Thursday, 3 December 2009

Firefoodie's Christmas Chilli

I've been waiting all year for this. Since discovering that whole fresh chillies last forever in the freezer, I've been collecting them in preparation. This batch was made from about 3kg of chillies from various markets and enthusiastic friends with a few pots in the garden.

Collecting the jars is a year long task. I'm constantly making sure that the jars and lids I sneak into the dishwasher don't end out in the recycling care of our enthusiastic kids. I'm sure I'm short this year and have already started thinking about buying jars in bulk heaven forbid.

Label adhesives. One of my bug bears. There needs to be some international legislation governing what type of glue manufacturers use to stick labels on to jars. I soak my jars in water, and this is ok for about 2/3 of them, but the remaining ones need either oil, white spirit or methanol to remove the adhesive from the glass. I've almost become an expert on the chemical make up of various adhesives, and even worse, have started to select brands in the supermarket based on how easy the labels are to remove! Retailers out there... take heed. Glass is great and needs to be re-used, but don't make it so difficult that no one bothers. Enough ranting.

This method is a good way to preserve chilli for the pantry which literally lasts for years. Once opened keep it in the fridge and it will still last a month or so if it's not all eaten by then. We put ours on toast with cheese, in sandwiches, and generally just on the table to add to anything for a bit of a kick. The unique garlicky taste is quite addictive. It is freshly 'peppery' in the capsicum sense of the word and the bit of olive oil used to finish it helps spread the heat and aroma when used.

It's labour intensive, but totally worth it. It took me about an hour and a half to trim the stalks off each individual chilli before putting them in 15 x 200g batches in our food processor to roughly chop them up. 4 bulbs of garlic were then separated, squashed, peeled and finely chopped (in the same food processor) before adding to the chilli in a large pot.

I added a cup of olive oil, 1/4 cup of malt vinegar, 1/4 cup of cider vinegar and a tablespoon of salt. The mix was put on a low heat with a lid and stirred occasionally until the liquid released from the chilli and the mix then steamed in it's own moisture. For this amount it took about about an hour or so before it was ready to distribute into jars.

Then I tasted it. Beware if you have some (you will know who you are because this one is batch no. 1, and it's written on the label). I put a half a teaspoon on a water biscuit to test it and just barely survived. It's hot, so use sparingly and with love. The longer it lasts you the happier you will be. This batch made a mere 11 jars, about 250g net each, which is a lot of happiness. Upping the quantum is my next challenge, I mean 3 hours, 11 jars, 3kg chilli, that's about 20 minutes and 300g of chilli per jar. Commerce this is not.

Once in jars I placed them with the lids loosely on in a large baking dish of simmering water for another hour before sealing them for the long term. Once the lids are sealed, the contents then cool and create a vacuum in the jar with the minimum amount of oxygen and living organisms. Garlic is of course one of natures best preservatives, so you cant go wrong. I've had jars in the pantry for 2 years and they taste as good when opened if not better than when first made. Keep it moist with a bit of olive oil as you use it just to keep the nasties at bay. Enjoy.

Merry Christmas from Firefoodie.

6 comments:

Kelby B said...

Sounds tasty. Thanks I am growing chillies in my garden in Durban South Africa. So will keep them in the feezer until I have enough.

Check out my blog and follow if you like http://kelbychillies.blogspot.com

firefoodie said...

Hi Kelby B. Glad you liked it. Will let you know when I have uploaded the pics from my wife's iphone. Tried viewing your blog but the url didn't work? Rgds, anthony.

Kelby B said...

Ops sorry

The site is http://kelbyschillies.blogspot.com

firefoodie said...

Nice chilli plants Kelby! I've posted photos now so check them out. anthony.

erik said...

I have a lot of chilies in my backyard! I garden them and maintain it for like three months now. Your recipe looks great for my chilies. thanks.

firefoodie said...

Hi erik, I'm glad. I did batch #2 recently, with 5kg of Ghanaian chillies from the market. Ended out with nearly 40 3 oz jars. Will post photos soon. Anthony.

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