The Hatch Chile is a big deal in some parts of this country.
Beloved for its rich flavor and versatility, this New Mexican delicacy has a strong following in Southern California, Arizona, and Texas. Enjoyed on burgers, stews, and tacos alike, the New Mexico green chile goes well on anything. It has slowly spread across the country popping up on menus from New York to Chicago, but there’s still quite a few people who are unfamiliar with this regional treasure.
This list will give you the 10 things you didn’t know about the New Mexico green chile. Never tried this American treasure? Give our Hatch Green Chile Beef Jerky a try.
1. Hatch chiles can only come from Hatch, New Mexico.
Sparkling wine from Champagne, Parmesan cheese from Emilia-Romagna Lombardy, Scotch Whisky from Scotland. Official Hatch green chiles can only come from Hatch, New Mexico. Legislators passed a law in 2012 that prohibits the sale of chili peppers with the label “New Mexican” unless actually grown in New Mexico.
2. There’s an annual Hatch chile festival that attracts 30,000 people.
Each year around Labor Day, over 30,000 Hatch green chile fanatics descend on the small town (normal population: 2,000) of Hatch, New Mexico for the annual Hatch Chile Festival. Vendors across town offer a taste of their roasted Hatch chiles. The most popular attraction is the chile eating contest, where participants suffer through intense heat to claim the top prize—a 40-pound bag of chiles.
3. You can get a degree in Hatch green chile studies.
There’s a Chile Pepper Institute at New Mexico State University. Established in 1992, the institute studies New Mexican peppers and others from around the world. It is the only international, non-profit organization devoted to education and research related to Capsicum, or the spicy element in chile peppers. Visitors can discover chile research posters, chile pepper books, art, and hundreds of high-demand and hard-to-find chile pepper seed varieties.
4. There’s multiple varieties of Hatch green chiles.
There is a wide range of New Mexican chile cultivars with names such as Big Jim, Sandia, Joe E. Parker, 6-4, Barker Extra Hot, R Naky. These New Mexican chiles have been developed over the past 100 years and offer a range of colors, sizes, and heat levels.
5. Hatch green chiles are used in all kinds of products.
From nuts, to jams, salsas, and beef jerky, the Hatch green chile has been used in all kinds of snacks and food products. We tend to think green chile beef jerky is one of the best ways to enjoy this rich and smokey flavor profile, but you really can’t go wrong.
Click for our list of favorite ways to try the New Mexico green chile.
6. The Hatch green chile season is really short.
As large peppers with thick walls, Hatch chile peppers have a very short cultivation season. They are typically harvested in August and September each year. This short window for the harvest transforms the early Fall into a three month celebration. Parking lots and roadsides across the state are packed with roasters, churning out delicious roasted hatch green chiles ready for use.
7. The green chile and red chile are both Hatch chiles.
It’s a common misconception that green and red chiles are different types of peppers. Not true; they are actually the same plant, just picked at different times. The red chile is a ripened version of the green chile. The Hatch chile is more commonly enjoyed in its green state, but is also available in red.
8. Hatch green chiles are sneaky healthy.
In general, chile peppers are a great source of vitamin A, B, and C. They are high in fiber, phytonutrients and even the Capsaicin, the chemical that brings the heat.
Did you know that Capsaicin is being researched for its possible preventive effects on cancer and other serious illnesses?
These peppers can also improve your metabolism. Capsaicin has a similar effect of green tea (ECCG) and caffeine. Studies have shown to stimulate weight loss when eaten as part of a healthy diet.
9. Perfect for any recipe.
New Mexico Hatch chiles are very versatile. They can be used in stews, sauces, and dips. They’re also the perfect topping for burgers, pizza, and tacos. There’s really no wrong way to enjoy the Hatch green chile. The key is using roasted hatch green chiles, that’s when the flavor really sings.
10. The local terroir (where it comes from) is the secret to the Hatch green chile flavor.
The unique growing conditions in Hatch, New Mexico create the perfect environment for the New Mexico green chile to develop rich, aromatic flavors. Warm days and cool nights preserve the freshness of the chiles, making them both incredibly fresh and crisp while also deeply earthy and flavorful.
Experience the Hatch green chile flavor for yourself with our Carne Seca Hatch Green Chile Beef jerky. A celebration of New Mexico beef jerky. Now available online and ready to ship anywhere in the U.S.
Shop the Hatch Green Chile Beef Jerky