FAQs about Green Chiles (frequently asked questions)
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Q – Where can I buy frozen green chiles this spring? Will they ship?
Q – How do you tell just how hot the chile you are buying is?
A - The heat depends on the variety, but also varies within a range for each variety (depending on maturity, growing conditions, etc.). Some vendors just label their chiles Hatch mild, medium, or hot. Hatch is not a variety, so these can be a number of varieties of Anaheim. Some vendors can tell you exactly where each variety is grown and how each compares in heat level. When you get up into the medium-hot to hot and XXX-hot, you might want to take care and buy from a vendor who really knows each chile. Note: Heat is measured in Scoville Units, but we have yet to find a vendor who can quote Scoville ratings for their chiles.
Q – How big is a bushel?
A - You may notice that vendors tend to use small laundry baskets for measuring their bushels, and most seem to use the same size basket. Is this actually a bushel? According to Mile High Chile, these baskets are smaller than a true bushel; so they offer a “bushel” for $20 and a “Farmer’s Bushel” (i.e., a true bushel) for $25. We bought 2 bushels of roasted Pueblo Hots from Olde Glory Fireworks and weighed them. They came out to 15 lbs per bushel after roasting. We bought a “Farmer’s bushel” of 6-4′s from Mile High Chile, and it weighed in at 16 and a half pounds. The weight can vary drastically depending on variety. A bushel of a small chile like a jalapeno may weigh 2 or 3 times a bushel of a large Anaheim.
Q – Do I need to make sure the chiles I buy are actually from Hatch, New Mexico?
In 2006, the crop in Hatch was hit with heavy rains, and the harvest was drastically reduced from the norm. Many vendors sell chiles grown in Brighton,and Pueblo, CO, and other nearby farm areas. Brighton is known for growing Dynamite chiles. Several vendors have said that the Hatch crop has been inconsistent the last few years, so they are getting their supply from other areas or will switch to Pueblo chiles when the Hatch supply runs out. Some elect not to use Hatch chiles at all, and the consumer is unlikely to know the difference.
Q – Is the roasting the same from vendor to vendor?
According to Papa Frank, most vendors roast their chiles for about 3 minutes at high heat. Papa Frank roasts his at a lower heat for 8 minutes, resulting in a more even roast and skin that slides off with ease. We have found some others roasting for about 7-8 minutes, and Whole Foods actually roasts for 25 minutes, resulting in the skins falling off the chiles.
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