Published by: Gourmet Sleuth
Last Updated: 02/15/2019
Sometimes it seems like our summer garden crop ripens all at one time and wondering what we can do to preserve that harvest. Fortunately most chiles can be stored in a variety of ways. Here are a few tips:
One simple, fast way to store chiles is to freeze them whole. Simply wash the chiles and allow to dry on clean toweling. Place the clean chiles in plastic freezer-weight bags. Then place that bag in another bag. This will protect the chiles from freezer burn.
Note that not all chiles freeze well. The slender chilaca chile for example should not be frozen whole, unroasted. To retain their delicate flavor, roast them first, then freeze them.
Roasted chiles can be frozen quite successfully. Roast the chiles using a chile roasting grill or roast them in the oven (click here for detailed instructions for roasting chiles). Place the chiles in a plastic bag to allow them to sweat, about 10 minutes. Remove them from the bag, then peel. Rinse under cool running water. Remove the seeds and veins then place on toweling to absorb any excess moisture. Place in double plastic bags as described above.
This method is best using small chiles such a jalapeno, arbol, Thai or habanero. First remove the stems and seeds from the chiles. Always use gloves when handling hot peppers! Place the chiles in food processor and puree until the mixture is smooth. Place the puree in ice cube trays and freeze until solid. Transfer into double plastic bags or a sturdy freezer container with a lid. One cube is equal to 2 or 3 chiles.
If you are serious about drying chiles (successfully) then we suggest you invest in a small dehydrator. Very fleshy chiles such as jalapenos can be very difficult to dry. If not dried properly they may mold and spoil. Some chiles can be spread out onto cookie sheets and placed in a 100 degree oven until dried. Check them frequently and don't let them scorch. Make sure to allow them to cool completely before storing or they may mold. This is particularly important in humid climates. The oven method is best for thin-walled chiles such as guajillo, ancho and even New Mexico.
This recipe is from Rosa Mexicano and it is a variation of a pepper mousse from Paula Wolfert.
Much of the work that goes into preserving or preparing chiles is the cleaning and deveining step. We found this great tool which makes the job of chile preparation very easy. The set of chile prep tools is available at GourmetSleuth.com.