Chile Facts & Information

You've got questions. We've got answers.

Chile Purchase Timeline

Fresh Green Chile

Can be purchased beginning in August.

The very best mature chile can be purchased any time from mid-August to late-September during a normal season. You will be able to make a Green Chile purchase in early-August, but keep in mind that the early chile may still be tender and not completely mature. You will be able to purchase Green Chile into October so long as weather conditions permit. The later in the harvest season it gets you run the risk of an early frost beating you to your purchase.

Pile of fresh green chiles


Piñtado can be purchased beginning in mid-September and continues until early to mid-October.

What’s that? You say. (Piñtado meaning painted) When the chile pods are beginning to turn from green to red the pods are “painted” with both green and red.

Pintado 1

Fresh Red Chile

Can be purchased beginning in mid to late September and continuing until late-October, or frost.

Red chiles scatterd on a table at a Snake Ranch Farm store

Frozen Green Chile

We carry frozen green chile throughout the year, for all those unforeseen situations such as:

  • Visiting relatives
  • Freezer malfunctions
  • Unexpected parties
  • Or you simply ran out because it was SO GOOD!
Close up of frozen green chiles

Sun Dried Red Chile

Can be purchased almost year-round.

The harvest of new crop Sun Dried Red Chile normally begins in December depending on the moisture received.

Snake Ranch Farm packaged red chiles ready for pickup

Chile Facts & Myths

Many people believe that green and red chile peppers grow on different plants, which is false.

Chile peppers are a fruit and ripen. Therefore you have green chile which can be considered not ripe and red chile which is considered to be ripe. This is why the green chile is ready for harvest starting in August but the fresh red chile is not ready until mid-September. Furthermore the sun dried red chile pods are harvested when dry starting in mid-December.

Another myth is that the "second pick" green chile is better.

Admittedly that may be true at some markets; it’s not at all the case at Snake Ranch Farm Stores™. On our farm (Snake Ranch, LLC) Chris insists that the pickers pick only firm, mature chile. The chile plants produce chile peppers continually throughout the growing season. Because the chile pods are not all ready for picking at the same time the plants must be picked more than once. The way we harvest our green chile makes our "second pick" a less desirable quality. Because the pods are usually much smaller.

Chile Plant with red and green

Snake Ranch Red and Green Chiles

Healthy Eating

  • Chile is an excellent source of beta carotene and vitamin C

    • May help relive nasal congestion
    • May prevent blood clots that can lead to a heart attack or stroke
  • Chile is a popular ingredient in Southwest cooking

    Chiles – or hot peppers – add spice and interest to just about any meal; some of the milder varieties are consumed as low calorie snacks.

  • Chile peppers are more nutritious than sweet peppers, and the green varieties generally have a higher nutritional content than the red ones.

    They are very good sources of antioxidants, especially beta carotene and vitamin C. Just one raw red chile pepper (1-1/2 oz, 45g) contains about 65 mg of vitamin C, nearly 100 percent of the Recommended Daily Allowance. chiles also contain bioflavonoid, plant pigments that scientists believe help prevent cancer. In addition, research indicates that capsaicin – the ingredient that makes chile hot – may act as an anticoagulant, perhaps helping to prevent blood clots that can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Incorporated into topical creams capsaicinoids alleviate the pain of arthritis and shingles. They may also reduce the mouth pain associated with chemotherapy.

    But… Best of all, they taste good!

Contrary to popular belief, there is no evidence that chile peppers cause ulcers or digestive problems, but do handle them with care. Wear thin gloves and wash all utensils with soap and water after use. Even a tiny amount of capsaicinoids can cause severe irritation if transferred to the eyes. Be sure to avoid handling contact lenses after chopping chiles.

// FOODS THAT HARM, FOODS THAT HEAL (a Reader's Digest book)

How Do You Spell the Word Used for New Mexico’s Spicy Peppers: Chile Or Chili?

A pile of chopped green chiles

Chopped fresh green chiles

When you see the word chile, what do you think of, a country in South America? What do you think of when you see chili, a bowl of tex mex? Both of these questions give you a good idea of where I’m going with this article. Each of these words is used to refer to a pepper; a hot pepper, a sweet pepper, or a food dish with peppers. I’m going to line out the different spellings and what their definitions are in New Mexico and beyond. This is important if you are a regular visitor to New Mexico or if you live here. And why it makes sense to use the correct spelling.

New Mexicans are very proud of our chile. For us there is a huge difference between chile spelled with an “e” and chili spelled with an “i”. Chile (in reference to food – not the country) refers to a spicy pepper more specifically, the green and red type chile peppers grown in New Mexico. Likewise, dishes that include New Mexico chile peppers normally use the c-h-i-l-e spelling, such as green chile, green chile stew, red chile sauce, red or green chile enchiladas, posole with chile etc.

Senator Pete Dominici, had the c-h-i-l-e spelling entered into the 1983 Congressional Record as the official spelling for the New Mexico chile pepper. Dr. Paul Bosland, director of the New Mexico Chile Pepper Institute at New Mexico State University the school’s chief chile breeder, has been trying for years to get everyone to spell chile (the hot peppers or the plant from which the peppers come) with an “e”.

When New Mexican’s speak of chili spelled with an “i”, we are referring to Texas chili or Tex Mex, which is normally made with ground meat, beans, chile powder and spices.

Bowl of fresh TexMex chili

Bowl of fresh Tex Mex chili