Kitchen Q&A

You don’t have to waste a can of chipotles

Storing: Puree and freeze leftover chipotle chilies.
Storing: Puree and freeze leftover chipotle chilies.

The Charlotte Observer

Q. A lot of recipes call for a teaspoon or tablespoon of chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, but then you’re stuck with the rest of the can. Can you refrigerate it? Or is there a substitute?

Chipotles are smoked jalapeno peppers; packing them in spicy adobo sauce makes them soft and easy to add to dishes. But a little does go a long way. Most recipes call for a single pepper or a tablespoon of sauce.

The best way to save the rest of the can is to puree it and freeze it. It doesn’t freeze hard, so you can easily break off a chunk when you need more. You can refrigerate the remainder of the can in a plastic container for a few weeks, but watch for mold.

To use up the rest, whisk some into sour cream to put on Mexican dishes, add it to macaroni and cheese, or whisk some into a vinaigrette for bold winter greens.

Chipotle is so popular that there are now other versions of the flavor now. McCormick makes a dried chipotle powder, and Tabasco has a hot sauce with chipotle. Goya makes a chipotle puree in a squeeze bottle like ketchup. Look for it in Latin American supermarkets.

Q. What kind of food can be kept for a long time and where should it be stored?

That’s a big question. Lots of foods will keep well. Pastas keep a long time as long as they are sealed well so they don’t get bugs. I always store the packages in a resealable freezer bag.

Ground grains, such as flour, meal and rice, will keep a long time. Seal them in plastic bags or store them in the freezer to keep them bug-free. Whole-grain flours such as whole wheat and rye should be frozen so they don’t get a rancid taste.

Most oils will keep for months in a dark place, although refrigeration will guard against rancidity.

Dried beans can keep a very long time. However, you can’t keep them indefinitely – they eventually get so dry that they won’t soften completely when you cook them.

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