Roasting Chile and Bell Peppers on the Grill

Fresh New Mexico Green Chile

 

It’s green chile time in New Mexico! Producers and consumers alike are firing up their grills and burning the skin off of these beautiful chiles in order to produce some of the tastiest and most delicious chile on earth! Yes, I know that’s a big boast, but, as I’ve said many times before, we New Mexicans are proud of our chile. :)  It was a couple of years ago when I first introduced green chile and chile roasting by chile growers and sellers.  Today, I’m going to show you how I roast chile on my home grill. I use this same method to roast bell peppers and poblanos as well. Once roasted, the chiles are peeled and de-stemmed, some if not all of the seeds and piths are removed, and then the flesh is used immediately in a variety of dishes or frozen to be used later in the winter for enchiladas, green chile stews, grits, or whatever your heart desires.  So let’s get to roasting.

You’ll need a few supplies:

  • A gas or charcoal grill.  (I use a gas grill.) You could also use your broiler when you just have a few chiles.
  • A sharp paring knife
  • Long, heat resistant tongs for handling the chiles on the grill.
  • A large bowl to put the chiles in after roasting.
  • A very damp towel to cover the chiles with after roasting so they’ll steam.  You could also use a large pot with a cover.
  • Food safe vinyl or latex gloves (Gloves are needed for the chiles, but not for sweet peppers.)
  • Cutting board
  • Trash or compost bucket
  • Clean bowl for the prepared chiles.

Step 1: Preparing the chile (and peppers) for roasting

  • Prepare the grill for a high heat. (I turn all three burners on high.)
  • Wash the chiles.
  • Using the tip of a sharp knife, stab a hole in each chile. If you want to use the chile for rellenos (stuffed peppers), then place the hole near the stem.  If you’re just going to chop the chiles, then it doesn’t matter where you poke it. Same thing goes for bell peppers, except that I poke bell peppers twice. The hole is needed to allow air to escape during the roasting process, keeping the peppers from bursting.  This is actually more important for bell peppers than it is for chile; however, if you want whole, intact chiles, this helps to ensure it.
  • Arrange the chile and peppers in rows on the grill as shown below and close the lid.

Roasting Green chile on the grillRoasting Bell Peppers and green chile on the grill

 

Step 2: Roasting the chiles and peppers

  • About every 2 to 3 minutes (3 to 4 minutes for bell peppers) check the chiles and turn the ones whose skin has blacken on the grill side.  You want the skins to turn black and start to pull away from the chiles.  So when one side turns black, flip the chile over.
  • Keep checking and tuning until all sides of the chiles are charred. For bell peppers, I sometimes have to stand them on end in order to get the bottoms to roast.
  • Be careful to not over roast the peppers, especially chiles. The longer they sit on the grill, the more moisture they lose. If the blackened skin breaks, the fire will start to roast the flesh of the chile, drying it out and taking the goodness away. So you want them to cook fast, thus the high heat and frequent checking.

 

Roasting Green Chile on the Grill

 

Step 3:  Steaming the chiles and peppers

  • Have the bowl and towel ready next to the grill.  When a chile is fully roasted, remove it from the grill. toss it in the bowl and cover with the damp towel.  This steams the chiles, making them easier to peel once cool.
  • Once all of the chiles are roasted and covered in the bowl, let them cool for about an hour.

 

unpeeled roasted bell peppersSteaming method for roasting peppers

A note about capsaicin.  Capsaicin is the primary chemical that gives chile its heat and what causes the burning sensation with you eat chile.  The higher the amount of capsaicin, the hotter the chile.  Within a single chile, the capsaicin level changes depending on the part of the chile – the flesh, the seeds or the pith (the whitish veins on the inside of the chile).  According to the following test (which definitely supports my experience with chile), if you want to reduce the heat in a batch of chile, remove the piths after roasting.

Cook’s Illustrated recently published the results of a test performed by a food lab on the parts of a chile pepper and the amount of capsaicin in each part.  The three parts tested were the flesh, the seeds, and the pith.  After testing 40 jalapenos it was found that “there were just 5 milligrams of capsaicin per kilogram of green jalapeno flesh, 78 milligrams per kilogram in the seeds, and 512 milligrams per kilogram in the pith.”  (“Common Cooking Myths, Debunked – All parts of a chile are equally hot.” Cook’s Illustrated.  September / October 2013) 

Step 4:  Peeling and removing the stems and seeds from chiles and peppers

Wear gloves when peeling chile!  Your skin absorbs the capsaicin and if the chiles are HOT, you’ll eventually feel it in yours hands, and it’s not pretty. I learned my lesson several years ago when I didn’t wear gloves, and ended up having the keep my hands slathered in butter for a couple of hours to make the pain bearable.

  • Remove the charred skin from the chile by finding an area where the skin has lifted from the flesh or is torn, and peeling all of the skin away from the pepper.
  • (For whole chile) To remove the stem, cut through the flesh, just under the stem all of the way around the chile.  While holding on to the flesh, gently pull the stem, separating it from the flesh.  You’ll probably need to use the knife to separate the pith (veins on the inside) from the chile.  To rid the chile of more seeds, use your finger to clean some of the seeds from inside the pepper.
  • (For chile rellenos with stems intact) If you plan on making chile rellenos by dipping in batter and frying, it’s best to leave the stems intact.  However, you still want to remove as many seeds as possible, more for the eating experience than the heat factor.  To remove the seeds, cut a slit about 1/2 the length of the chile starting at the stem. With you paring knife, carefully cut out the seed stem inside the chile and remove it along with some of the pith. Use your finger to remove as many seeds as possible.
  • (For chiles that are going to be chopped)  Cut them open vertically, then cut the flesh away from the stem. If you want to remove as much heat as possible, scrap off the seeds and cut away the pith.

When you are done, you’ll have a batch of beautiful chile or perfectly roasted bell peppers that can be used immediately for a variety of dishes or frozen for use later on in the year.

Hatch Green chileRoasted bell peppers

Step 5:  Freezing the chile and peppers

  • You can freeze chiles whole or chopped. I usually freeze both chile and bell peppers whole.
  • To freeze, peel the chiles and remove the stems and seeds. You’ll be thankful you did this later on.
  • Place about 3 to 4 whole chiles (depending on size and how you plan to use them) or 1 whole bell pepper in a sandwich bag.
  • Press all of the air from the bag and seal.
  • Transfer several of these bags into a freezer bag. (The double bagging helps to prevent freezer burn.)
  • Label, date, and freeze.

Now that we have some roasted chile ready to go, here are some green chile recipes in which you can use them.

Here are some recipes for the roasted bell peppers.

Red Chile Paste

Roasted Pepper Cheese Spread

Braised Red Chile Chicken and Vegetables

Tortellini with Roasted Pepper and Onion

Roasted Bell Pepper Appetizer

Creamy Polenta with Roasted Vegetables by Spicie Foodie

Pesta Pizza with Roasted Peppers, Mushrooms and Asparagus by Oh My Veggies

Roasted Bell Pepper Sandwiches with Herbed Goat Cheese on Focaccia by Diethood

 

After I finished roasting this batch of chiles, I was hungry, so I threw together a few Chicken Chile Rellenos.

Chicken Chile Relleno

Chile Relleno – Spanish for “stuffed peppers”

New Mexico green chile stuffed with chicken and topped with melted cheese There was some leftover chicken breast in the refrigerator from the night before, so I stuffed a couple of peppers with some of the chicken, topped them with Monterey Jack cheese and microwaved for 30 seconds.  What a delicious lunch!  I know it’s not that pretty, but it sure was good!

 

 

Stay turned during the next few weeks for more new recipes using this year’s crop of green chile.

Hatch Green chile

To purchase fresh or frozen New Mexico green chile, check out these New Mexico chile suppliers.

 

 

 

 

 

Roasting Peppers on the Grill has been shared with the following blog hops:  Hearth & Soul, Clever Chicks    .

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79 Responses to “Roasting Chile and Bell Peppers on the Grill”

  1. Amber @ The Cook's Sister September 25, 2013 at 11:23 am #

    Great tips! I recently found some peppers here in Ontario. Yippee!!!!!!! I don’t have a grill, so I used the broiler. It’s a good substitute, but I’d prefer to use a grill for roasting.

  2. Helene D'souza August 22, 2013 at 9:14 am #

    Great timing! I think so my father in law is ready to grill this season again and I want to show him your roasting guide. He will love it MJ! Your chiles are sooo big there, I ll have to go for the capsicum here, they are common. =)

  3. Reese August 20, 2013 at 8:45 pm #

    This has got be the best time to visit New Mexico!! Something about chili peppers makes my stomach growl. Looking at these beauties, I can see why you are proud of them. I was introduced to Guatemalan green chili chicken stew not too long ago, which uses various types of green peppers. Only if I can access to such fresh chili peppers around here, I’d make a big pot of the stew right now! Love how you share your roasting method and all the fantastic recipes. Such a fun post!

    • mj August 20, 2013 at 9:39 pm #

      Thanks so much Reese! You know – you can always order chiles. New Mexico growers are shipping now so check out the list of suppliers at the bottom of the post. You can get them fresh or roasted. Need to check out that Guatemalan green chile chicken stew!

  4. Giulietta | Alterkitchen August 19, 2013 at 3:31 am #

    I roast bell peppers all the time, but I never thought of grilling chili peppers.. great idea!

  5. Bam's Kitchen August 18, 2013 at 9:13 pm #

    Hello MJ, these chili peppers are fantastic, so fresh and perfect for roasting. I can’t wait to try some of your other recipes using the roasted chilies. My teenagers love spicy dishes so they will be all about this. Take care, BAM

    • mj August 18, 2013 at 9:55 pm #

      Thanks so much for stopping by and saying hello! I hope you do try some of my green chile recipes. If you like it spicy, you and your kids will love these dishes!

  6. Raymund August 18, 2013 at 2:14 am #

    I love roasting my peppers as well, they give a deeper flavour

  7. Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl August 16, 2013 at 9:41 am #

    Oh yum! Not only is the taste amazing, but the smell is wonderful too! :)

    • mj August 18, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

      Thanks Pamela! Totally agree – you can’t beat the smell nor the taste!

  8. minnie@thelady8home August 16, 2013 at 8:29 am #

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE chilies on the grill. One of the my fav is mixing mushrooms and sweet chilies with vinegar in a bag and then grilling them on charcoal grill. Ohhhhh…yummmm!!! Awesome post. I think I am going for an all out BBQ this weekend, and this will be on the menu :D

    • mj August 18, 2013 at 1:46 pm #

      Oh Minnie – I love your idea with the mushrooms and sweet chilies! I’m going to try that tonight because I just bought some sweet peppers and have some mushrooms that need a purpose. Thanks for the wonderful idea and nice comments!

  9. Ramona August 16, 2013 at 4:08 am #

    Okay… now you make me want a grill. How easily the peppers roasted on the grill. I place them on my glass stove burner and have to totally baby them the whole time. I also can only do a couple at a time. I love your mass production of them… this is fantastic post. :)

    • mj August 18, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

      I can’t imagine how long it wouldn’t take to roast a batch of chile over the stove burner! You really need to get a grill Ramona! :) Life would be SO much easier!

  10. Nami | Just One Cookbook August 15, 2013 at 11:01 pm #

    My husband sometimes roast peppers for salsa and I need to send this link to him so he will properly roast them next time. Love learning the new skills (especially you wrote very detail instructions and notes!). How funny I just spotted Ray’s comment – I also get heart burns from eating bell peppers. xD

    • mj August 18, 2013 at 1:43 pm #

      Thanks Nami! I guess my detailed instructions come from 30 years of writing educational materials. :)

  11. Hotly Spiced August 15, 2013 at 9:16 pm #

    I’ve never tried roasting peppers. I’ve roasted capsicum but not peppers. I must give this a go as I’m very fond of spicy food xx

    • Jodee Weiland September 17, 2013 at 7:54 pm #

      A dear friend of mine taught me how to do this years ago on a gas stove. I love the idea of the grill because even though we are in the Midwest, we grill all year round, even during our snowy season. Your knowledge on peppers has really caught my interest as well…love peppers of all kinds. Love your blog…I’ll be back for more! Thanks!

      • mj September 17, 2013 at 10:03 pm #

        Thanks Jodee! I would think doing it on the stove top would be painstaking. The grill is much easier. :)

  12. wok with ray August 15, 2013 at 11:40 am #

    Aside from garlic, chili peppers are one of my food weaknesses. Although nowadays, my stomach cannot tolerate the spices, acid, and heat (hearthburn), I still go for it. I am looking at that barrel full of chillis and the roasted ones on the plate that you have there. . . I am salivating. Hey, there’s always TUMS, right? Hahaha! I hope you and Bobby are having a wonderful week, MJ! :)

    • mj August 15, 2013 at 9:06 pm #

      I’m with you Ray! Sometimes I have to pull out the Tums as well, but some things in life are just worth it. :) I do find drinking milk or adding some type of dairy helps. Hope you’re having a wonderful week as well!

  13. Peachy @ The Peach Kitchen August 15, 2013 at 9:32 am #

    I’m sure those peppers smelled divine while they were roasting! Oh I can already imagine!

    • mj August 15, 2013 at 9:05 pm #

      Thanks Peachy! They really do smell good!

  14. Evelyne@cheapethniceatz August 15, 2013 at 5:47 am #

    A really great tutorial on roasting peppers. It brings out the flavors I love it. he damp towel I did not know about. I recently made a salsa with a roasted jalapeno but left the skin on, such depth to the flavor.

    • mj August 15, 2013 at 9:04 pm #

      Thanks Evelyne! Your salsa sounds heavenly! I would have a hard time leaving the skin on NM peppers. It’s hard to eat and digest when roasted because it’s a pretty thick skin.

  15. Kate@Diethood August 14, 2013 at 11:28 pm #

    Yep, this is what we (Macedonians) also do around this time of year. Macedonians are HUGE on roasting peppers… we’re getting close to making my favorite roasted red pepper spread called Ajvar! IT’s amazing!

    • mj August 15, 2013 at 9:03 pm #

      Thanks Kate! I’ll have to look up Ajvar. Do you have a recipe for it? I’m game for anything that uses roasted peppers!

  16. Tessa August 14, 2013 at 8:36 pm #

    I have to try this! I love roasted peppers! They are so versatile and delicious!

    • mj August 14, 2013 at 9:40 pm #

      Thanks Tessa! I usually have lots of roasted peppers in the freezer by winter. :)

  17. Zsuzsa August 14, 2013 at 9:59 am #

    Peach Lady that’s a whole lot of chile peppers… Have you grown it all? And I thought we grow lots of peppers… Wow!

    • mj August 14, 2013 at 9:36 pm #

      Heavens no – I didn’t grow these! I shot this picture at one of our local markets. Since local farmers grow acres and acres of peppers, don’t take up the space in my garden. I just buy from them.

  18. cquek August 14, 2013 at 1:56 am #

    WOWZA – do this look (they are pretty enough for me!) and sound amazing!

  19. Debra August 14, 2013 at 12:48 am #

    Wish I were there. :)

    • mj August 14, 2013 at 9:33 pm #

      Wish you were too Debra! :)

  20. Nisa Homey August 13, 2013 at 10:07 pm #

    Never done this MJ….I mean on the grill….wonder why I dint think of this before!! and the chilly pictures are a yummer!!

    • mj August 14, 2013 at 9:32 pm #

      Thanks Nisa! It sure keeps the heat out of the kitchen.

  21. ChgoJohn August 13, 2013 at 8:20 pm #

    This is a great post, MJ, full of very useful information. I’ve roasted peppers on my stove top but never on the grill, oddly enough. I have to see what peppers the market has this weekend. I may take a couple hours, roast a batch, and fill my freezer, just as you suggested. They certainly won’t go to waste. Thanks! :)

    • mj August 14, 2013 at 9:31 pm #

      Thanks John! Using the grill is a great way to stock up roasted peppers for the winter! Hope you put this process to use!

  22. Terra August 13, 2013 at 7:22 pm #

    When I lived in Tucson my most favorite smell, when the grocery stores were roasting peppers as you walked in to the store! Great post for anyone curious of the technique to roast these little beauties!!! Hugs, Terra

    • mj August 13, 2013 at 8:04 pm #

      Thanks Terra! You’d love the smell of ABQ right now. :) Chiles roasting everywhere.

  23. Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies August 13, 2013 at 6:51 pm #

    I had plans to roast and freeze a bunch of pepper this week! I usually do mine in the oven, but maybe I should give it a try your way. :)

    • mj August 13, 2013 at 8:03 pm #

      Oh Kiersten – you really should use the grill. It’s easier and you don’t heat up the kitchen.

  24. Sharyn August 13, 2013 at 5:54 pm #

    I have done this once and they came out delicious! I would love to have your recipe for green chili stew. Thanks

    • mj August 13, 2013 at 8:01 pm #

      Thanks Sharyn! I’ll send you a link to my green chile stew.

  25. Roz August 13, 2013 at 5:40 pm #

    I love green chilis so much!!! Especially roasted and in cheesy relleno recipes!! I love New Mexico and seeing all of the chilis hung everywhere! I’d love to visit again someday soon! Lots of great tips and recipes shared; thank you!

    xo
    Roz

    • mj August 13, 2013 at 8:00 pm #

      Thanks Roz! I’m with you – I love chile rellenos! I hope you do get to visit NM again. If you do, let me know. I’d love to meet you in person.

  26. Charles August 13, 2013 at 4:21 pm #

    Wow, that’s a lot of yummy chillies in the first pic… I love seeing baskets full of fruit and veg like that – always seems so wholesome! Are those peppers very spicy? I think we can buy those here, but they’re completely weak… but perhaps it’s a different variety!

    • mj August 13, 2013 at 7:58 pm #

      Charles, there were 4 bushels – mild, medium,hot and very hot. I stayed away from the very hot. I bought them once and they were way to hot, so hot that you couldn’t taste the chile. All you got was “heat”. These chiles are similar to the Anaheim chile. I don’t know if you can get them where you are. There are so many different varieties of peppers around this world, I wish I could try them all! Thanks for coming by Charles!

  27. Marta@What should I eat for breakfast today August 13, 2013 at 3:41 pm #

    It looks great, it sounds great, but I still need to grow up for green chile peppers :)

    • mj August 13, 2013 at 7:52 pm #

      You’re cute Marta! Hope your taste buds grow up, but you don’t need to. :)

  28. Nads August 13, 2013 at 1:58 pm #

    What a co inky dink. I did my peppers last week. I only did about 3 pounds of Hatch chili’s. They were supposed to be all mild but a few REALLY hot ones slipped in. And since they were supposed to be mild, I didn’t use gloves. Big mistake. It took the rest of the day and all kinds of relief experiments to relieve the pain. I also did a red pepper like you showed and made some amazing pimento and cheese. The jarred pimentos from the grocery store couldn’t compare. I’ll never buy the sto bought again. In fact, with the chili’s you brought me and these, I may never need to roast peppers again. But I probably will. Like you – I can’t stop myself when it come to cooking.

    • mj August 13, 2013 at 7:51 pm #

      O.k. – I had to pause at “co inky dink” – but got it. :) Crazy girl! That’s the crazy thing about chiles, it’s hard to know the heat flavor. The longer a chile sits on the vine the hotter it can get; therefore, one plant can produce chiles from mild to hot. I bought some hots the other day and half of them were very mild and the other half – killer hot. Oh – I’m so sorry you had to go through the pain! I have definitely suffered from that pain and it’s not pretty. Love the idea of making pimento and cheese! I’ll have to do that. Thanks for the suggestion! Oh, you’ll go through those peppers in no time and be roasting again soon. :) Thanks for stopping by Sis!

  29. Jen @JuanitasCocina August 13, 2013 at 1:04 pm #

    I miss the smell of roasting chiles! We don’t get them around here! I’m reduced to ordering in frozen!

    • mj August 13, 2013 at 7:42 pm #

      Thanks Jen! I can’t wait until computer screen are scratch and sniff. :)

  30. Katerina August 13, 2013 at 1:03 pm #

    I too love to bake peppers, not chili but bell! They are delicious especially if you sprinkle them with olive oil and some vinegar! I love your baked peppers and chilies!

    • mj August 13, 2013 at 7:42 pm #

      Thanks for the serving suggestions for roasted bells! I’ve never try it and it sounds wonderful!

  31. Sissi August 13, 2013 at 12:08 pm #

    MJ, I cannot even imagine how delightful these grilled – on a real grill! – peppers and chiles can be…. Even mine, which are charred under the broiler are irresistible. I have already started to profit from the bounty of ripe and cheap chiles and peppers which are in full season (i.e. mainly pickling…). Your spectacular photos remind me of something you would fall in love with: it’s called “ajvar” and is a kind of paste composed of charred (and skinned of course) peppers and a bit of charred aubergine. I have added some grilled chiles too and loved it! I will be making it once more this year (I posted the recipe last year).
    Otherwise I love all your dish suggestions and chicken chiles rellenos look marvellous. I practically constantly have chicken breast or whole chicken in the fridge!
    PS Watching more and more your beautiful photos I’m almost convinced I can substitute medium hot green chiles you often talk about with Turkish aci sivri. They even look similar and are hot, but mild enough to be filled with ground meat and enjoyed by fiery food lovers like us :-)

    • mj August 13, 2013 at 7:40 pm #

      It just continues to amaze me how similar we are in tastes and what we like to make. :) It’s definitely processing time for peppers, cucumbers, fruits, you name it. I love this time of the year! I’ve roasted chiles 3 times in the past week and just love everything about it – the smell, the process and then, most of all, the byproduct – the chile! I’ve never heard of aci sivri, but I just looked it up. The length looks the same but aci sivri peppers look quite a bit skinnier; however, if you can stuff them, they can’t be too skinny. The peppers grown here are similar to Anaheim – relatively thick peppers and thick flesh. I’d be interested to taste the aci sivri because I am always amazed at how different peppers taste from one variety to the next. As always – thanks for your interesting comments.

      • Sissi August 14, 2013 at 2:45 am #

        I am also very glad we share a big passion for chile/chilli ;-)
        Yes, you are right aci sivri are usually longer and thinner, but it depends… sometimes I find them a bit shorter and thicker… those should be ok…
        I have never seen anaheim variety here… I think it must be a US variety. I must do what I can with European ones.

      • Sissi August 14, 2013 at 5:11 am #

        I have just looked up the Scoville scale to compare anaheim and aci sivri. Anaheim peppers have only 500-2500 Scoville heat units while aci sivri between 30000 and 50000! (I consider them as mild hot though… which means I can eat half a jar of pickled ones without any problem)
        I had no idea there was such a huge difference between subvarieties of jalapeños…. http://www.chileplanet.eu/tab/Scoville-Heat-Units-J.html but in general they are milder than my beloved aci sivri. The website is really impressive and might be useful for chile lovers :-)

        • mj August 14, 2013 at 9:30 pm #

          When I saw the aci sivri, they just screamed HOT to me. :) Thanks for providing the Scoville unit. The chile de arbol peppers that I’ve been using later fall at 30,000 and they are killer hot to me. There’s is NO way that I would consider them “mild hot”. Girl – you and my brother-in-law need to get together. He likes it hot like you. Compared to your ability to handle heat, I’m a wimp! :)

  32. The Wimpy Vegetarian August 13, 2013 at 10:49 am #

    YES!!! I’m roasting, broiling, grilling peppers almost everyday right now for all kinds of things! It’s the best way to have green chiles!!

    • mj August 13, 2013 at 7:31 pm #

      Sounds like we’re spending our days pretty similar. :)

  33. Soni August 13, 2013 at 10:31 am #

    Ooh love green chile and roasting brings out the best flavors for sure! Your pics are making me crave these beauties :)I think I’m going to roast the ones I have in my fridge right now :)

    • mj August 13, 2013 at 7:31 pm #

      Thanks Soni! Roasting does bring out the best flavors doesn’t it! So glad I inspired you to roast up those chiles you already have.

  34. john@kitchenriffs August 13, 2013 at 10:30 am #

    I’ve roasted chilies plenty of times, but never a big batch. And never on my outdoor grill. I should order some NM green chilies and try this – I’d love to have a bunch of roasted chilies in the freezer! Great tutorial – thanks.

    • mj August 13, 2013 at 7:30 pm #

      Thanks John! The grill is a great way to roast a bunch of chiles! You should order some. A lot of farmers ship. Just check my link at the end of the post. And yes, you need those chiles in the freezer for some grits and green chile on a cold winter morning. :)

  35. Swathi August 13, 2013 at 9:19 am #

    I love roasting method, I tried only for poblano peppers, I think I can use this method for everything.

    • mj August 13, 2013 at 7:27 pm #

      Absolutely! This method can be used for any type of fresh pepper.

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