Monica's favorite gear for
freezing chiles
This mat fits inside a 9x13 pan. I used it for freezing my chopped chile portions. They peel off of this easily. It's great for cookies and other baking, too, making a non-stick surface without greasing.
Also available: larger Silpat mat
I have this model and used it to seal pre-portioned half cups of chopped chiles. Food lasts up to 3 times longer when it's vacuum sealed.
These freezer safe jars hold a 1/2 cup of chiles--the same size as the cans. They're convenient and last a lifetime. Click below for durable plastic lids.
Also available: plastic lids
This painters tape is great for labeling food containers. It can be cut any size and is easy to move and remove without leaving any sticky residue. Click below for labeling marker.
Also available: Sharpie marker
These snap together for compact stacking in the freezer. They're also the same 1/2 cup size of a can of chiles, for easy use in recipes.
I use these bags for freezing whole roasted chiles, and pre-portioned chopped chiles. They can be washed and reused several times.
It's important to protect your hands when working with chiles. Otherwise, their "hotness" will remain on your hands, and it can hurt if you touch your face or eyes.

How to Freeze Green Chiles

No more canned chiles with these easy methods for freezing your own.


We eat a lot of chiles in our house. As a New Mexico native, chiles are simply an essential part of my diet. Even though I'm a midwesterner now, I've never let go of my chile-loving roots.

In fact, my favorite gift ever from home was when I received an express shipment of freshly roasted Hatch green chiles. In late summer, big roasters are set up in the parking lots of many grocery stores in New Mexico. Everyone in my home town lines up to stock up on freshly roasted Hatch green chiles. It smells amazing. One year, my dad & step-mom froze a bunch in ziptop bags, packed them in a cooler, and overnighted these chiles to me in St. Louis. I did a happy dance when I opened the box. My freezer was stocked with the tastiest chiles in the world. BEST GIFT EVER.

Green_Chiles_Freezing

That was my first experience with frozen chiles. They thawed and maintained their flavor and texture surprisingly well.

I was inspired to start growing, roasting, peeling, and freezing my own chiles to last throughout the year. I've experimented with different methods, and it turns out that there are several ways that produce successful results. Which method you choose depends on how you expect to use the chiles. So, I'll describe several options. I normally freeze Anaheim or Hatch green chiles because that's what most of the common canned brands use, so they work well in recipes.

If you don't garden, fresh chiles are often available at farmer's markets and grocery stores. Buy them fresh while they're in season, follow my simple instructions, and you'll be able to enjoy your own flavorful chiles throughout the year. You can say ADIOS to those cans!

WEAR PLASTIC GLOVES when you're working with chiles. The hot residue is difficult to wash off of your hands. If you accidentally touch your face or eyes, you may feel a very unpleasant burning sensation. Even seemingly mild chiles can pack more heat than you may think.

Here are my tested and recommended methods for freezing chiles.

1. Freeze the chiles raw.

That's right. You can pick them right off of the plant (or bring them home from the market), wash and dry them, and put the chiles in a freezer ziptop bag. That way you can pull 1 or more chiles out of the freezer whenever you need them. The chiles will loose their firm texture when they're frozen raw, but their flavor is unchanged. 

This is definitely the easiest freezing method. You can use these chiles when texture doesn't matter; for example, thaw these to dice and add to a pot of chile or other cooked recipes. However, I wouldn't recommend them for use in a fresh salsa like Pico de Gallo.  The chiles pictures below were a 2nd crop of Anaheims and jalapenos I had in my garden at the end of the summer last year. I'd already done all of my salsa making and canning, so I threw these in a bag in my freezer and have used them throughout the year. They are starting to get a little bit frosty, but they're still good to use. I've been amazed at how well they've held up after 11 months in the freezer.

Green_Chiles_Freezing.jpg

The remaining methods involve roasting the chiles before freezing them.

I have a separate post with a step-by-step tutorial on how to roast and peel chile peppers. So, check that out if you don't know how.

click to read: How to Roast and Peel Peppers

Green_Chiles_Freezing5.jpg

 

2. Freeze the roasted chiles whole. 

After roasting them, let them cool and place the chiles in a single layer in a ziptop freezer bag. (This is how my gift box of Hatch chiles were frozen.) You can remove 1 or more at a time from the freezer as you need them. Peel them before freezing them if you like, although it's fine to leave the peel on and remove it after they're thawed. Either way they get peeled, it's just a matter of when.

view on Amazon: quart freezer Ziploc bags

Green_Chiles_Freezing1.jpg

 

3. Chop, flash freeze, and bag pre-portioned roasted chiles.

The photos below illustrate how I prepare most of my Anaheim and Hatch chiles. These are the kinds of chiles used in a typical can of green chiles and are commonly called for in recipes.

  • Divide the chopped chiles into 1/2 cup portions, because that's the size of most canned green chiles. That way it's easier to use the frozen chiles in recipes. You can easily pull the equivalent of a can of chiles out of the freezer.
  • I put the 1/2 cup portions on a non-stick Silpat mat so that the frozen chiles will release easily. (you could also use parchment paper)
  • Flash freeze the chopped chile portions. That means put them in the freezer uncovered and let them freeze solid. This will take 4-6 hours.
  • Transfer the frozen portions of chiles to a ziptop freezer bag. Squeeze out as much of the air as possible before zipping the bag and storing it in the freezer.
  • This is how I freeze chiles to get me through 3-4 months. It's so easy to grab a chunk of chiles from a bag. If you need them to last longer than that (6-8 months), wrap each frozen portion tightly in plastic wrap before adding it to the ziptop bag. (Exposure to air will cause them to degrade faster; that's why the plastic wrap helps.)

view on Amazon: small Silpat mat (for 9x13 pan, pictured below); large Silpat mat (for large baking sheet); quart freezer Ziploc bags

Green_Chiles_Freezing3.jpg

 

4. Vacuum seal pre-portioned chopped chiles. 

  • If you have a Foodsaver, this is the best way to freeze chopped, roasted chiles so they keep the longest. 
  • These are the same 1/2 cup, flash frozen chiles as above. 
  • This is how I freeze chopped chiles that I want to be good up to12 months. 

view on Amazon: Foodsaver Vacuum Sealer, economy pint size bags

foodsaver

 

5.  Freeze in 4 oz. (1/2 cup) mason jars

This size of mason jar is freezer safe and exactly the same size as canned green chiles. That makes them perfect for freezing chopped chiles. I like to use these white plastic lids on my jars; they're durable, dishwasher safe, and easy to screw off and on. Mine are labeled with a Sharpie marker and blue painters tape--it works great and can be removed easily without leaving behind a sticky residue.

View on Amazon: 4 oz. mason jars, plastic lids for jars, blue tape (for labeling), Sharpie markers

green chiles

 

6. Freeze in 4 oz. (1/2 cup) stackable plastic containers.

If you have limited freezer space, these are great because they are stackable, snap together so they don't tip over, and have a small footprint. You can squeeze a stack of these into the corner of your freezer without taking up much space at all.

View on Amazon:  stackable plastic containers

green chiles

Whichever method you choose, it's great to have chiles roasted and ready in your freezer. Here are a few of my recipes that use green chiles:

IMG_3076.jpg

Make it a Yummy day!

Monica


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Posted on Monday, September 9th, 2013








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