What Are Hatch Chiles?


Rosemary asks: Why all the hoopla surrounding Hatch Chiles?What Are Hatch Chiles?  Mama's High Strung

Like anything in the food world that has a limited run, many people are drawn to the exclusivity and somewhat snobbish appeal of being part of a coveted gastro experience: think black French Périgord truffles or Copper River salmon.

But you’ve asked what are Hatch Chiles and why all the hoopla. One of the most unique qualities of these meaty peppers is that you can find them with varying heat levels… from mild to extremely hot. You really can’t say that about most chile peppers, can you?

Hatch Chiles are grown only in southern New Mexico’s fertile Mesilla Valley, where the soil is rich in nitrogen and minerals. Sun soaked days and cool desert nights help these chiles develop their intense earthy flavor. They are extremely rich in Vitamin C.

What Are Hatch Chiles? Melissa's Hatch Chile CookbookHatch, New Mexico, is the epicenter for these chiles, which come into season in August and September. If you find yourself in this part of the world at this time of year, you’ll find chiles being roasted 24/7, Hatch Chile contests, and even a parade (which will be held this weekend! August 30th to be exact!)

Roasting Hatch Chiles brings out their vibrant, hearty flavor. After roasting, the chiles are peeled… that’s when the excitement begins: what type of enchantment can I (and you!) create? This year I bought Melissa’s Hatch Chile Cookbook to find even more wonderful ideas!

Growing up in West Texas, I can remember my parents making an annual pilgrimage to New Mexico to buy huge bags of the chiles (25 lbs. or more!), which they would then roast, freeze and use the rest of the year. Maybe that’s why I’m so partial to Hatch Chiles… so many wonderful childhood memories of family, food and fun.

Sooo… get a move on. If you hurry, you can still make the parade!

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posted under Extra Helpings

6 thoughts on “What Are Hatch Chiles?

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  3. Peggy Gilbey McMackin

    Hi Chris, I’ve just printed out the recipe- and I’ve a funny story to go along! I purchased something looking near identical as these at a New Jersey Farm Market three weeks back. I think they were grown there… hmmm… I thought they were the slightly spicy frying peppers my aunt used to make, popular among Italians, and planned to create something. Ah ha. Grilled, they were the absolute spiciest peppers I ever had-in my whole life burning my hands and arms. I froze them.I wonder. Your recipe will be perfect!!! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Christina Post author

      Thanks Peggy… I don’t think you bought Hatch Chiles! Oh my goodness, you poor thing! Did your Italian aunt use Melrose peppers? Those have a little heat, but certainly won’t burn like what you went through…


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I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: mamashighstrung@gmail.com