Chile is one of those words that encompasses many things (and is spelled a couple of different ways). There are so many different varieties of chile, that by simply using the word, one could be talking about green, red, cayenne, bells, bananas, pimentos, poblanos, jalapenos, or any number of other varieties.
In New Mexico, however, where Hatch Chile grows in abundance, Chimayo Red is incomparable, and “extra” chile is used as the center-piece for a variety of decorations, when one speaks of chile, they’re usually speaking of said green and/or red chile which goes on top of virtually every meal possible. And truly, the hotter the better (as long as it’s tasty and not just hot).
Because we like our chile on everything, and because the growing season only lasts so long, chile must be preserved so it can remain on our tables well beyond the peak harvesting season of late summer. Truly, the goal is to preserve enough so as to not be forced to go without some while waiting for the next season’s batch to arrive!
There are many ways to preserve chile, depending on which variety you are preserving. In the past I’ve talked about making your own hot sauce, making your own crushed red pepper flakes (using cayenne), as well as a few ways you can preserve green chile.
Today, I’m going to talk specifically about preserving red chile. Now, it’s a little known fact that red chile is actually just green chile that has ripened. Yes, you read that right, green chile is simply unripe red chile 🙂 This, in my mind, is wonderful! Two, very distinct flavors given by a single plant simply for offering both your impatience and your patience while it ripens!
While red chile can be canned, the easiest way to preserve red chile is to dry it, which can be done in a few ways. First, however, you want to wash all of the dust and dirt off of your chiles and gently dry them off with a towel. Once clean, you can either string them up to dry, put them in the oven to dry or place them in your dehydrator. Here, let me explain a bit more:
- String them up – with a needle and thread, simple run a string through the stem of each of your chiles, leaving an inch or two between each chile to allow for air flow (see this post for an example). Then, hang your chiles up in a sunny, well ventilated and dry spot in your home (or under your porch) for a couple of weeks until thoroughly dry.
- Oven dry them – cut your chiles in half, then place them on a baking sheet and into your oven set at 100-125 degrees. This method can take several hours, the exact time will be determined by how thick your chiles are and how humid your climate is, so you will have to just keep your eye on them.
- Dehydrate them – you can either cut your chiles in half or place them whole on your dehydrator trays (I dream of this dehydrator almost daily) on a low to medium heat and they will dry overnight.
Once your chiles are completely dry, you can either grind them up into a chile powder (similar to cayenne) or store them whole in an air tight container to be re-hydrated later.
I prefer my red chile ground into a powder and I almost like it as much as green chile on my burritos…though my Frito Pies must be smothered in red 😉
Now it’s your turn! What’s your favorite way to eat red chile? Please share your favorite meals (or recipes) in the comments below!
But, before you go! This post is part of a Round Robin of sorts! Please join us as several bloggers share different reasons and methods of how we preserve food to create a long-term storage plan for our families.
Click on each link to be taken to a new blog with helpful information and tips.
Mom with a PREP – How to Dehydrate Ginger and Make Ginger Powder
Preparedness Mama – Make Jam Without Pectin
Mama Kautz – Dehydrating
Busy B Homemaker – Freezer Jam
Ed That Matters – Anyone Can Do It: Fool Proof Food Storage
The Apartment Prepper – Easy Marinated Mushrooms
The Homesteading Hippy – How to Use Your Pressure Canner
Montana Homesteader – Making and Preserving Cherry Pit Syrup
Are We Crazy or What – How to Dehydrate Cherries
Your Thrive Life – How I Preserve Food: Meals in a Jar
Melissa K Norris – Re-Usable Canning Tattler Lids-Do They Really Work?
Real Food Living – Preserve and Store Grains wiith Dry Ice
Cooke’s Frontier – Smoking
Homestead Dreamer – Water Bath Canning
Survival Sherpa – Modern Mountain Man MRE’s
The Backyard Pioneer – Fermentation
Trayer Wilderness – How We Preserve Food
Living Life in Rural Iowa – Vegetable Soup
The Organic Prepper – How to Make Jam without using added Pectin
Homesteading Mom – How I Preserve Broccoli and Goat Cheese Soup
A Matter of Preparedness – How I Preserve Using Mylar Bags