Friday, May 12, 2017

Hatch Chili Peppers

Being from WV, I am not about to attempt to fully describe the history of the Hatch Pepper.  I first heard of it a few years ago on one of my trips to visit CO children.  We always travel from CO to different parts of the Southwest and my boys were familiar with the pepper.  There is lots of information out on the internet about the pepper.  Here's a brief article from one of the Hatch Valley sites.  You can do some research on your own.  And maybe you want to attend the Hatch Valley Chile Festival; an annual September event.  I'd love to hear from any of you in NM that can fully describe this pepper!

Our local Kroger carried the Hatch peppers (both a hot and a milder variety) a couple of summers ago.  I bought a lot and cooked them fresh as well as roasting and freezing.  This year when I attended Shirley Meneice Conference, Cyndie, a member of the Santa Fe GC brought seeds for the seed share.  I was happy to nab a packet.   Hopefully this first year they will taste the same.  I doubt if in future years they will as the NM climate & soil are so completely different than ours.  We'll see.  I will enjoy all the same.

As I did with my WV 63 tomatoes, I took the seeds to my sister to germinate under lights.  There were 42 seeds in the packet and 28 successfully germinated.  They were started at the same time as the tomato seeds, but were much slower in germinating.  We did not pot them up at the same time as the tomatoes as they were still very fragile.  This first photo is from April 13th and you can see they are still small.

April 13 seedlings appearing.
May 12, 2017  By mid May we have repotted and I am in the process of offering to family and friends.  Our weather has been really rainy and I am hoping they don't become too waterlogged.  Two of the plants are in containers on my deck and some of the others are in the ground.  Will keep you posted on their progress!  I brought them home on May 3 and started putting them out this past week.

May 3 and they are hardening off.
August 28, 2017  I haven't posted since May - but my peppers have done well despite the rainy and fairly cool summer we had.  Only a few days were in the 90s.  Certainly not the weather these plants should have and so the plants remained fairly small.  I don't think the peppers are the size that they would have been in NM.  The ones I planted in containers and kept on my deck have done the best as they get the most sun.  Our nights are already very cool and we will see how much longer they last.  I've enjoyed harvesting and trying different ways to fix.  I made some salsa, some Hatch Poppers (like jalapeno poppers) and a layered casserole.  The peppers weren't quite big enough to stuff for individual servings; so I halved, seeded and layered in the bottom of a glass casserole dish.  Then I sautéed some onion and chorizo together and layered that next.  I topped with 3 different cheeses - some cotija, some fresh mozzarella and a jack/cheddar mix.  I covered with foil, put in a 350 oven and baked until the peppers were softened; then uncovered and baked 10-15 minutes more until the cheese was bubbly and starting to brown.  We've enjoyed this great pepper!  If you see some this year at seed share my advice is to give them a try. 

Pot on my deck

Still a few blooms.