Hatch Chiles, grown only in the Hatch Valley and near the Rio Grande river of New Mexico, are considered by chile aficionados to be the best peppers in the world. Hatch is the premium growing area for New Mexico chiles. Hatch, New Mexico is not only the chile capital of the US but also of the World. Hatch Chiles have been growing in this region for over 135 years, developed by New Mexico State University.
The ultimate chile, these chiles are only available from New Mexico in a short, six- week window every year (between August and September.) Unusually Hatch Chiles are available in mild, medium, hot and extra hot varieties.
Aficionados generally buy the chiles in bulk by the case (typical case is 25 lbs.) and store the chiles in their freezers, assuring use of these chiles year-round. The chiles can be frozen, roasted up to 2 years. Freeze with or without roasted skin and seeds. The chiles tend to get warmer in heat when you freeze with veins and seeds before storage.
Hatch Chiles have a meaty flesh and mild-medium heat making them ideal for use in Chile Con Queso, Chile Rellenos, and Chile Verde. But it doesn’t just stop there. You can also try roasting and using them in salads, soups, stews, dips, and sandwiches. For even more great ideas on how to use this incredible chile, purchase a copy of the genuinely useful Melissa’s Hatch Chile Cookbook.
Our resident produce authority, Robert Schueller of Melissa’s, joins us with all the spicy details.