There was no garden update or any posts last week because we left for Hatteras Island for a family vacation. Unfortunately, there was a mandatory evacuation on Wednesday morning so we were forced to cut it short. We were disappointed but we are making the best of it! Since then, we've been back home doing a few day trips and enjoying the rest of hubby's time off.
When we got back, it was nice to find that we had a nice little harvest of eggplant and peppers.
I had enough peppers from my one meager plant that I actually decided to go ahead and roast them. I also saved what I could of some of the seed for next years crop prior to roasting.
I learned how to prepare New Mexican Chiles while living in New Mexico. During chile season there you can buy a GIANT 25 lb. bag of roasted green Hatch chiles for a whopping 19 bucks. It was such a great deal, I couldn't pass it up. Of course, I soon learned why they were so much cheaper (by comparison a tiny, itty bitty tiny can of canned, roasted green chiles costs about $2). When I got the chiles home, I spent the next 6 hours slumped over the kitchen sink peeling and seeding the chiles in two sittings and vowed never to do it again! It was a crazy amount of chiles and I had yet to master how to peel and seed them efficiently. It was a huge pain but we enjoyed the green chiles throughout the following year. Green chiles freeze well and I saved a bundle compared to the canned versions. The flavor is also phenomenal.
There is an interesting article about New Mexican chiles in the most current issue of Organic Gardning (Oct./Nov. 2010). You won't find the article on the web just yet (I checked). I imagine they won't post it until the magazine officially releases in October. The article was eye opening. Apparently Hatch chiles are grown on infertile sandy soils often using genetically modified seed and traditional gardening practices (i.e. heavy fertilizers and pesticides). It's nothing too suprising but apparently there are heirloom varities grown in the Northern part of the state on richer soil that are grown more sustainably. It's a very interesting article I suggest anyone interested in growing New Mexican chiles read. This year I grew New Mexico Jim's. My peppers aren't near as big as I thought they should be but I'm pleased to know they didn't lose a thing as far as flavor and I know what's in them!
Our Homegrown Green Chiles
You can roast chiles many ways but as our grill is out of commission I went ahead and roasted them in the oven. To roast in the oven, I broiled them on high for 20 minutes, rotating them every five or so minutes until I got a nice char on all sides.
After that I put them in a sweating bag (a.k.a ziploc bag) for 10 minutes. Doing this makes them easier to peel as they continue to steam in their own skin.
After that I put them in a water bath to make them even easier to peel.
I then peeled, seeded, and chopped the chiles. Easy as pie.
Peeling and Seeding Green Chiles
Cutting the Chiles
The Final Product