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Jan 31, 2012 07:07 PM

Using dried chile's

I remember reading some time ago that dried chile's that are brittle and break instead of being pliable aren't any good. Does this mean they are inedible, or just not ideal to use?

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  1. I haven't heard that but I use a lot of dried chiles and I've used brittle ones with no loss of flavor.

    1. That's a sweeping condemnation. Which chile and for what purpose? I suppose it merely means that they are very old, hence stale. I just checked my bag of dried New Mexican chiles and the are, indeed, pliable. I've had them for a year or so, so there is plenty of time to use them before they reach this state.

      When I find something in the back of my cupboard that's more than 20 years old, I usually through it out.

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      1. I use old dried chilies all the time. I live in a country that thinks a jalapeno is exotic, so I have to bring them back with me when I make my annual trek to the US. I can't say whether they have lost flavor by then because I have nothing to compare them with, but they taste great. I soak them and grind them, usually. I would say that if you're going to char them in a pan, they work better if they are supple, but otherwise I wouldn't toss them until you determine they are dead. And I also have some that are several years old. Wipe the cobwebs from them and give 'em a go!

        1. Brittle chiles aren't inedible, just difficult to work with. Stemming and seeding dried chiles in an exercise in patience. I would just soak them in water a bit longer.

          Good luck!

          By the way, if any of you know if small-scale farmers in the US or Mexico that produce dried chiles, please let me know. Thank you!

          1. I use dried chiles that have been dried for years and are stored in glass jars. They must be rehydrated in hot water and then pureed. Just remove the stems and seeds before breaking up and putting them in the water. I've been a cultivator of fresh chiles for more than 35 years. The current rage is the 'bhut jolokia' from India.