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How to Store and Prepare Fresh Hot Peppers (Chiles)

Storage and Preparation:

Once dried, many chiles can be kept for months, even years. The fresh ones are much more fragile. Store them wrapped in paper towels or place them in a small brown paper bag in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator and use within a few days or a week at most. Do not seal them in plastic nags. The condensation that collects on the peppers in a sealed bag speeds up spoilage and often causes mold. Check them every day or two to remove any that have begun to spoil.

Unless you, and everyone you are feeding, are used to the heat of fresh (or dried) chiles, it is best to remove the stem, ribs, and seeds, which contain most of the heat. Remember, the capsaicin in chiles can cause painful blisters and/or burns, so treat chiles with respect. I recommend using latex or plastic gloves when handling chiles, splitting them lengthwise, cutting out the stems, ribs, and seeds even when washing them. Avoid putting your fingers anywhere near you mouth, eyes, or skin. Everything used in their preparation should be washed in a solution of water and chlorine bleach to remove most of the capsaicin from their surfaces.

Hot chiles can also be roasted like sweet peppers, but remember, cooking does not take away the fiery effects. Use gloves while peeling, seeding, and preparing roasted chiles, just as you would for raw ones.

More about Hot Chilies

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