I am likely to spend an extended time in the USA state of Washington, where they have some great Thai/Vietnamese grocers (unlike here in Indiana). Because I’ll be there a while, one of my first moves will be to but a boatload of Asian condiments and other ingredients. The place I favor always has small hot chiles, but packaged (like in meat packaging) into quantities of a couple hundred.
I wonder: has anyone experimented with freezing such chiles in smaller portions? Seems to me like it ought to work, unlike with, say, potatoes.
Are the chiles dried? I have had success freezing these. They fare best in a vacuum sealed bag (I have a FoodSaver).
No, they’d be fresh chiles. In my applications, they’re generally pounded or blended, so I’m thinking that texture wouldn’t be very pertinent. But I’ve never tried it yet. Thanks.
I haven’t tried freezing fresh chiles, except for the occasional sliced jalapeño because those don’t dry well. Either I dry then freeze or roast then freeze—think Hatch chiles.
(My freezer space is super-limited so that’s why these are my methods. And pantry pests once attacked my dried chiles, which is the reason I switched to freezer storage.)
If fully dried you don’t need to freeze - just store in air-tight containers. If fresh you can dehydrate. Don’t need anything fancy - easy on a sheet pan in an oven.
I regularly freeze fresh chilli without there being an issue. Supermarkets here sell them in packs of four or five. It’s not something I use very often so, without freezing, I’d be wasting most of the pack as I’m only going to want one or two for a dish. The rest would have gone mouldy in the fridge by next time I wanted one.
I freeze indian green chillies and serranos. They may shrivel up a bit over an extended period of time, but they’re still potent. Don’t thaw, just chop up or grind from frozen.
BTW: for those who don’t know already, you can take numerous small fully ripened (red) Thai chiles or other small hot peppers and just leave them uncovered in a flat bowl on the countertop for a year. For some reason, unlike the green/yellow-stage chiles, the red ones will dry without spoiling and become something you can grab and crunch up to make chile flakes as needed. But that’s not the same as fresh chiles–I think some flavor compounds must get lost in drying. Still good, but different. I do this especially when growing my own chiles, when you end up with hundreds all at once.
Not only did I sometimes freeze chiles I bought fresh before I could count on finding them regularly in my own neighborhood (in bulk, where I can buy small amounts), but back in the Dark Ages of America’s Food Revolution, when they weren’t as regularly available as they’ve become in general, some of the Thai/Vietnamese/etc grocery stores in NYC’s Chinatown used to sell them frozen, both “house-frozen” local-er chiles and commercially-packaged imports from Thailand and elsewhere, for whatever recommendation that represents… Also fwiw, as long as they’re relatively dry when you freeze them, you don’t really have to worry much about per-use packages - the very small ones are pretty easy to break off from a “clump”, even when fully frozen.