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Late Summer is Hatch Chile Time

The widely recognized Hatch green chiles are a hot-notch above the others

In late-August and early September, the aroma of roasting chiles begins to fill the air, especially in the parking lots at local supermarkets. It's Hatch chile time as these New Mexico specialties begin to filter beyond their native borders.

What makes these chiles so special? Some say that they are hotter and more flavorful than the Anaheims (also called California peppers). In fact, those peppers on the coast originated from New Mexico varieties. And not all New Mexico green peppers are known as Hatch. These are indigenous to a region called the Hatch Valley and, in particular, a four-square-mile stretch around Hatch, New Mexico - a village that lies along the Rio Grande.

This Hatch legend has not always been as popular; in fact, the true frenzy began just a few years ago with the rising popularity of hot foods in general. And, lest we forget, Hatch is not a cultivar, but merely the region in which the chiles called "Hatch" are grown. The same types of peppers - so they say - are ground in other regions. Oh well. Because of their widespread reputation, however, some nefarious sellers will try to pass these "off" brands as the real deal. They're even brazen enough to do it right in the town of Hatch.

The bottom line is you may find plenty of uses for Hatch chiles, but any recipe that calls for them can be as good with Anaheims. For the record, also, Hatch chiles are sold at many heat levels from mild to extra-hot.

When you are selecting any green chile, choose those that are uncurled as those curly-ques will be especially difficult to roast, peel, and stuff.

Don't be put off by the unappetizing appearance of those roasted and bagged parking lot chiles. Just get them home and start peeling. They can be frozen afterward. We prefer to purchase ours fresh and roast at home - it's hard to beat that aroma filling up the house and wafting outdoors.

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Pittsburg, TX 75686
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