Chile peppers are so regularly in the news for their positive qualities that each little pod should come with a tiny blue ribbon tied to its stem. The pow-packing pepper is full of vitamin C, it's a congestion fighter, it is said to goose endorphins.
And we know: Tying a blue ribbon to each pod is time-consuming. We'd rather be roasting them, an early fall tradition in the southwest and several parts of SoCal, and then we'd rather be eating them, to get all of those health (and taste) benefits.
El Rey Farms can help us out on that front. The California-based company regularly trucks over sacks and sacks and sacks of Hatch chile each August and September, and transplanted New Mexicans -- as well as a bunch of Golden Staters who've never called the Land of Enchantment home -- line up to pick up their freshly roasted sack of sweet heat.
Or make that "sacks." You can order multiple sacks and people do, choosing to freeze the chile rather than consume it all at once (although that certainly happens, too). The sacks are gargantuan: 38 pounds, says the flyer.
Oh, and here's the flyer you'll need. The first Hatch chile load arrives at La Puente High School on Saturday, Aug. 10. There will be three more, on Aug. 17, 24, and Sept. 7, and possibly a fourth on Sept. 14. That "depends on Mother Nature," says a recorded message for El Rey Farms.
So think earlier than later, home chefs and people who need a mega dose of capsaicin in their autumn and winter cooking.
Other stores and companies will also be truckin' in the chile and roasting during late August and early September, if you miss out on the El Rey action.
But try not to, because Hatch chile? It's rightly revered for a reason. Health benefits, yes, but it can turn a cold-day stew into something magically tear-inducing. A cauldron of culinary wonder, in fact.
And, yep, it is chile, not chili. The spelling is not worth quibbling over, right? "Chili" is, well, chili -- think meat and beans in a bowl -- and "chile" is the pepper we roast and savor each fall.
Nope, we're not going to tie a blue ribbon to each tiny stem, but we will picture it hanging there, because the chile pepper is indeed the queen of fiery fruits.