This is a journal of my vegetable gardens. Skippy was my first dog and he thought the garden was his, even though I did all the work. Now Suzie and Charley follow in his footsteps. We're located near Boston (USDA zone 6A). I have a community plot, a backyard vegetable garden, fruit trees, berry bushes, chickens, and bees. I use sustainable organic methods and do my best to grow all of my family's vegetables myself.
Friday, August 17, 2007
From top left: long red cayenne, anaheim, jalepeno M, large cherry, hungarian wax.
It amazes me the different colours that chillis turn on their way to red! Mine started out dark purple and have turned white and orange!
I meant to leave a note before about your childhood experience with chile roasting but got distracted .... anyway, the anaheim chile, and the rest of the New Mex family for that matter(anaheim is now considered variety of New Mex) have very tough skins if used when they are green (which is most common). If you chop them very! finely you will not notice. Another way to prep them that is unique to this variety is to roast them; i.e. burn the skins off by placing them directly on the charcoal until the skins turn black (what your neighbor was doing). Once this happens, place the chile in a zip-lock bag and let it steam for 20 min. After this period the skin will pull right off ... and the taste imparted by the charcoal is wonderful!
You can leave them on the bush until they purple then red. Red chiles are most commonly dried after picking and then ground.
In the future you might consider other, more flavorful, New Mex chile varieties such as: Hatch ("supreme" or "big jim") or Espanola Improved... big jim is the local favorite but I prefer the supreme.
Thanks Scott! Great advice. If you have time to tell me how to dry chiles, I've wondering the best way to do this.
Beautiful photos! I explore the world of peppers every year but the anaheims stay because I love roasting them.
If you want variegated leaves and striped chiles try a variety called Fish.
It is pretty easy to dry chiles, but then again the land of enchantment has the advantage of low humidity. I have only dried my New Mex once they turn red, they are fairly thin walled. I have been told that thick walled chiles, like jalapeno, are smoke dried (chipotle) as mildew is a problem.... this is an all day process over low heat which I never tried. Books say to leave them in the sun but even on my porch the smallest amount of rain splatter is a problem. So, the best method I have found is to place them on "cookie" cooling racks in my garage. My hot water heater is in there and it stays very warm day & night through Oct (80?). I'd say it takes 10 days? Anyway, once they are dry they are still a little pliable but will crack if forced. You can bag them at this stage but if you bag them when they can still wiggle they will mildew. You can reconstitute them in hot water for a few minutes or grind into powder.
Best of luck.
Thanks. I will experiment with one or two chiles. The warmest and driest place I have may be my attic. My garage is cooling down to about 60F now. All day smoke dry may be easiest for me and sounds tasty.
Last night we roasted fresh chiles whole on the grill and ate them. Best were the red cherry chiles with a nice sweet/hot chile flavor and very hot. Long red cayenne had less chile flavor but LOTS of heat. We ate SMALL bites. Hungarian wax was least hot. I was worried my chiles wouldn't develop much heat in our relatively cool, cloudy weather, but they did very well.
I have an overabundance of hot peppers in my garden this year. I am wondering how you preserve yours and also how you use them fresh? All I can think of is putting them in chili. I imagine you might be more creative!
You can either slice them up really thinly, spread them out on a tray and put them in a cool oven (about 90 deg C) for an hour or so, then store them in an airtight container or simply freeze them whole. Both methods work fine for me. Pickling is not so good as you tend to lose the original flavour.
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