Q: Dear Dave,
We are planning on going to Hatch, NM for the Chile Festival in September 2003, Labor Day weekend. We would like to purchase chiles and have them roasted. How long do we have to bring them home to Chandler, AZ and freeze them before they go bad? What is the best way to transport roasted chiles?
Duane and Jeanne
A: Hello Duane and Jeanne:
Immediately after roasting, when the chiles have cooled down, bacteria start to grow. To inhibit such growth, you will need to ice the chiles down in a large cooler. If you keep them iced down, they should make it back to Chandler fine. Place the chiles in large plastic bags. Put a layer of ice down on the bottom of a large cooler, then the chiles, then another layer of ice. When you get back home, peel the chiles and freeze them as soon as possible.
P.S.: Dear Dave,
Here’s a P.S. on longer trips for your How to Transport Roasted Chiles question. Having had to make the trip across the country numerous times, I box up the packages of roasted chiles and freeze them before the trip. Chilling chiles down the fastest way possible is probably safer as ice alone could leave those roasted chiles in that dangerous temperature zone for too long. Many grocery stores or even hotel kitchens can be coaxed to put the box in their freezer overnight or for a day or two for you (if you have no local friends with freezers). Once frozen solid, the block of chiles will stay frozen in a cooler for an all-day or two-car trip or even on a plane flight without added ice.