How to Freeze Roasted Green Chiles

How to Freeze Roasted Green Chiles 
Bag of frozen chilesYou’ve headed out to your favorite chile roasting stand, stood around chatting with other chile buyers, and now here you are at home with a warm bushel sack of fresh roasted green chiles.  Now what?  It’s time to pack ’em up in bags or containers and freeze them.

Do not let the the chiles sit in the bag very long, no more than an hour or two is best.  Chiles are highly susceptible to growing bacteria. On the other hand, they should sit in the bag for at least a half hour as they will steam, rendering the skins much easier to remove.
The 3 Vital Rules for Freezing Chiles:
  1. Always use plastic or latex gloves. Your hands will burn for hours if you don’t.
  2. Use high quality freezer bags, as described here.
  3. Suck out as much air as possible before freezing
If you follow these 3 rules, your chiles will keep well for a year or more.

What do you plan to cook with them?  This will determine the best way to pack them up for freezing. 

If you want to use them for chile rellenos:
  • You may want to leave stems on and seeds in.  Some like to make their rellenos with the stems still on. If not, cut the stems off, and remove the seeds if you’d like.
  •  Arrange them on a cookie sheet about a quarter inch apart.
  •  Spray them lightly with water.
  •  Place them in the freezer and allow them to freeze for a few hours minimum.
  •  Remove them from the freezer and place them in plastic bags.  They should stay separate (much like frozen fish filets) so that you can remove individual chiles when you are ready to cook them.
  • Suck as much air out as possible before sealing the bag
  • Chiles frozen for rellenos will only keep for a few months because it is not possible to remove all the air

If you plan to use them for green chili and other dishes where they do not need to be whole:
  • Always use food service gloves when peeling and seeding chiles.
  • Some prefer to just divide them up into groups of 6 to 10 chiles and put each group in a plastic bag without peeling the chiles.  Others find that peeling first makes them easier to cook with.
  •  Some not only peel the chiles (slide the skins off) but also remove the stems and seeds.  This is mainly a matter of preference.
  •  Select the number to put in each bag according to how many you usually use when you cook with them. Leaving chiles in the refrigerator is not a good idea as they can easily grow mold in under a week.

Green chiles will easily keep in the freezer for over a year as long as they are properly packed in strong freezer bags.  Pack them up in convenient bags as soon as you get them home from roasting and you should find it simple to cook with them in many dishes on short notice.