Summer Is Here and So Are Hatch Chiles!
Summer is the perfect time for family gatherings, barbecues and beach parties. Not only can you enjoy these fun outings with fresh fruits and vegetables, but now you can enjoy them with the best of the best fresh chiles: New Mexico Hatch Chiles!
Authentic Hatch Chiles are a favorite Southwestern chile. These chiles are named after the original growing area in Hatch, New Mexico. Melissa’s Hatch chiles are grown in the Mesilla Valley just north of Las Cruces, New Mexico. They are well known, especially in the states of New Mexico, Texas, and Arizona. Researchers say the intense sunlight and cool nights in the valley result in a uniquely flavored chile. The valley, which stretches along the Rio Grande’s southern-most bend before crossing into Texas and Mexico, is covered with row after row of green, leafy Hatch chile plants for most of the summer. These chiles, an older cousin of the fresh green Anaheim chile, have meaty flesh and can be very mild or have a medium to very hot bite. Hatch Chiles are becoming more and more popular every year, with local supermarkets hosting “Hatch Chile Roasts” where you can buy your fresh Hatch Chiles and have them roasted right in front of you!
And if you want to try something new but don’t have any recipes, check out our Hatch Chile Cookbook written by our own co-owner Sharon Hernandez and our Corporate Chef Ida Rodriguez…they have first hand experience with Hatch Chiles!
Another perfect addition to summer is a cool, refreshing, thirst quenching drink: AGUA FRESCA. Agua Fresca is basically flavored water. You can get as creative as you want! Add your favorite fresh fruit and some fresh mint and you have a delicious summer treat. Try this:
Fresh cucumber slices
Fresh lemon slices
Mint, for garnish
Using a serving pitcher, add the cucumber and lemon slices and cover with water. Serve cold with a sprig of fresh mint.
Along with enjoying your Hatch chiles and Agua Frescas, here are a handful of tips to keep your summer fresh and healthy:
- Always keep plenty of cut fruits and veggies in the fridge: carrots, celery, watermelon, sprite melons or any other melon. This will ensure you and your kids grab the best snack instead of the chips or cookies.
- Set a bowl on the kitchen counter filled with ready-to-eat stone fruit like white nectarines, peaches, pluots, or any other favorites. These are perfect for a quick grab-n-go snack on the way out the door!
- Cut up fresh veggies for dipping. If you are pressed for time, buy a ready-to-go veggie platter and set it out for the kids… you will be pleasantly surprised by how quickly it disappears!
- Prepare a pitcher of water with slices of fresh lemon or lime and slices of fresh cucumber (really!). This is so refreshing and delicious; you won’t crave the sugary juice or sodas.
- If you are going to a barbecue, make a side-dish that you can enjoy without feeling guilty. Try making a fresh tropical fruit salad with fresh lychees or some other unusual fruits. Everyone loves different things and won’t realize they are healthy too! Grains like quinoa and farro make great summer salads, too!
- Freeze grapes or bananas for a cool treat. You can even dip them in melted chocolate for a real treat.