For Optimal Flavor, You Should Do This When Using Dried Chiles

If you love dishes such as beef chili, chile Colorado, and beef short rib tacos, then you probably have a hearty selection of dried chiles stashed away in your pantry right now. But if you don't, Bon Appétit suggests you acquire some ASAP, noting that dried chiles — which come in a staggering variety of sizes, colors, flavors, and heat levels — are a wonderful way to stir up dishes from all over the world. According to Epicurious, some of the best-known varieties of dried chiles include ancho, chipotle, guajillo, and pasilla, essential to many cuisines but especially those of Mexico and the Southwestern United States.

Properly stored — chef Rick Bayless, known for his mastery of Mexican cuisines, recommends storing them in an airtight container in the freezer — dried chiles can last for up to a year. However, Epicurious recommends using them within six months to obtain their most potent flavor. And speaking of flavor, there's one step you're going to want to make sure to take with dried chiles before cooking with them in order to coax the best taste out of them.

Always remove dried chiles' seeds before cooking

If you've ever cooked with dried chiles, then you know that the peppers are usually toasted, soaked in hot water, and then puréed before being incorporated into chili, enchilada sauce, or any number of recipes (via Serious Eats). But have you been removing the seeds before cooking with the chiles, too?

According to Serious Eats, this is a very necessary step to getting the best flavor and texture out of dried chiles. The outlet explains that while it's often said that the seeds are the hottest part of a chile, that's actually not the case; according to BBC, it's actually the white, spongy ribs that are the hottest. So if you're a heat-head, you won't be losing out by getting rid of those pesky seeds, which Serious Eats notes can be extremely bitter and will also take away from the silky texture of the chiles once they're soaked and puréed.

To de-seed a dried chile, simply use a pair of kitchen shears to cut off the steam end — where it was attached to the plant — and then cut down the length of the pepper in order to open it up. Finally, you can just scrape the dry seeds out into a bowl and toss them into your compost.