Things to do with homegrown chilies

I’m a massive chilli fan and so not surprisingly we ended up with a whole range of bushes in the garden. We have long cayenne chillies, Serranos, stumpy Jalapenos, spicy Habaneros and the ridiculously hot Aji Limos. Now there are only so many fresh chillies two people can eat so here are a few of the ways we can enjoy homegrown chillies all year round.

 

Drying chillies

You will need

1 x needle and thread

Fresh chillies with 1 cm of stem remaining

Somewhere dry without direct light to hang them

Method

Take a long piece of thread and tie a knot in the end. Thread the chilies one by one through the green stem. Depending on the size of the chilies you may need to thread throw the base of the stem to ensure the string holds fast.

Once you have a long string of chilies hang them somewhere cool and dry until they have completely dried out and are ready to use.

 

Pickled chillies

There are two variations of pickled chillies I regularly use, either plain or flavoured. The plain recipe is what you would use to turn into hot sauce, see below, where as the flavoured is for enjoying as they are.

Ingredients

The amount of chillies will determine the volume of vinegar you will need. There needs to be enough vinegar to cover the chillies.

Chillies

Good quality white vinegar

1 tsp of sugar per cup of vinegar

2 tsp of salt per cup of vinegar

2 bay leaves (optional)

1 tsp coriander seeds (optional)

1 tsp peppercorns (optional)

 Method

  1. Heat the vinegar, salt and sugar on the stove until dissolved. Do not bring the vinegar to the boil.
  2. Prick the chillies with a pin twice and pack into sterilized jars. For flavoured variation add in the bay leaves, coriander seeds and peppercorns into the jars.
  3. Pour the vinegar over the chillies to cover and seal with the lid.

 

Hot sauce

It had never occurred to me that I could make my own hot sauce until our over abundance of chillies made me look at way to preserve them. This method is quick and easy and ridiculously delicious. I find using old whiskey or liqueur bottles as containers add a nice bit of theatre to the whole process while looking great.

Ingredients 

1 jar of pickled chilles

Additional vinegar, salt and sugar if required.

Method

  1. Take one of the jar of plain pickled chillies you prepared a week or so ago and remove the chillies. Do not thrown away the vinegar.
  2. Put the chillies into a food processor and blend together.
  3. Add some of the vinegar and continue to blend. Continue to add the vinegar until the sauce is the consistency you prefer.
  4. Task the mixture, add additional salt, sugar or vinegar to taste.
  5. Use a funnel and pour the mixture into a sterilised jar. Seal the container and refrigerate.
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