What Are Hatch Chiles & Are Hatch Chile Spicy

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It’s estimated that there are over 50,000 varieties of chile peppers grown. Among those 50,000 are a couple of different peppers that are much more popular than others. One of which is the hatch chile. If you’re a chile head or hot sauce lover, you’ve probably heard someone mention or talk about hatch chiles.

But what exactly is a hatch chile? What about the heat? Are hatch chiles spicy? Why are hatch chiles to popular? These are all questions we’re going to quickly cover! So if you want to know everything there is about hatch chiles, strap in. 

Let’s get started.

What Are Hatch Chiles?

Hatch chiles are a type of chili pepper that is grown in the Hatch Valley of New Mexico. The ideal time to harvest these peppers is usually late August or early September. Hatch chiles can range in color from green to red and are commonly used in southwestern dishes. The peppers get their name from the valley in which they are grown; the Hatch Valley region of New Mexico.

These peppers are traditionally roasted before being used in recipes. Roasting hatch chiles helps to bring out their flavor and makes them easier to work with in recipes. Peppers that have been roasted will also have their skins come off more easily than unroasted peppers.

The term “Hatch peppers” is sometimes used to designate the kind of chilies that has made the region famous, regardless of where they are from. However, for the hatch peppers, to be genuinely called a Hatch pepper, the pods must be produced in the Hatch Valley.

The first plantings of these chilies began in  1894 when Fabián Garcia at New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts (now known as New Mexico State University) developed cultivars.

Are There Different Types of Hatch Chiles

Yes, there are a few different types of hatch chiles. The most common type of hatch chile is the New Mexico 6-4. However, there are several different kinds.

  • Barker Extra Hot
  • NuMex Heritage 6-4 
  • NuMex Joe E. Parker 
  • NuMex R Naky
  • NuMex Big Jim 
  • NuMex Sandia
  • New Mexico 6-4
  • NuMex Heritage Big Jim

Are Hatch Chiles Spicy?

Now that we know what hatch chiles are, you might be wondering about the level of spice they pack. Every chile pepper has a different heat level, which is measured on what is called the Scoville Heat Scale, made specifically for chile peppers and their heat levels.

The answer is that it depends on the pepper itself. Some peppers will be spicier than others; it really just depends on how much capsaicin is present within the pepper. Capsaicin is the compound that gives chili peppers their characteristic heat.

That being said, as a general rule, hatch chiles tend to be on the milder side when it comes to spice level. They typically clock in at around 1,500-2,500 Scoville heat units (SHU). For comparison, jalapeno peppers usually fall somewhere between 2,500-8,000 SHU, while habanero peppers can be as high as 350,000 SHU! So if you’re looking for something spicy, hatch chiles by themselves won’t give much heat.

What Do Hatch Chiles Look Like

Hatch chiles can range in color from green to red and are typically long and tapered. They can vary in length, from 4-6 inches! The peppers start out green and mature into a red hue as they grow older.

The shape, color, and taste of hatch chiles are very similar to those of Anaheim peppers. Anaheim peppers are also grown in New Mexico and have a similar profile to hatch chiles but can taste slightly different.

How Do Hatch Chiles Taste

If you’ve never had a hatch chile before, you might be wondering what they taste like. The answer is that it depends on how they’re prepared. If they’re eaten raw, they offer a crisp, slight spicy flavor with a mild tang comparable to what an onion would taste like.

However, if they’re roasted (which is the more common preparation), they take on a smoky, rich, earthier flavor. This is because the roasting process breaks down some of the peppers’ cell walls, allowing their natural sugars to caramelize and giving them a deeper flavor.

No matter how you prepare them, hatch chiles are a great way to add some spice and flavor to any dish!

What Are Hatch Chiles Used For & Where to Find Them

Hatch chiles are utilized in a wide range of foods across the United States, particularly in New Mexico. They’re can be used to make soups or stews, hot sauces, and even chopped and cooked into different types of chilis, as well as other everyday meals. Not only are roasted chiles popular for making stuffed peppers, but they’re also hugely popular in general.

You can also find many products made from them. Such as Hatch Chile Hot Sauces

and Hatch Chiles Salsas. Lastly, you may also find them jarred.

Everything to Know About Hatch Chiles

Hatch chilies are a type of chili pepper grown in the Hatch Valley of New Mexico. These versatile peppers can be used in a variety of dishes and range in color from green to red. They are used in many products such as hot sauces, salsas, and more.

Hatch chiles tend to be on the milder side but pack a bunch when it comes to flavor. Which is why so many companies love to fire roast their hatch chiles for products. So if you’re looking for a new salsa or hot sauce to try, look for one made from fresh fire roasted hatch chiles!

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