Make your green chillies last longer

Bhaiyya, ek rupaiyya ka masala chahiye.

And depending on how often you bought from him or how well you knew him, the masala-wala, whose name was always Raju, would hand you some green chillies, kadipatta, cilantro, a small piece of ginger and if you haggled enough, he might throw in a limboo. I always got more cilantro or kadipatta, in addition to a limboo, as a reward for my loyalty. And I bought from him almost on a daily basis.



No Raju in the Indian grocery store. Just open bins with produce. No mix and match either. I don't shop there every week either. So my green chillies need to last between 3 to 4 weeks. I don't like to freeze green chillies as I feel they lose their flavor. I have in the past relied on packaged frozen green chillies but not only do I not get those anymore, I prefer the fresh green chilli.

Green chillies are known to have bacteria around the stem. This leads to early spoilage. When you bring them home, snap off and discard the stems, wrap them in paper towels, put them in a ziploc and only then refrigerate them. Now watch how long they last now! By the beginning of the 4th week, I do have some browning and spoilage but I no longer waste as many chillies as I did earlier. I can also go up to 3 weeks between each visit to the Indian store because I make my cilantro last longer, too!

18 comments:

Anita said...

Those look freshhhhh!

I do the same with my chillies...but instead of the zip-lock I use a small steel dabba. But I don't have to worry about no-Raju...he passes by on his bike everyday with all the masala ingredients you mention! If I were loyal, he would ring the bell too...

Saju said...

lovely post. I wish a had Raju coming by my house. As it is I have to rely on either the local Indian store or Tesco Supermarket. As I walk past both on my way to work or back home, I don't have to buy in bulk.

musical said...

Thats a handy tip to keep in mind once the Farmers Market stops stocking green chillies. I usually buy them and freeze some, which is good only for short time use-as, like you say, they lose flavor. When i don't find Indian chillies, i switch to Serrano peppers, they are similar in flavor!

And the sight of fresh green chillies always brings the zing!

Padmaja said...

Hey Manisha!! I do somewhat the same, i just take the crowns off and then store.
Now i am gonna just the way you mentioned!!

Purnima said...

Manisha..same goes for curry leaves too..you can store them upto 3 weeks with freshness by drying, stalking and wrapping them in newspaper(I prefer news paper to paper towels)in a zip-lock refrigerate (I keep them in the door of the fridge to have them more fresh, less moisture). tks for your lovely tips too!!

Rajitha said...

thanks for this tip...i am a queen of excess....and hoard on chillies and ginger like no tommorow!!

bee said...

our last batch of green chillies will come from the garden today. time to use your tip. --jai

Ranchikud said...

Hi.. thanks for the tip! Would save a lot of green chilies now :) also .. the other tips are good too! Thanks!

Manisha said...

Anita, the advantage of the ziploc is that the chillies can be flattened so that they lie almost in a single layer. Since the area of contact with one another is reduced, if one spoils, the chances of it spreading quickly to the others is also reduced. Plus, it saves space in the crisper. I wash and reuse the ziploc.

Saju, you are lucky, lucky, lucky!

Musy, yup! I buy Serranos and use them liberally, too!

Padmaja, the paper towel absorbs any lingering moisture. If you find that it is a tad too damp, change the paper towel.

Purnima, very true! I store my kadipatta the same way. That was going to be one of my forthcoming posts! :-D

Why do you prefer newspaper to paper towels? I generally avoid newspapers when it comes to food as the print has chemicals that can rub off on to the food.

Rajitha, I always have piles of ginger, too! And like with chillies, I refuse to freeze ginger as is or in its grated form. As it is the ginger here has less flavor, freezing it kills it even more.

Jai, today? Today?! You really know how to rub it in, don't you?! We have piles and piles of snow (ok, 2 inches and melting fast) which will be followed by a hard freeze that will end the gardening season for this year. Enjoy your green chillies! I am sure they have an unbeatable zing to them!

Ranchikud, welcome to IFR! I am looking forward to some delicious Goan recipes from you! :-D

Puspha said...

Thanx so much for a million dollar tip. U rock, Manisha.

musical said...

Atlast i found someone who washes and reuses Ziplocs!!

Hugs for that Manisha!

Nabeela said...

So that's where I learnt the long lasting herbs tip!! Thanks a lot...it's helped me a million times already(all right not millions...but uncountable!)

Swapna said...

Thank you so much for both the tips. My heart breaks everytime I throw chillies.

Padma said...

I loved the story of ek rupaiyaa ka masala. Even I used to buy that for 1 re. and ejoy the reward when the bhaiyya gave more of kothombir when in abundant. Nice tips for ever lasting chillies

Madhuram said...

I also do the exact same thing. Couple of months back Alton Brown in his Good Eats, mentioned a wonderful idea of storing carrots in a bubble wrap bag. I have been doing that and it's really a wonderful tip. The carrots stay fresh longer, even upto 3 weeks.

Swati said...

or just freeze it..whenever required take it out wash and use it..it stays fresh for months !!!!!!

Manisha said...

Swati, freezing is definitely an option but I've found that the texture changes and the chillies also lose some of their punch. It's one of the reasons - besides laziness - that I do not make a garlic/ginger-green chilli paste.

amby said...

Good idea about the chillies. I always need to buy and find that they go bad even when I remove the stems. Urgh... paper napkins are coming out next time I buy them!