What if there are no fresh roasted chiles in your area?
Should you mail order frozen green chiles?
Is it better to buy frozen chiles when you happen to be in Colorado or New Mexico and carry them back with you on the plane? [Here are instructions on packing your chiles for the plane.]
Pros & Cons of Mail Order Chiles
- Shipping is expensive … very expensive
- Chiles are perishable and need to be kept frozen. If the merchant you order from packs them well and uses only very reliable shipping, you should be fine. Keep in mind that different merchants use different packing and shipping methods. Shipping problems could cause your entire shipment to spoil.
- Prices, selection, and shipping & handling varies drastically with different suppliers. Taking the time to research is worth it.
- Convenience – when they arrive, just throw them in the freezer
- Longer freezer life – some merchants vacuum pack chiles in industrial quality freezer bags. These will last years; chiles you pack yourself are not likely to be good beyond a year. Check your merchant out first, though. Some use the same quart freezer bags that you probably use.
- Better labeling and storing. When you freeze chiles yourself, labels can fall off and you might get bags frozen in weird shapes. You will find your mail order chiles well labeled and frozen in shapes that are very easy to store.
- If you shop wisely for your mail order chiles, the value can easily be worth the increased expense. See our Where to Buy Chili Peppers guide.
What about buying frozen chiles when you visit Colorado or New Mexico and taking them back on the plane with your?
I give detailed instructions on how to pack chili peppers for a plane trip here.
But is it worth it? I think it is very simple to determine:
- Small amounts of frozen chiles are easy to transport in your suitcase and likely to arrive in good shape. In general, I think 10 lbs or less is often worth carrying in a suitcase.
- Carrying less than 10 lbs on the plane can save you a lot of money. Having a 5 lb bag of chiles shipped to you can cost as much as $125. [That is not a typo – at Hatch New Mexico Green Chile, shipping 5 lbs of diced chiles is $125; whole chiles are 5 lb for $100.]
- The larger the amount of frozen chile, the more cost effective it is to ship. This is true for nearly all merchants. When you get up around 20 lbs of chiles, the cost of shipping chiles comes waaay down.
- For larger amounts of chiles, the hassle of carrying them on a plane becomes burdensome. With a 50 lb limit on each suitcase, do you really want to use 25 lbs for chiles? Adding another suitcase can cost $30 on many airlines.
Ordering chiles to be shipped to your door can be more than worthwhile – it can be fun! [Say what?? Fun? You gotta be kidding….]
Here is how I would do it:
Plan a party! I suggest a game day party when your favorite team faces its biggest rival. Tell all your friends you’re having a chile party with fabulous chili verde … and chili con queso, spicy guacamole, and many more great dishes with fresh roasted chiles! Who wants in? How about splitting a big order of frozen chiles among a group of friends? This is how you can get costs way down.
Before you place an order, check out our Where to Buy Chili Peppers guides.