Chile Roast Time!

Every year, thousands of people come to participate in the Harmons Chile Roast, to get their hands on our delicious fire-roasted chiles! At Harmons, we received inspiration and guidance for our unique roasting technique from the world-famous Chile Pepper Institute  at New Mexico State University. This roasting process enhances the chile’s flavor profile by intensifying each pepper’s overall taste, texture, and spice.

Large chile roasters will be stationed outside of each Harmons location starting at the end of August. Like a large, grated 50-gallon drum, these roasters rotate to evenly roast each chile pepper to perfection. Harmons is selling these delicious fire-roasted chiles by the bushel. So don’t miss out! Be sure to attend this year’s Chile Roast Event, which will be held: 

  • Every Friday and Saturday between August 16 and September 5 
  • Labor Day: Monday, September 5, 2022 

How to store, package, and freeze your chiles ​

Once you have your beloved chiles, follow these steps to properly store, package, and freeze them. Freshly roasted chiles can be stored for up to 6 days in the fridge. They can also be stored in the freezer for many months to extend shelf life!  

The best practice for freezing your chiles is to start with clean processing surfaces, equipment, and packaging containers. Next, use a freezer safe storage bag for packaging the chiles. Be sure to remove the air content and seal tightly. Immediately after packing the chiles, freeze, and store at or below 0°F. Chiles must be fully frozen within 4 hours for proper food safety. One way to accomplish this is to packagthe chiles in multiple individual servings and leave space between each package to allow for cool air to circulate more freely. To ensure this quick freeze, package chiles in multiple individual servings. 

Packing and freezing in individual serving sizes is incredibly useful in the future when you are ready to use the chiles. You can thaw the peppers in a reasonable quantity for each dish. Also, removal of the outer skin of the chile becomes easier after freezing. So, feel free to freeze your chiles whole if you would like to try this technique for peeling skins off during the thawing period.

For more information on freezing and storing roasted chiles, please visit Harmons Chile Roasting 101 blog post. 

Nutritional Content of Chile Peppers ​

Just one serving of chiles (about 1/2 cup chopped) contains multiple vitamins and minerals including important nutrients such as magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and vitamins A, C, and K. The chiles also contain several disease-fighting phytochemicals such as beta carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Phytonutrients are important for vision and eye health, immune system support, and they work to scavenge free radicals that contribute to aging and the progression of certain chronic diseases. 

Roasted Chile Recipes

Add these flavorful roasted chiles to your own recipes by experimenting with different dishes like; breakfast scrambles, enchiladas, Spanish rice, bean soup, guacamole, or even cilantro lime and chile vinaigrette. The possibilities are endless! 

Harmons also offers some delicious, in-store chile options. Our produce department will be making  fire roasted chile hummus and fire roasted chile pineapple salsa- both Dietitians Choice! Our specialty cheese department is bringing in Beehive red butte hatch chile cheese, and our bakery department is featuring a hatch chile cheese bread all month long. Our kitchens are making delicious chile verde, or try our new corn and veggie tamale for a flavorful plant-based option.

Harmons has developed several savory recipes that incorporate roasted chiles. Check out some of the following–they won’t disappoint!  

Sweet Potato and Bean Stuffed Poblano Chiles​

Chilaquiles Verdes

Chile Rellenos​

Pork Chile Verde​

What’s In Season for October?

Here at Harmons, we’re officially “falling” for the delicious produce October brings us. The star of the show is squash. With so many to choose from, you’re sure to find at least one variety of squash that will satisfy your taste buds.  

When shopping for winter squash, look for squash that feels heavy for its size and has a hard, deep-colored skin that’s free of blemishes. Here are some tips on how to prepare some of these delicious squash varieties, as well as some tried and true recipes to get you started! 

Spaghetti Squash

Once cooked, pull the inner flesh of the squash with a fork until you get long strands of squash, similar in looks to spaghetti. Spaghetti squash is a great lower carb alternative to pasta. Here are some simple recipes for my pasta lovers out there: 


Halloween isn’t complete without pumpkins. Aside from being the perfect gourd to carve, pumpkins also make a delicious addition to a variety of dishes. Save your pumpkin seeds and roast for a protein packed snack, or blend them up into a delicious, creamy sauce. Check out the sauces below for some inspiration! 

Butternut squash 

These squash behemoths are a little easier to handle once cut in half lengthwise. Peel the skin and scoop out the seeds to make these squashes recipe ready. Butternut squash can be cooked quickly by microwaving, or roasted to bring out its natural sugars. Check out our Harmons Roasted Butternut Squash Soup in the kitchen department, or try Dietitian Melanie’s Butternut Queso Fundido for a healthy take on queso dip. 

Acorn Squash

With a mild yet sweet flavor, acorn squash is a versatile squash. Roast acorn squash to bring out its natural sweetnessor steam it to keep the flavor milder. Acorn squash’s skin becomes soft enough to eat when roasted, and is delicious both on its own or added to dishes like soups. 

Be sure to look for a few more squashes coming into season, including buttercup, honeynut, delicata, kuri, sugar pumpkin, turban, Hubbard and kabocha. 

Squashes aren’t the only produce in season in October. Below are a few in-season fruit options to choose from as well. 

Honeycrisp apples ​

There’s a reason Honeycrisp apples are some of the most popular apples in the U.S. With a deliciously sweet flavor and a touch of tartnessthey’re perfect for both snacking and using in recipes. Honeycrisp apples also have a long shelf-life, lasting up to 6 weeks when refrigerated in a plastic bag. 

Holiday Seedless Grapes

These extra-large grapes are the perfect juicy-sweet fruit to snack on this month. Snack on them right out of the bag, or freeze and eat with a toothpick for a frozen treat. Use Holiday grapes in this Garlic Rosemary Chicken With Red Grapes recipe for a festive entrée. 


A simple trick to tell if your cranberries are fresh or not is to do the bounce test. On a flat surface, bounce your cranberries. Fresh cranberries will bounce while old or damaged berries will not. Use fresh cranberries in baked goods, add to salads, or cook down into a delicious sauce. Check out Chef Casey’s Cran-Raspberry Sauce for an easy, fruit forward cranberry sauce. Add to plain yogurt or oatmeal for a healthy breakfast, or use in a grilled cheese sandwich to add a touch of sweetness.

Other fruits in season this fall include pomegranates, kiwi and many more varieties of apples, including the beautiful Lucy Glow and Lucy Rose. 

Want monthly updates of what’s in season? Follow @harmonsgrocery on Instagram where we post what’s in season each month. 

A Q&A with Honest John Bitters

You’ve probably heard of bitters before, but many people are not familiar with their purpose. We decided to do a Q&A with Sara Lund of Honest John Bitters, one of Harmons vendor partners, to get more information about this mysterious sounding substance, and its uses. Welcome, Sara!

Q. For those who aren’t in the know, can you give us a description of what bitters are, and how they are used?

Bitters were originally developed by apothecaries, herbalists, and healers for the curative or preventative properties presumed to be present in the ingredients. Bitters became a staple of early pharmacists’ and physicians’ medical cabinets. By adding herbs, citrus peels, roots, and other natural ingredients to alcohol distillates, they steeped the various ingredients for days or months, resulting in potent plant extracts that eventually became known collectively as bitters. Bitter notes, while evolutionarily conditioned to be a warning signal to the human palate to recognize non-edible plants, were also prized for their flavor-balancing properties. Bitter elements stimulate the salivary glands and encourage healthful digestion. In centuries past, various liquors were also prescribed for medicinal purposes, so chemists and physicians would also recommend adding a few drops of Bitters to counteract various maladies. And thus, the earliest cocktails were made.

Q. How did you become interested in bitters? What made you decide to start your own company?

I started Honest John Bitters Co. in 2016, highlighting original recipes developed in collaboration with bartenders and chefs at my downtown cocktail bar and restaurant Bodega and The Rest. Driven by desire to make flavorful high-quality products with organic ingredients, we had started producing our own bitters to support our bar programs. After our launch event, when we received local and national interest, the company quickly expanded to also include local bitters’ education classes, wholesale distribution to craft cocktail bars, and selected stockists like Harmons.

Q. What is the origin of your name, Honest John Bitters?

The branding and early concept development of Honest John Bitters was designed to evoke times past, when bitters were mysterious curatives peddled by alchemists, physicians, and even infamous traveling “snake oil” salesmen who may have been crossing their fingers behind their backs 

when they touted the “cure-all powers” of Bitters to gullible “Honest Johns.” Actual bitters manufacturers advertising from the 19th century inspired the label, and I hired a dear friend and writer/cocktail historian, Darby Doyle, to compose all of the brands’ storytelling and copywriting to help combine the history of bitters and the many uses of the product in modern day.

Q. What is a way you can use bitters than people wouldn’t think of?

Think of bitters as a liquid spice A well-balanced, flavor-packed addition to cocktails and hot or cold beverages like coffee and tea. A dash or two of bitters added to mineral water or club soda turns basic hydration into a treat. Bitters are also a delicious addition to cooking, especially baked goods, frostings, and custards. We always include non-alcoholic beverage recipes on our website, as well as cooking and baking recipes.

Q. What makes the bitters you make stand out from those made by other companies?

Honest John Bitters are always made with a pure spirits-based, glycerin-free recipe. We source all of our organic plant materials from the Mountain West region. We use no artificial colorings and allow each batch to resemble the colors of the natural ingredients in each recipe. In addition to using pure neutral grain spirit, we also offer four flavors in which we use bourbon and rye for the extraction process and foundation. Our black walnut, coffee + cherry, and chocolate are all made with a bourbon base. Our aromatic is made with a rye base. We take great pride in the fact that we bottle all of our bitters in clear bottles to show the clarity of the product, and to allow the customer to see the beautiful, natural earthy tones that are created by the herbs, peels, and spices.

Q. What is the one thing you are most proud of saying you achieved with your company?

Aside from the fact that during the mandatory COVID-19 closures of 2020, when the bar and restaurant were shuttered for seven months, Honest John Bitters not only kept me busy and my mind occupied, but its success literally saved Bodega and The Rest, and every staff member’s job. I’m so proud to see our products on the shelves of Harmons stores, and to have had the opportunity to develop the relationships with not only each individual store buyer, but also the Cooking Schools and the leadership of the Harmons organization. I think 2021 is already off to a great start, and we are excited to improve existing products, as well as continue to expand our product assortment.

Do you want to know more about Honest John Bitters? Click here to listen to an episode of the Taste of Harmons Podcast they recorded with our hosts Chef Lesli Sommerdorf and Brandon Young. 

You can order your Honest John Bitters through eShop or in our stores. 

Sara Lund, owner of Honest John Bitters

Sara Lund, pictured here with her “other half,” Scott, started Honest John Bitters Co. in 2016, highlighting original recipes developed in collaboration with bartenders and chefs at her downtown cocktail bar and restaurant Bodega and The Rest. Driven by desire to make flavorful high-quality products with organic ingredients they started producing their own bitters to support their bar programs. After receiving both local and national interest at their launch event, they expanded to providing local bitters education classes, wholesale distribution, and store placement with selected stockists.