I’m not a huge jam-making fan, I don’t seem to have the patience but last year I made sweet chilli sauce for the first time and it went down a treat.
So, read on if you are a chilli fan or you know someone who is – it’s now an autumn/winter tradition in our house, along with cider and apple chutney and the hedgerow tipples I told you about last time (the rose hip gin is definitely a winner!)
Gather up your jars and lids – you can sterilise in boiling water and then dry off in the oven but I have to confess, if it’s just for us I tend to use them straight out of a hot wash in the dishwasher (leave the door closed until you are ready to use them). Don’t use jars that are too large, you won’t get huge quantities but the results are blow your socks off! You can easily scale up the recipe if you have a mountain of home grown chillies. Unfortunately the ones I planted earlier in the year didn’t produce many – the wonderful bowlful in the photo came from Whippletree Farm in Bridford.
(Makes about 6 small jars)
500g mixed chillies (not too many green ones, they can sometimes be a bit bitter), stems trimmed
3 large cloves of garlic, peeled
650g sugar (I use whatever I have – using some or all brown or golden sugar will make it taste more like caramel)
750ml white vinegar (or white wine vinegar or rice vinegar)
Right, before you start find some gloves for prepping the chillies – it really isn’t fun getting chilli in your eyes or anywhere else for that matter.
* Cut about a quarter of the chillies in half and put in the food processor.
* Halve and deseed the remaining chillies, roughly chop and add to the food processor. Add garlic and a third of the vinegar. Whizz until finely chopped.
* Put the chilli mixture, remaining vinegar and sugar in a large saucepan over a low heat. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until the sugar dissolves.
* Turn up the heat to high and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 40 minutes or until the sauce thickens (you will need longer if you want a more jam-like consistency to go with cheese).
* Pour into sterilised jars and seal.
The finished sauce can be used immediately as is (I love it in sausage sarnies), added to stir fries, diluted with more vinegar to make an oriental dipping sauce and is also great with cheese.
It will last unopened for 6-12 months if you store in a cool dark place. If you don’t finish the jar (*gasp*) I would say you can store in the fridge for a good 6-8 weeks.
Print stickers from your PC or handmake labels or tags if you like – I love luggage tags and I’m a sucker for raffia, ribbons and string so I love making the jars look pretty for gift giving. They say people eat with their eyes first so presentation is everything whether on the plate or in packaging.
Happy making fellow foodies and happy giving too, Mr B loves the piccalilli that comes from my sister at this time of year and we have just been given some delicious looking tomato and chilli jam to try. I also have my eye on a jar of my neighbour’s crab apple and chilli jelly – do you think they would notice if I raided their larder ninja-stylie?!
* Don’t skip the gloves – been there, it hurts!
* Experiment – consider adding fresh ginger or galangal with the garlic (peeled and roughly chopped).
* You can get lovely jars in cookery shops such as Lakeland, or online from suppliers on eBay or Amazon.
* Collect your own jars to save money and buy new lids if you need them.
Recipe by guest foodie, Kate Berry, who owns The Thatched Kitchen in Doddiscombsleigh.