“The Skin Keeps the Heat In”
We’re sorry we skipped a week in our myth buster series, but we’ve been hard at work on the farm. The last couple of weeks have brought our valley several inches of rain, and we’ve been doing damage control. So, the next myth we will examine is one I only hear from customers every now and then. Although its not nearly as prevalent as the seed-heat myth, its still worth mentioning.
I once had a conversation with a customer regarding the best way to process their chile, and I suggested that any chile she would be using for stews and burgers should be peeled, de-seeded, de-stemmed, and chopped before freezing. I was told that removing the peelings was terrible, and that she would never peel chile before freezing it. I was a little taken aback, and asked if it was too much work or if there was another reason. All she said, in a mildly superior tone, was that “the skin keeps the heat in”.
I had to laugh a little on the inside because I thought she was kidding at first. Here in New Mexico, if you find peelings in your green sauce, or on your rellenos, or in salsa or other chile-dishes, its an annoyance. The peelings stick to your teeth, and take away from the texture of the green chile. I know many people peel their chile after de-frosting, but personally I like to get all the work done at once. That way, when I’m ready to cook, I just de-frost my green chile and go. But, when I asked if she was kidding, she firmly stated that “if you peel your chile before you eat it, it’ll lose all the heat and the smoky flavor of roasting”.
I’ve been roasting chile since I was 12 years old, and I had never once heard someone say this. Then again, we roast only in New Mexico and most of our customers are natives so I started wondering how many of our customers believed that the skin keeps the heat and flavor in their chile. I decided to do a little survey, and emailed 250 of our customers asking for a simple yes or no answer as to whether they thought that the peelings held in the flavor and heat of their chile. Only 182 people replied to the email, but out of that 182, 18 firmly believed that this was true and another 5 weren’t sure. I was astounded that so many people had somehow heard this green chile myth and decided to include it in our myth-buster series.
So, here’s the truth. The peelings you get from green chile are simply the tough outer layer of the pod or the “skin”. They do not have any flavor, and do not provide any protection for the meat inside. When frozen properly, green chile does not lose any of its flavor or heat, and can be peeled before freezing so that when you are ready to make any chile-containing dish you don’t have to go through the onerous task of peeling. If you have any questions, feel free to comment on this post. Till next time! Our post on myth #3 “hatch chile is a brand or variety” should be interesting, its the most common misconception about hatch green chile around.