEST green chile sauce.
Part of my love for the chile roasting is also the hoarding thing. I get to buy a whole bunch of something special that I won’t get again for a whole year, until next Fall, and hoard it away in my freezer like treasure!! I always have these grand plans to defrost the chiles throughout the year and make this or that with them but both times I was so pooped by the time I was done seeding and peeling all of the chiles that I just threw them in the freezer in one big container to be dealt with later. My goal for this year is to freeze them in smaller containers so that I can defrost them in manageable quantities and use them throughout the year as I have intended in previous years. Because I will get them again this year. Have no doubt. Yes, there is a learning curve in acquiring so many of these chiles but it’s worth it.
I made plenty of green chile sauce before putting the remainder of these roasted beauties into the freezer but it really felt like I had hardly made a dent. A couple months later I pulled out one of the two large containers of frozen chiles and made more chile sauce but I still had one large bucket of chiles to contend with. As soon as they defrosted the clock would be ticking for me to turn them into food and this really felt like a daunting task. So I just let them sit there. Until now.
Full of Spring spirit and in an effort to minimize the clutter in my life and to make room in the freezer for things besides hoarded seasonal produce, I pulled out the chiles, defrosted them and got to work. The result was some pretty fun and delicious experiments that will become seasonal favorites once hatch chile season comes back around. I will be posting the recipes this week so you can circle your calendars and get ready to join in the fun this fall too. I’m definitely looking forward to making more than just green chile sauce next season!