Traditions run deep with me. I remember the long hours and rich stories around the copper kettle making applebutter.Usually a congregation of neighborhood effort where we all bring our jars, apples, sugar and cinnamon oil together for the production and social event. Several hundred jars would be filled for the winter months to come bringing that sweet taste of late summer. I was intrigued when I heard my friend had a strong family tradition generations long. Roasting the chillis for the year. What? I had to see and experience this!
MaryLou Chavira Grever and her beautiful family do this yearly from a passed down Tradition she aquired from her Mexico family tree. Her mother would say, only one time a year the chiles are – just right. So MaryLou orders 75 pounds of chilies in a small summer window just for this occasion. Preserving that summer flavor, memories and authentic recipes and tastes. Why do your Mexican dishes never quite taste like that vacation trip? Well here is why. Knowledge, talent and dicipline for the best.
They get the grills going with hot hard wood coals and start the summer warm process.
The chiles need to be a certain size and ripeness. Mushey or small ones got discarded. They are roasted til the skins brown and blister. Then gathered off the grill and placed in plastic bags to steam. This helps lock in the rich flavors as well as support the peeling process.
After a period of time… seemed 20 minutes or so … they are hand peeled of their skins and seeded. This can be a sensitive task with the pepper oils and your skin. Some of the ladies wear gloves and others( like0 Lupe) just plows right in, unaffected by the fire to her skin.
End product is bagged in small portions and froze for the months to come. We looked at the few bags left in freezer to be used from the year prior. MaryLou had maybe 12 left labled medium and hot. She shared it was getting to close this year…she worried she might run out. Chiles are in all her amazing tradition recipes she cooks.
MaryLou whipped out a cutting board and knife and chop chop choped like a profesional chef. She treated us to to fresh Caribe,(pronounced cahh rrreee vay) make sure you roll that r. A fresh chop of warm chile, tomato,onion and secret spices Only family know. What I know – it was amazing chilli salsa that smelled as aromatic as the taste. Wow!
What a grand experience of culture, tradition and true family love. Thankyou for sharing this with my family. ❤️