How to preserve chillis

We’ve had an incredible season with our chilli bush this year, so we thought we’d share some of our ways of preserving them.

We got well over 100 chillis of this one little plant, so can’t possibly use of its fruits as they ripen. Over the years, we have come up with a few ways to preserve them so that we have an ample supply of chilli all year round.

FREEZING
The simplest method is to simply freeze them. Chillis are resilient, so will keep for months in the freezer.

Method:

  1. Wash the chillis and allow to dry. We leave the stalks on, but you can remove them if you wish.
  2. Pop into a freezer bag and place in the freezer.
  3. We use them frozen: simply take out of the freezer, chop and add to food.

DRYING
Drying is another wonderful way to ensure we have chilli whenever we need it. This is a great way to save the chillis that have already started to dry on the plant – this happens quite often, so we love the fact that we can use every last one! It takes a little effort, but well worth it in the long run.

Method:

  1. Wash and dry the chillis – keep the stalks on, as you’ll need them to string them up.
  2. Line-up the chillis you want to dry. Then using a thin string or twine, tie the stalks onto the string.
  3. Once you have all the chillis tied on, string up in a well-ventilated area (we hang ours up above the kitchen window).
  4. The time it takes will depend on where you live, but you should have perfectly dried chillis within a week or two.
  5. Once dried, you can store them in old  jars, either whole or chopped, so that you can add to food whenever you want to.

IN OIL
But our favourite preserving method is to keep them in oil.

You’ll need:

  • Your chilli harvest (or store bought if you don’t have a plant of your own)
  • A clip close jar with rubber seal or any other preserving jar
  • A few bay leaves (depending on the size of the jar)
  • Coarse salt
  • Peppercorns
  • Garlic (to taste)
  • Good quality olive oil

Method:

  1. Sterlize the jar in boiling water, and allow to dry.
  2. Finely chop the garlic and crush the peppercorns in a pestle and mortar (or with a heavy bottomed pan).
  3. If you want a very hot preserve, then just finely chop the chillis. If you want a milder result, slice the chillis length-ways and remove the seeds. Then finely slice the flesh.
  4. Add the chillis, garlic, crushed peppercorns, salt, and bay leaves to the jar.
  5. Next add the olive oil. You need to completely cover the chilli mixture with oil, as it is acting as a preservative.
  6. Seal the jar, and leave for a few weeks for the flavours to infuse.
  7. Add to stews, soups or simply enjoy as a condiment.
  8. Just make sure that you top up the oil level in the jar after each use.

On June 15th, 2017, posted in: How to, News by , , , ,

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