Growing up, we ate chile every once in a while at home, but it was a special treat to go to Tomasita's Restaurant and enjoy what I've always believed to be the best green chile in town (now I also believe they have the best Swirls in the world...a frozen margarita "swirled" with Sangria...but that's another story, too).
As a Little One I always ordered my chile on the side, and I remember the pride I felt the first time I was able to order and eat my burrito smothered in chile. Good times :-)
As an adult, I have begun the tradition of purchasing my chile in bulk and getting it roasted onsite before bringing it home to let it steam up and cool down before bagging it up and freezing it.
The amount of chile purchased was always determined by the size of my freezer, so in the beginning my purchases weren't incredibly large. Regardless of how little I purchased, I always felt it was worth it since the little store bought pints of chile in plastic tubs don't ever really stack up in comparison.
When Tool Lady and I purchased our home 5 years ago, we decided it would be necessary to purchase a chest freezer in order to store our new batch of chile each year. There are other things in the freezer, too, but we did actually purchase it with chile in mind.
Yeah...it's a that important.
We have learned that 2-3 sacks of chile is enough to get us through a year of burrito/enchilada/quesadilla/omelette-smothered-in-chile eating so that's what we purchase and process each year. The cost is right around $100 and pales in comparison to what it would cost if we purchased the above mentioned tubs throughout the year.
We have also learned that it is much better to purchase from the farmer than the store. Cut out the middle man and get to know some real people :-) Our favorite people to purchase chile from are the nice folks at Berridge Farms. They always set up shop in the big parking lot behind Tecolote and are a joy to deal with. The young woman who takes the orders and handles the money has a mind like a steal trap...I swear, her brain remembers everything despite so many different orders, faces and side requests.
Following the green chile canning guidelines provided by New Mexico State University we prepped and pressure canned 54 pints of chile which are now sitting happily on the shelf waiting to be consumed. It took Tool Lady and I 10 full hours of processing and waiting for the jars to come out of the canner. Holy cow, were we tired!
Sore backs aside, it was so worth the time it took. Very good times, indeed.