Too Many Chiles?


Fresh Chile Storage Tips

anaheim chilesSometimes 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:

Freezing Chiles

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

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.  

Chile Puree

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.  

Drying 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.

Featured Recipe: Fresh Poblano Chile Mousse

This recipe is from Rosa Mexicano and it is a variation of a pepper mousse from Paula Wolfert. 

  • 4 large poblano chiles 
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 medium white onions, sliced thinly
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  1. Roast the chiles on a chile grill or over a gas flame until the skins are charred. Place in a plastic bag for about 10 minutes. Remove the skin from the chiles and rinse under running water.  Seed and devein the chiies then slice into 1/4" strips.  This preparation is called Rajas.
  2. Heat oil in a 10" saute pan and saute the onions for about 3 to 4 minutes.  Add the garlic and poblano strips and saute about 6 to 8 minutes or until the onion is translucent.  Cool. 
  3. Blend the cooled rajas in a blender to make a smooth paste.
  4. Whip the cream to soft peaks.  Fold the poblano chile paste into the whipped cream.
  5. This is an excellent accompaniment to roasted meats or grilled fish.

Cleaning And Deveining Hot Chiles

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  

Nutrition Information For Too Many Chiles?

Serving Size
1 cup
Calories from Fat
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g
Saturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 34mg
Total Carbohydrate 26g
Dietary Fiber 11g
Sugars 15g
Protein 4g
Vitamin A  0% Vitamin C  0%
Calcium  0% Iron  0%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

A Few More Preserving Ideas

  • Don't forget traditional canning methods for preserving chiles.  Chiles can be prepped and canned whole or made into a puree or sauce.
  • Chile jellies and jams are easy to make and are very good as a condiment with grilled pork or beef or can be combined with cream cheese to make an easy dip.
  • Chile butter can be made by combining softened butter, dried ground chiles such as cascabel, New Mexico or chipotle. Mix the chile and the butter.  Roll into a log, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze.  Slice into rounds and use to top steamed vegetables, meats or fish.

Barbara Bowman graduated with degree in Foods and Nutrition from San Jose State University. As CEO of she spends most waking hours writing, cooking, eating, gardening and traveling.