While some users chop and serve Hatch green chilis fresh, these peppers have a limited shelf life, and preparation by roasting, chopping and freezing provides a product for safe storage for up to 18 months. Roasting brings out the sweet flavor and makes peeling easier.
Chilis contain capsicum, a skin and eye irritant, so people preparing the peppers should wear long sleeved shirts, rubber gloves and eye protection when working with the peppers. If roasting the peppers indoors, turning on an exhaust fan helps to reduce the irritants. Removal of contact lenses before beginning the job prevents contamination by the irritant.
There are several ways to heat peppers to blister the skin. Steaming, microwaving and heating over a flame or in an oven are possibilities. Dry roasting over a flame using a barbecue grill or in an oven causes the sugars to caramelize and improves the flavor.
Chilis for immediate use should peel easily under running water. For long-term storage, the cook placing blistered chilis in a freezer bag with the skins intact makes peeling just prior to use easier. To ensure safety when freezing, the maximum container thickness should be less than 2 inches and stacking of containers should wait until freezing is complete.