Hatch chile cooking classes kick off Central Market’s annual pepper party

If it’s early August, Austinites are getting excited about Hatch chiles.

Hatch chiles are a seasonal pepper that arrive in Austin every August. Several grocery stores go all out with Hatch classes and new products, including Central Market, which is credited with bringing the phenomenon to Texas in the mid-1990s. File photo

The New Mexican chile peppers have been a hit in Central Texas ever since Central Market started bringing them here in the mid-1990s. Whole Foods followed, and now both stores — as well as other grocery retailers, including Wheatsville and Central Market’s parent company, H-E-B — sell literal tons of Hatch peppers and Hatch-flavored foods during this time of year.

Whole Foods closed its culinary center downtown a few years ago, but Central Market’s cooking classes at the North location are still going strong.

RECIPE: A cheeseburger worthy of this year’s Hatch chilies

Why are grocery stores so hot for Hatch chile peppers?

 

Local grocery stores including Central Market and Whole Foods roast Hatch peppers from New Mexico every August. Photo from Central Market.

They’ve released this month’s Hatch cooking classes, which start on Wednesday with a steakhouse-themed class at 6:30 p.m. On Thursday at 6:30 p.m., you can sign up to learn how to make Hatch tamales, and on Saturday night, the cooking staff will teach a Hatch seafood session starting at 6:30 p.m.

The classes continue for the next few weeks, and you can find the full list of classes and Hatch activities at centralmarket.com.

RELATED: Here’s how to make your own Philly cheesesteak (with or without Hatch peppers)

Could you tell the difference between a Hatch and regular Anaheim chile?